Ravens Early Fantasy ForecastPosted on June 03, 2014 by Slater Jackson
The Baltimore Ravens have a new offensive coordinator in Gary Kubiak which should pay dividends for the skill players. Baltimore struggled last season on offense and have spent the off-season upgrading at offensive line and receiver. With the additions of Steve Smith at wide receiver and bringing in Jeremy Zuttah to the offensive line the Ravens are poised to be much better on offense.
Joe Flacco-19th best rated FSF Quarterback
Flacco is poised for a bounce back year after struggling to put up numbers last season. Without a running game to set a platform, Flacco was under pressure every time he dropped back. Getting sacked 48 times in the season is not conducive to putting up gaudy numbers. This was compounded by poor play by his offensive line which saw Flacco scrambling for his life and making poor throws into coverage resulting in interceptions. With the arrival of Gary Kubiak in Baltimore, Flacco has a chance to dramatically turn things around from last season. With adjustments on the offensive line and a more productive running game, Flacco will enjoy the luxury of time in the pocket to deliver the ball to his weapons on the outside. With the addition of Steve Smith and a healthy Dennis Pitta, Flacco should post better numbers this season but will more than likely only enough to garner him QB2 status in fantasy leagues.
Ray Rice- 24th best rated FSF Running Back
Rice is an enigma at this point because off field issues may impact his fantasy output this season. If Rice is suspended this season his fantasy value will take a dramatic hit but depending on the length of his suspension he may be a great value pick up in later rounds. When he returns to the field he will be fresh and running behind what looks to be a renewed Ravens running attack. Implementing the Gary Kubiak offense is dependent upon a solid ground game to set up the platform for the aerial attack. Rice will be running behind a bolstered offensive line that should perform at a significantly higher level than they did last season. Also the Ravens will be using more double tight sets that will see Rice get maximum yards out of a play. Because of his unknown ability to start the season because of off field issues, Rice will have limited time and is not worth a high pick in fantasy drafts. When he comes back form suspension he will be worth having because he will be shot out of a cannon and could put up big numbers.
Bernard Pierce- 37th Ranked FSF Running Back
Pierce will be the beneficiary of any Ray Rice suspension and has an opportunity to produce significant numbers. Pierce is a natural fit in Kubiak’s running game as he is a strong runner who is best in a one cut system. Pierce will see a significant increase in snaps and they should not taper down to much when Rice returns to the line-up. Consider Pierce a backup in fantasy leagues with the potential to put up big numbers from time to time depending on the match up.
Torrey Smith- 25th Ranked FSF Wide Receiver
Smith who topped 1000 yards for the first time last season is on the rise and doesn’t look like slowing down. Putting up big yards last season with a quarterback under fire, Smith had to become more than a deep threat and elevated his game to the next level. Now adept at running the entire route tree, Smith is on the fast track to becoming one of the best. With the arrival of Steve Smith to Baltimore, defences can’t continuously keep safety help over the top of Smith. This should lead to Smith getting open more often and also being able to work the middle of the field. Smith will benefit from Gary Kubiaks new system which implements a lot of play action and crossing patterns into the open field. Smith will put up the type of numbers that will thrust him into a starting WR in fantasy leagues. With a consistent amount of targets and the chance of big plays, Smith is a great week to week starter with big play potential.
Steve Smith- 44th Ranked FSF Wide Receiver
Smith brings a ton of experience to the Ravens receiving corps that will benefit from his tutelage. Smith is one of the grittiest and fiercest competitors in the NFL and still has what it takes to get open and cause opposing defences fits. Smith will likely be used in Baltimore much in the way they used Anquan Boldin, playing both on the outside but also moving around into the slot in 3 wide sets. If this is the case then Smith will be a mismatch for most teams nickel corners and see a lot of balls thrown his way. A back up fantasy WR, Smith is a week to week consideration to start with the ability to put up big numbers from time to time.
Marlon Brown- 73rd Ranked FSF Wide Receiver
Brown stormed onto the scene last season for the Ravens catching 7 touchdowns during his rookie campaign. Brown will be competing with Jacoby Jones for snaps as the 3rd receiver in the Ravens offense and will see limited time in games due to the new offensive system. A boom or bust fantasy candidate, Brown is worth Bye week consideration with the potential to but up decent numbers.
Jacoby Jones- 77th Ranked FSF Wide Receiver
Jones is utilised more as a kick returner than a receiver for the Ravens but when he is on the field he is a big play machine. A speedy receiver who can get over the top of the defense, Jones is a big play waiting to happen. Not a chain mover, but he has the ability to rip off a 50+ yards touchdown at any time. Another fantasy bye week consideration with big upside.
Dennis Pitta- 6th Ranked FSF Tight End
Pitta is poised for a big season after spending most of last season on the IR Designated to return tag. After dislocating and fracturing his hip in pre-season, Pitta didn’t see much of the field at all last season. One of Joe Flacco’s favourite targets, Pitta will be a key contributor to the execution of the new Ravens offense. Pitta is a must start in fantasy leagues and may put up the best numbers of his career this season.
Owen Daniels- 25th Ranked FSF Tight End
Daniels follows Kubiak over from Houston and will be crucial in the implementation of the offense. With advanced knowledge to impart to the other receiver and in particular fellow tight end Dennis Pitta. Daniels is the clear no.2 in Baltimore but will get snaps from time to time and as a savvy veteran could make big plays more often than not. A pure bye week option in fantasy football, Daniels is not a viable starter.
Justin Tucker- 4th Ranked FSF Kicker
Tucker is one of the more consistent kickers in the NFL and has a huge leg which the Ravens let loose last season in Detroit where he hit a 61 yard field goal for the win. Baltimore will have plenty of redzone visits this season which will give Tucker the chance to either slot over a number of extra points of hit a lot of field goals. Either way, Tucker is a starter in all fantasy leagues.
Defense/ST- 10th Ranked FSF Defense/ST
Baltimore has significantly bolstered their defense this off season and are looking to get back into the top 5 defenses this season. A perennial powerhouse on defense, the Ravens were gritty while rebuilding last season and came together in the second half of the season to be one of the stingiest in the NFL. Their special teams unit’s which boast the speedy Jacoby Jones returning kicks are always in the hunt to change games. Jones is an electrifying returner who can make a big play at any point of the game. With a rebuilt middle, their defense has a chance to be dominating this season and is a must start in all fantasy leagues.