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Fantasy Football Projections: Baltimore Ravens

Does everybody know what time it is?!?!? If you answered that it’s a “contract protection year” for Joe Flacco then you’ve been paying attention. 2019 is the first year the Ravens can save some cap money on Flacco’s albatross of a contract by cutting him which means Flacco will either be playing to protect that money, or to get new money from some other unsuspecting victim. The last time Flacco was in danger of needing a new contract was 2013 and all he did prior to that deal was lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl win with an absolutely bonkers 11 postseason TD’s.

No doubt the Ravens front office has grown tired of Flacco’s check-down-Charlie approach to the passing game and they’re going to be expecting a lot more out of their signal caller in 2018. Baltimore also threw a warning shot across Flacco’s bow when they snatched up rookie QB Lamar Jackson with the last pick of the 1st round. I think we’re going to see a rebound from Flacco this season and it’s going to keep Jackson off the field, except in sub-packages specifically drawn up for the speedster. One of my bold calls for 2018 is that Flacco will challenge for Top 10 fantasy value, making him a name to target late in drafts if you invest your early resources in running back or receiver. That said, if Flacco goes belly-up, Jackson has “unexpected fantasy God” written all over him. I haven’t given a projection for Jackson, because I believe Flacco steps up, but if Jackson gets a shot at the job I will own in him in every league I participate in and he could wind up winning fantasy leagues.

Whoever is behind center will wind up handing the ball to the bruising Alex Collins. Collins was a revelation for the Ravens in 2017 popping 1100 total yards in only 12 starts and factoring into the passing game. He had to wait for Javorius Allen to move aside before he could truly take the reigns but Collins clearly has the higher upside. The presence of Allen in the passing game may make Collins more appealing in standard fantasy leagues but he should be a viable RB2, FLEX in all formats. Allen is a key handcuff who should be owned by those who take Collins given the lack of any other impressive talent on the roster.

One hurdle that could stand in the way for Flacco is a brand new receiving corps. John Brown, Michael Crabtree, and Willie Snead will all be fresh faces joining the only returning talent with a shot at fantasy relevance in Breshad Perriman. The good news is that Brown, Crabtree, and Snead are massive upgrades over Campanaro, Maclin, and Wallace. It will take some time for this group to sort out who the fantasy alphas will be but Crabtree will likely gobble up the lead role as a possession receiver and serve as a lethal red zone target for Flacco. Snead, Brown, and Perriman should help Flacco pull his YPA up from the paltry 5.7 he had last year back into the mid 7.0 range. I’m drafting Crabtree as a WR2 and monitoring Snead, Brown, and Perriman as potential breakout sleepers.

The Ravens will also be looking for one of their young tight ends to step up and that could be 2018 first round pick, Hayden Hurst. The Ravens took Hurst with their first pick in the 1st round before trading back up to grab Jackson, so they clearly have high hopes here. Hurst isn’t a slouch in the blocking game and profiles in the Heath Miller/Jason Witten category of tight ends who will both get dirty and move the chains. I like Hurst to eventually win this job and deliver some solid fantasy returns, but it may take half a season to do it. Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams will fight for targets in the interim but neither is worth owning.

2018 Projections

NAME POSITION CMP ATT PASS YD PASS TD INT RU YD RU TD
Joe Flacco QB 375 600 3915 25 14 50 1

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Javorius Allen RB 85 345 1 40 245 2 0
Alex Collins RB 250 1050 8 25 200 1 2

 

NAME POSITION CARRIES RU YD RU TD REC  REC YD REC TD FUM
Michael Crabtree WR 0 0 0 80 915 8 1
Willie Snead WR 0 0 0 60 710 2 1
John Brown WR 0 0 0 35 405 2 0
Breshad Perriman WR 0 0 0 40 515 2 0
Nick Boyle TE 0 0 0 20 165 1 0
Maxx Williams TE 0 0 0 15 130 1 0
Hayden Hurst TE 0 0 0 45 525 4 0
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Ben Stecker

Ben Stecker

Author SportsTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Writer, sports connoisseur, Pacific Northwesterner. Rarely met a sport I couldn't be great friends with. Follow me on twitter @Softball_Guy
Ben Stecker
Ben Stecker

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