Fantasy Corner: Ravens 2014 Fantasy Outlook

Posted on July 01, 2014 by Phil Gentile

Breakout star.......RB Bernard Pierce

Photo Credit: USA Today

Between his time at Rutgers and his NFL career to this point, Ray Rice has 2,531 carries. That's alot of miles for a guy entering his seventh season. Not to mention the possible suspension looming over his head. Enter Bernard Pierce, who was absolutely awful in 2013 but then again so was anyone who tried to run behind the Ravens offensive line. In his rookie season, however, Pierce showed a power running style and stiff arm ability that can't be taught. His ADP will skyrocket once training camp arrives.

Projected stats: 1,089 rushing yards, 9 touchdowns

Career year.....WR Torrey Smith

Photo Credit: USA Today

With a veteran on the other side of the field to keep opposing secondaries honest, I could easily see Torrey Smith hauling in double digit touchdowns and registering career highs in catches and yards. Smith is supremely talented but at times seems lost in the Ravens offense. That should all change with the arrival of new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. The head coach of the Texans from 2006-2013, Kubiak used Andre Johnson early and often. Five times he eclipsed the 100 catch mark and was always the focal part of the Texans passing game. Despite the addition of Steve Smith I can see Torrey Smith used as the X receiver in the Ravens new offense, making him a potential WR1 in all leagues.

Projected stats: 101 catches, 1,300 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns

Wait until 2015......WR Jeremy Butler

Photo Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

If you don't know who Jeremy Butler is don't worry. Few Ravens fans do. He was an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee-Martin who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.61 after leading Tennessee-Martin in catches (90), receiving yards (1,203) and touchdowns (10) his senior year. Not know for his speed, Butler has the hands to be a possession receiver on Sundays but will need to spend 2014 on the practice squad with the abundance of receiver depth on the Ravens roster. Remember the name though.

Schedule analysis

- Ray Rice is most likely missing the first 3-4 games of the season, which happens to include three divisional matchups. Pierce would be the starter during the suspension but Justin Forsett could be used in a 3rd down role catching the ball out of the backfield. Keep him on your PPR radar.

- If you draft Steve Smith he's a MUST START in Week 4 when his former team, the Carolina Panthers, come to town.

- As I mentioned earlier I love Torrey Smith's potential for a career year in 2014 but I might sit him against Browns cornerback Joe Haden in Week 3. He seems to always have his number.

- Down the stretch (Weeks 13-16) three of the four teams on the schedule finished in the bottom third of NFL defenses in 2013. Those three teams (Texans, Jaguars, and Browns) combined to go 10-38 last season.

- I'd be really scared of that Week 16 game against the Texans if you have Flacco on your fantasy squad. JJ Watt and Clowney is a scary combo for any quarterback.

- The Ravens face eight teams that did not make the playoffs in 2013.

Bold prediction

Ummm Flacco will finish as a top five quarterback? Is that bold enough for ya? This will be Flacco's 7th NFL season and this is, without a doubt, the best offense the Ravens have surrounded him with. The addition of a veteran like Steve Smith to a receiving corp or Torrey Smith, Marlon Brown, and Jacoby Jones is pretty impressive. The offensive line should be improved with left tackle Eugene Monroe having a full year under his belt and left guard Kelechi Osemele healthy again. Despite the upgrades around him there is no reason to draft Joe Flacco in any fantasy leagues, given the depth at the position around the league. That being said, if you are in a league with a bunch of Ravens fans he will get drafted at some point so be prepared.

Projected stats: 4,300 passing yards, 31 touchdowns, 14 interceptions

I can also see Dennis Pitta being a top five tight end in fantasy football this season. He is Flacco's favorite target and their best redzone weapon. With Kubiak utilizing lots of two-tight end sets, Owen Daniels on the field will make life much easier for Pitta. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Ravens DST, who will be one of the first defenses off your draft board if you are drafting anywhere near the Baltimore area.

Injury report

As of right now, there are no injuries to report. Bernard Pierce is coming off shoulder surgery but should be fine by training camp, Rice's hip injury and Jacoby's knee injury from last season both appear to be 100% now. The same can be said for Kelechi Osemele's back injury.

Photo Credit:

next up:

Get To Know Your 2014 Cleveland Browns

June 30, 2014

Will a new QB and an improved defense finally get the Browns out of the AFC North basement?


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