Welcome to Overreaction Of The Week, my over the top, uninhibited, Baltimore sports-fan takes on this week’s Orioles activity.
The NFL Preseason is officially underway and with football season comes fantasy football season. I do like fantasy football, but I’ll admit I don’t get crazy with daily fantasy, mock drafts, or anything of that sort. These recommendations are for standard 10 or 12 team leagues, so it may not be as intensely in depth as some fantasy players are looking for. Anyways, here are my impressions so far of which Ravens could add some value to your fantasy team this year.
Justin Tucker – This is an easy one, he’s the best kicker in the league. The Ravens defense should give the offense the ball back on a regular basis and the improved offense should give Tucker plenty of opportunities at field goals and extra points.
Ravens D/ST – Speaking of that defense, the Ravens should be productive again. In 2017, they were 6th points allowed per game and led the league with 34 takeaways. An improved pass rush and exciting secondary would lead to a lot turnovers and return touchdowns. Jerry Rosburg always puts out some of the best special teams in the league. With an electric returner like Tim White, there could be some kick and punt return scores to be had here too.
Alex Collins – Collins could be a Flex option for some fantasy owners, he may be available a little later on than the initial run on RBs. It looks like he’ll dominate early-down touches compared to his teammates in the backfield, but is likely to lose out on passing downs to either Buck Allen or Kenneth Dixon, if he can stay healthy. Collins was very productive in his burn as a starter and is likely to benefit from the return of Marshall Yanda, Alex Lewis, and the addition of Orlando Brown Jr. If he can maintain his ball security and sneak into the passing game, he might hold sneaky value as a Flex or even RB2.
John Brown – Wide Receiver is an interesting position in fantasy this season, as there is a small group of true top-flight receivers in the league. With running backs catching more and more passes, the average wide receiver production per game may drop. That being said, John Brown could be a solid pick later in your draft. Based on his performance so far, it looks like he has a strong rapport with quarterback Joe Flacco, and is likely to be the home run threat the Ravens have been missing since Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones‘ departure. He should see his fair share of targets as the Ravens offense pushes the ball down the field.
Michael Crabtree – Crabtree’s value will bolstered in a points per reception league. As a possession receiver, I feel Crabtree will be one of the go-to guys in 2nd and long and 3rd and medium downs, akin to Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason. He’s also a good red zone target and could rack up short touchdowns, as opposed to Brown’s big plays.
Hayden Hurst/Mark Andrews – I don’t feel the Tight End group across the league isn’t very deep, so taking a flyer on Hayden Hurst with a very late pick may not be a bad idea. While young tight ends tend to struggle, Joe Flacco has always been reliant on his Tight Ends, namely Dennis Pitta. Hurst may be the overall better player, but he may actually be hurt by the fact that he’ll be asked to stay in and block, whereas Mark Andrews is more a pure receiver. If Andrews is utilized as a big bodied slot receiver, he could have prove to be a productive target. It will be interesting to see how each contributes early on, but either one of these players could have week by week streamer value based on the Ravens’ opponent.
Joe Flacco – Flacco has never been a fantasy stud and behind a strong running game and defense, may not be asked to do too much this year. But with some solid weapons around him and an improved offensive line, he could put up some big games. With his health and mobility back and some downfield threats to throw to, he can fire his patented deep ball up and hope guys, like the aforementioned Brown, to come down with it.
The Ravens have a few top-flight fantasy options. Tucker is undeniable and may be one of the greatest kickers of all time. The defense will take their hits along the way, but they’re a solid unit that led the league in big plays last year. After that, the roster may look more pedestrian fantasy-wise, but there are some opportunities to capture value. I’ll be looking to draft Collins and Brown in appropriate spots, but even guys like Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon, and Lamar Jackson could end up producing for the team. Fantasy championships are won with finding value in later rounds and there are some Ravens that help propel owners to winning his or her league. Is there anyone else you would consider for your fantasy team? Let me know on Twitter at @itssocontejus.