Zay Flowers Fantasy Forecast 2023
Zay Flowers was drafted 22nd overall by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2023 NFL Draft. Initially, I wasn’t thrilled that Flowers landed in Baltimore, but I was at least glad that my analysis was accurate with one of his potential suitors being the WR-starved Ravens.
Recruiting and Collegiate Background
Zay Flowers was a 3-star (out of a possible 5) recruit out of Fort Lauderdale. He drew offers from nearly 30 programs and ultimately chose Boston College where he played quite well for 4 years. Despite BC being a run-heavy offense, Flowers quickly ascended the depth chart and became a reliable and productive receiver for the Eagles of Chestnut Hill.
While I have issues with the star recruiting system and what that ultimately means for collegiate athletes and eventual professionals, it’s always prudent to take note of how scouts rate teenagers prior to their commitments to programs.
Statistical and Athletic Notes
Below are the notes I made for Zay Flowers prior to this year’s draft:
- Smooth route runner who doesn’t lose speed when making cuts. Good quality to have for a WR, but extra nice for a rookie.
- Productive over 4-year college career which culminated in a 78 reception, 1,077 yards, and 12 TD senior year stat line.
- Avoided any significant injuries.
- Great explosiveness off line of scrimmage.
- Capable of causing missed tackles.
- Can go up and get 50/50 jump balls despite his 180-pound, 5’9” frame.
- Good at tracking deep balls, exceptional actually.
- Versatile. Can play slot and perimeter. Can return kicks. Can rush the ball.
- Can struggle at the top of routes with more physical defensive backs.
- Drops could be an issue.
- Likely late round 1 – Vikings, Ravens, Gmen, Saints.
- Potential future fantasy star, especially if he can get volume.
- Ended collegiate career as Boston College’s best statistical WR of all time.
- 40-yard Dash: 4.42s
- 10-second Split: 1.53s
- Speed Score: 95.37
- Vertical Jump: 35.5”
- Broad Jump: 10’7”
The Ravens definitely need help at the WR position, and Flowers has the athletic traits and background to provide that. A healthy Rashod Bateman and Mark Andrews, as well as the signing of OBJ, may help to keep pressure off of Flowers to be “the guy” right away. Lamar Jackson, who looked like he was trying to be more of a pocket passer last season, deciding to stay in Baltimore likely helps too. Flowers can track the deep ball as well, and Jackson has the arm strength to deliver.
Flowers also has the chance to immediately become WR2 in this offense. OBJ is both injury prone and old, and the draft capital spent on Flowers suggests that the coaching staff does not have faith in Devin Duvernay.
The first problem is that the Ravens are a running team and are built that way. The departure of rushing game guru Greg Roman and introduction of new, more pass friendly OC Todd Monken will induce some changes though. Over the summer I will do a more in depth dive of each team’s coaching system, and I’m curious just how much this offense will change.
Will Bateman be WR1, or will it be Mark Andrews? Yes, I know Andrews is a TE, but in terms of receiving priority, Flowers may be more like a WR3 even if he’s up second on the WR depth chart. Additionally, Isaiah Likely showed his talents last season, and JK Dobbins has been vocal about his role in the offense.
Another possible issue is that this receiving corps has demonstrated injury issues over recent seasons. OBJ himself has had trouble staying on the field when he played, which oh by the way was over a year ago. That’s significant for any athlete but especially for NFLers. Could injuries move Flowers up higher on the depth chart? Yes. Might that make it easier for opposing defenses to shut down Flowers? Potentially.
2023 Redraft Fantasy Outlook
I’m quite interested in Zay Flowers, but I’m worried about his initial and consistent success in 2023. The Ravens will be introducing a new offensive scheme and will likely experience some growing pains. If you have Rashod Bateman on your team, I would consider Flowers as a handcuff. I could also see taking Flowers as a later round/low auction dollar flier. There’s a chance that Flowers could be WR1 by the end of the season, and if he is, then he likely had some good outings on the way to getting there. If I draft him though, I’m going to make sure I have more WRs ahead of him on my fantasy team’s depth chart.
I do think Flowers will have an explosive game or two, so he’d be a nice candidate for Best Ball, and I’ll be giving him some DFS attention, but I’m not banking on him as someone that you can count on during the entirety of the 2023 season. If he doesn’t get drafted in your leagues, keep him in mind for a mid to late season add as his role should grow over time.
I am definitely in on Flowers for the long haul. He’s talented and is a proven competitor. He has also shown the ability to have success in run-heavy offenses before. We’ll see if it translates to the NFL, but talent and work ethic are a nice mix, so I’ll be betting on that to play out eventually.
After signing his new deal, Lamar Jackson is likely the Ravens QB for the next 5 seasons. Outside of Mark Andrews, a long-standing QB and receiver relationship is currently lacking since Hollywood Brown left town, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Flowers ends up being that guy. If Bateman does not end up with the Ravens long-term, Flowers may end up being WR1 in Baltimore for several years.
Zay Flowers is one of 14 siblings. I’m sure he learned how to compete from a young age.
Matt, aka Boris, had a friend in his high school freshman English class once mistakenly call him that, and the nickname has somehow stuck ever since. He has been playing fantasy football since the early 2000s and Daily Fantasy Sports since 2015. Boris has been writing about DFS since 2020 and is excited to be a part of GridIron Experts. He has a wife (proving someone can stand him) and a daughter. Boris loves the beach, skiing, hockey, soccer, and football. He attempts to teach high school English, and aspires to make a ton of money in DFS. Follow him on Twitter @Borisnow00.