Willie Snead Fantasy 2018
The Baltimore Ravens signed wide receiver Willie Snead, formerly of the New Orlean Saints, to a two-year, $7 million contract on Monday. The deal includes a $2 million signing bonus and has an additional $3.4 million in incentives. Snead was a restricted free agent and the Saints decided not to match his offer sheet. The Saints are no stranger to this process, as they literally just acquired WR Cameron Meredith from the Bears on April 11th the exact same way.
It’s been an offseason of musical chairs for the wide receiver position in the NFL, yet Willie Snead finding a new home was probably best for both parties. Snead was heavily regarded as a must add fantasy sleeper last summer, but the NFL suspended him for three games for violating the league’s substance policy, from a DUI charge and his season couldn’t get back on track.
Willie Snead Career Stats
The Ravens have been aggressive in trying to beef up their receiving corps after Mike Wallace signed with the Philadelphia Eagles last month. Wallace was productive in 2016, but could only manage 52 receptions last season. Snead joins the Ravens along with John Brown (formerly of the Cardinals), and Michael Crabtree (who was dumped by the Oakland Raiders for Jordy Nelson). All three wide receivers will try to unite after being outcasts from their former teams.
Coaches, Injuries and Better Stats Than You Remember
John Harbaugh struggled with the decision of what to do with the offensive coordinator job in 2017. If you remember, Marty Mornhinweg took over for Marc Trestman Week 6 back in 2016. Harbaugh’s decision wasn’t heavily based on consistency, but it was a factor. Up until then, Joe Flacco and the offense saw five different coordinators through five years, Cam Cameron (2008-2012), Jim Caldwell (2012-2013), Gary Kubiak (2014), Marc Trestman (2015-2016) and Mornhinweg (2016 to present).
Despite being in a similar situation this past January, Harbaugh again decided not to make a change at the coordinator position. He will stick with his offensive coaching staff for another year as he said he saw progress through all of the team’s adversity last season.
The Ravens had the 29th-ranked passing attack (189.4 yards per game) and 11th-ranked rushing game (116.0) in 2017. Mornhinweg’s unit also finished 27th in the league in yards per game (305.4) yet somehow were ninth-best in league scoring (24.7 points).
“We faced a great deal of adversity on offense. I’m not going to stand up here and make excuses, but there were a lot of tough situations that we faced on offense. You deal with those things as they come. You try to find a way to win the next game.” – Harbaugh Said
Ravens Recap 2017
- June 2 – Dennis Pitta suffers his third major hip injury ending his career
- July 26 – Promising running back Kenneth Dixon tears his ACL before training camp begins and is out for the season
- Mid-July – Joe Flacco tweaks his back while lifting weights and misses all of training camp and the preseason. He was not 100 percent when he returned for Week 1, which affected game plan.
- Aug. 1 – Wide receiver Breshad Perriman who was having an excellent summer, injures his hamstring during training camp, knocking him out until Week 1
- Aug. 11 – Starting left guard Alex Lewis aggravated a shoulder injury and opts for season-ending surgery
- Sept. 17 – All-Pro right guard Marshal Yanda fractures his ankle in the Week 2 win against the Cleveland Browns, ending his season
I think the Ravens ranking 9th in offensive scoring is a really telling statistic of what the team was capable of despite what they went through and had in terms of surrounding talent. A healthy quarterback and offensive line along with some new fresh skill position players – all with chips on their shoulders – could speak volume in 2018.
Snead 2018 Fantasy Outlook
Snead could never seem to get back into the good books with Saints coaching staff after his suspension and only managed 8 receptions on 16 targets in 2017. Prior to that, Snead was a target machine, with two back to back seasons of 70+ receptions on 100+ targets. It’s obvious the Ravens goal this offseason has been to add more offensive talent, however, of the three WR misfits, Snead looks to have the best Fantasy value moving forward. In Willie Snead, the Ravens stand to gain a young possession-type slot receiver, something that Joe Flacco has been lacking. Last season the team tried to fill that void with Jeremy Maclin, but the production wasn’t there.
Honestly, after a long look at the Ravens, I think the goal is to try and recreate a 2014 version of Joe Flacco. That season Flacco had a career year for touchdown passes (27) and QB Rating (68.2). The leading wide receiver for yards that year was Steve Smith Jr. accompanied by Torrey Smith who had 11 touchdowns. The team had a strong running game with Justin Forsett and a productive group of pass catchers including a solid Tight End group.
Snead could become Flacco’s go-to check down target. Snead has proven he can handle a heavy workload and should be motivated to prove himself in Baltimore this season. Fantasy owners are very quick to dismiss the Ravens due to the lack production from Flacco and company in the past, but this team could surprise us if we take them for granted. There is late round value hiding on this roster for your fantasy team.
Is Snead A Sleeper Again?
The Ravens wouldn’t have made the move to sign Snead only to have him take a backseat in the offseason. His contract isn’t much less than what the team is paying Michael Crabtree if you factor in the $3.4 million in incentives. I’ll follow up with this article in the Summer when there is more accurate Fantasy Football Average Draft Position, but Dynasty owners may want to buy low on Snead while they still can.
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