Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

Offseason Primers: Baltimore Ravens

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

A change in offensive coordinators combined with some incredible passes from Joe Flacco propelled the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory in 2012.

A change in salary cap space because of Flacco's NFL-record extension meant changes across the roster. Along with five defensive starters leaving the team, the Ravens sent sure-handed receiver Anquan Boldin to the 49ers via trade in a move that saved some of their cap space. It's tough decisions like this that could keep the Ravens from being as successful in 2013.

The offense has some questions at receiver but none at running back, where Ray Rice is about as sure as things can be. Totaling over 1,500 yards for the fourth straight year and collecting 10 total touchdowns for the second straight season, Rice delivered over 100 total yards eight times and totaled 10-plus Fantasy points in standard leagues 11 times in the 15 games he legitimately played in. Down the stretch in 2012 we did see Bernard Pierce take some carries away from Rice, including 21 carries in the AFC title game and Super Bowl XLVII combined. Perhaps that was done to ease Rice's workload, a smart move considering he put on 318 total touches in the regular season and another 92 in the postseason.

2012 Touches Leaders
761 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
Ray Rice 318 (257 car., 61 rec.) 41.8%
Bernard Pierce 115 (108 car., 7 rec.) 15.1%
Anquan Boldin 66 (65 rec., 1 car.) 8.7%
Dennis Pitta 61 rec. 8.0%
Torrey Smith 52 (49 rec., 3 car.) 6.8%
Jacoby Jones 31 (30 rec., 1 car.) 4.1%
All Others 118 15.5%

Could the Rice-Pierce dynamic bleed into 2013? Perhaps, though with Rice still continuing to be an effective weapon we doubt it will hurt his production much. In fact, if the Ravens determine that their passing attack isn't what it was when they won the title last year, we could see them lean on both backs more. Remember, they're down a viable starting receiver and finding a player to step up in place of Boldin, who led the team with 112 targets last year and has been the leading receiver the past three years, is vital if they want to keep averaging 24.9 points per game like they did last regular season. Rice is a nice Top 10 pick, though he'll have to fight the dreaded Super Bowl hangover to reach big numbers again. The smart move would then be to spend a Round 9 pick on Bernard Pierce as a handcuff to Rice in case he struggles.

But the onus of this team will fall on Flacco, who is now the highest-paid player in league history. With Ray Lewis retiring, the time has come for Flacco to lead this team. Plus, the Ravens tend to find ways to stay competitive -- they haven't had a losing season since John Harbaugh and Flacco came to town in 2008 -- but it could take some creative manuevering from play caller Jim Caldwell for them to stay elite. In the past we've been concerned with Caldwell's work, but after what he did with Flacco last season, not anymore.

As for the Ravens defense, a number of starters walked out the door, but the team diligently filled holes with the likes of Elvis Dumervil, Michael Huff, Marcus Spears and Chris Canty. That leaves fewer holes than anticipated, but there's still the issue of replacing Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe. But, if the Ravens are as smart as their track record suggests, they shouldn't have much of a problem there.

Torrey Smith -- Breakout

2012 Target Leaders
560 pass attempts
Anquan Boldin 112 20.1%
Torrey Smith 110 19.6%
Dennis Pitta 93 16.6%
Ray Rice 84 15.0%
Jacoby Jones 54 9.6%
All Others 107 19.1%

We're turning to Smith as a breakout candidate for the second season in a row, primarily because of the departure of Anquan Boldin along with the receiver maturing enough in his second season to translate into a gamebreaker in his third. His stats were consistent from 2011 to 2012 -- he scored one more touchdown and had 14 more yards receiving on one fewer catch. What wasn't consistent was how he delivered those stats; he had six games with 10 or more Fantasy points and nine with six Fantasy points or less. That boom-or-bust nature happened in part because of a lack of consistent targets (he had just 110) and a lack of consistent receiving skills (he caught just 44.5 pct. of those targets). But who else can step up in this offense? Joe Flacco needs Smith to have a big year for the Ravens to be effective. Getting him in Round 7 or Round 8 as a No. 3 receiver should pay off.

Jacoby Jones -- Bust

The Ravens figure to lean on their postseason hero a little more in 2013. You can ask the Texans how that worked out for them when they gave Jones an opportunity. Jones has never had more than even 600 yards receiving in a year and only once caught six touchdowns in a campaign (he had one regular-season receiving touchdown last year before hauling in two in the postseason). So while he's got some great speed and has gained some notoriety with his dancing skills, he's really never been a great option for Fantasy play. Even with a boost in playing time there's just too much risk in drafting Jones. If he proves us wrong at least you know to pick him up early off the waiver wire.

