With tons of injuries, the Baltimore Ravens are caught fiddlin’ their Woodhead.
2016 Review: Quoth the Baltimore Ravens never score. Well to be fair the Ravens did at least perform to slightly under the league average at 21.4 points per game last season; however, the Ravens had few reliable scorers meaning you had a melting pot of mediocre options to choose from. Terrence West was a serviceable sleeper finishing the year at 24th overall at RB and Mike Wallace was the same as a feast or famine option at WR. Much like their mediocre $24 million dollar QB in Joe Flacco, the Ravens had a nice artillery of players to own for depth reasons, but nobody on their team was truly a reliable, weekly starter that you were excited about playing.
2017 Changes: The Ravens made some quiet moves that will certainly build on the overall quality of their roster. Danny Woodhead gives them a great option out of the backfield to be the safety valve of the Ravens offense and Jeremy Maclin brings a little more consistency at the short-to-intermediate routes at WR that they were lacking. Losing Steve Smith to retirement and Dennis Pitta to yet another hip injury was unfortunate, but these two new options should makeup for these significant losses.
2017 Outlook: The Ravens could slightly improve on offense overall if it weren’t for all of their training camp/offseason injury woes. Last season their depth, ironically, hurt them from a fantasy prospective and this season it’s questionable if they have enough. Flacco’s recent back issue should be reason enough to not really want any of their WRs at a starting value considering he may not be ready by Week 1 or even later. The Ravens are typically a middle-of-the-road offense that underachieves in points scored, so it’s fair to assume that they will yet again patch together a solid effort lacking any fantasy stars. And that’s best case scenario.
Most Reliable Fantasy Star: He’s certainly not a star, but Danny Woodhead is always an excellent option around the 8th round of fantasy drafts. With Pitta gone, he could easily catch well over 50 passes and chip away for 1,000 total yards. It’s not super sexy and I have my concerns regarding his ability to be featured (age and injuries), but in deeper leagues or PPR leagues this could be serviceable RB2 or FLEX play to snag later in the draft. While we’re at it Terrence West should be mentioned here as well and could go several rounds after Woodhead.
Biggest Potential Bust: Mike Wallace was excellent last season at the start. After scoring three TDs in his first two games, he only had one for the rest of the season. Perhaps even more worrisome, Wallace failed to eclipse 70 yards receiving one time in his final eight games. Wallace is a fun bench spot to throw the dice on a FLEX start when the matchup is juicy, but on name recognition alone he’ll be overdrafted this year and with Flacco’s back I would be worried about Ryan Mallett potentially throwing him the deep ball.
Best Sleeper: Ironically, loved on the Eagles for his deep threat ability, Jeremy Maclin developed a knack in KC for chipping away in total WR yards and targets and catches thanks largely to having a dumper for a QB. He’s a nice fit in Baltimore where he should be seeing at least 8 targets a game and bringing in 6 catches for 60 yards or more. Again this isn’t sexy, but considering he’s often ranked in the 40s at WR overall, Maclin could develop back into a low end WR2 by season’s end.
Overrated Sleeper: I created a segment here about not drafting Kenneth Dixon’s because of his value, but he then underwent season-ending surgery. So I suppose I’ll quickly say that I see no value for Breshad Perriman. The second year WR was often listed on sleeper lists before the acquisition of Maclin. He’s the #3 on a below average passing attack.
Interesting Fantasy Stat: No skill position player on the Ravens scored more than 4 TDs (rushing or receiving) last season and that’s a problem.
Most Intriguing Fantasy Factor: Already labeled the team with all the injuries in training camp can the Baltimore Ravens sustain even mediocre results this season? Can Flacco and Woodhead hold up for the season or will this team crumble?
One Thing I Was Right About (Last Season): Terrence West as the best back to own was spot on; however, I unfortunately dropped him in every league I owned him in before he blew up.
One Thing I Was Wrong About: When Dennis Pitta began crushing it early in the year I had little interest because I never thought he’d hold up. I was wrong….sort of…he did get hurt this offseason again.
Best Porn Name: Danny Woodhead….duh.
Final Thought: Can Ray Lewis please stop giving current athletes morality or behavior advice? Anyways…sorry to break our streak of hot chicks at the bottom of each page. Here you go. Whoops…wrong Raven.