Joe Flacco -- Value proposition

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Joe Flacco 110-120 overall
Ray Rice 6-10 overall
Torrey Smith 85-95 overall
Jacoby Jones Undrafted
Dennis Pitta 90-100 overall
Justin Tucker Late-round pick
Ravens DST Final-round pick

You'd think after winning a Super Bowl that Flacco would get some respect in Fantasy circles, but it's not really happening. Flacco watched as young guys with fast legs racked up more Fantasy points last year and the mob mentality of following the hot players will push those names ahead of Flacco in drafts. But owners could pull off a sweet double dip and get one of those young runners and Flacco on Draft Day. After all, Flacco finished last season with 20 or more Fantasy points in seven of eight games including the postseason -- all games with new offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell. And if you remove his meaningless Week 17 game, Flacco averaged a precise 18.0 Fantasy points per game in the regular season. If you figure Flacco's floor is that 18-point average, he's a pretty safe bet with a pick in Round 9 or 10 as a backup quarterback and quasi-insurance policy if you take a young gun with an early- to middle-round pick.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Richard Crawford ready for camp
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:06 pm ET) Redskins cornerback Richard Crawford, who's coming back from knee surgery, has been cleared for training camp, reports CSNWashington.com.

Odell Beckham tweaks hamstring again
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:54 pm ET) Giants general manager Jerry Reese said rookie receiver Odell Beckham tweaked his hamstring when he pulled up short on a deep route Tuesday, reports the New York Daily News. Beckham missed a lot of offseason workouts due to a hamstring injury, but thought the problem was behind him.

It's unclear when he'll return to practice.


Vernon Davis still seeking new contract
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:48 pm ET) Although he reported for training camp, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis is "definitely" not O.K. with his current contract, reports Pro Football Talk. The website suggests Davis might have reported after getting the team to waive fines he incurred for skipping minicamp.

The 49ers reportedly won't negotiate with players who hold out -- another possible reason Davis showed up, the report said.


Alex Boone following through on holdout
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:43 pm ET) As expected, 49ers guard Alex Boone will not report for training camp, reports Fox Sports. Boone is unhappy with his contract, which has two years remaining.

Mike Pouncey now expected to miss half the season
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:34 pm ET) Initial reports suggested Dolphins center Mike Pouncey might return from the torn labrum in his hip in late September. The Miami Herald reports that's unrealistic. A source tells the paper Pouncey likely will miss the season's first eight weeks, which covers seven games and a bye.

It's bad news for quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the entire offense.


Jeff Fisher calls Tre Mason a 'change-of-pace back'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:27 pm ET) Rams coach Jeff Fisher referred to third-round pick Tre Mason as "a change-of-pace back," reports the Montgomery Advertiser. "Good zone runner, obviously the numbers speak for themselves," Fisher said. "He was a guy we just couldn't pass up at that point."

Mason will serve as a complement to lead runner Zac Stacy.


Tavon Austin: Playbook was 'like Spanish to me' last year
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:19 pm ET) Rams receiver Tavon Austin admitted to the Associated Press that he didn't grasp the playbook as a rookie, especially early in the season. "I didn't really know what was going on," Austin said. "Everything looked like Spanish and sounded like Spanish to me."

The No. 8 overall pick from 2013 said he's comfortable with the system now.

"I understand the plays, the depth, the routes, the splits and everything," Austin said. "I just feel good that I can make some plays. Definitely, the game's slowed down for me."


Packers preparing Eddie Lacy for massive workload
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:12 pm ET) Although running back Eddie Lacy had some short-term injuries at Alabama, the Packers don't seem concerned at all about giving him a massive workload, reports PackersNews.com. Lacy, 24, carried 284 times in 15 games as a rookie while averaging 21.2 touches.

"This is the NFL, you're not going to play this game until you're 45 or 50," said running backs coach Sam Gash, a former Pro Bowl fullback. "A lot of people, especially the media, try to make it out, 'He's got to last.' He'll last as long as he's meant to last.

"If he gets 40 (carries in a game), I'm OK with that. If he gets 10 carries, 20 carries, as long as we're productive and winning, I don't really care. I tell all the guys, be ready for 50 carries, that's the way you should train in the offseason, as if you're getting 50 carries a game. You're going to beat your body down and beat yourself up, so it's going to harden you mentally and physically. You're not going to wear yourself down. God made a machine, he's not going to let you down when you need him the most."

Tandon Doss to benefit from Ace Sanders' absence
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:06 pm ET) With Jaguars receiver Ace Sanders suspended four games and taking a leave of absence to deal with "personal issues," receiver Tandon Doss will step in as the No. 4 wideout and punt returner, reports the Florida Times-Union. The Jags' top three wideouts are Cecil Shorts and rookies Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson.

Tony Romo set up for huge season
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:01 pm ET) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has the chance for a monster season in 2014. His back is healthy, the receiving corps is exceptional, the defense is bad and the playcalling should be in his favor.

Most Fantasy owners are leery of Romo because of his back and a track record of letting people down. Forget about that. The Cowboys will have trouble stopping people on defense, and the addition of new playcaller Scott Linehan will help Romo shine.

I love Romo as a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback, and he is a breakout candidate even at this stage of his career. For more on why, check out my column here.


 
 
 
Rankings