The Ravens are a great source for Fantasy Football firepower. The reason I say this is because they have success in ALL facets of the game. They have a top-notch defense, a very capable offense that can move the ball in the air and on the ground , their special teams is on point, and they have an automatic kicker. On top of all that, they added more weapons in this year’s draft to help us Fantasy ballers for the upcoming season…
“Take Ownership” of the offense is what Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome is expecting of QB Joe Flacco this year in Baltimore. Last year, the Ravens brought in prominent, play-making receivers in Anquan Boldin and TJ Houshmandzadeh giving Flacco the tools he needed to be successful. The 2010 season was Joe Cool’s best season yet with 26 TD and 10 Ints (2 fewer than in both 2008 and 2009). This year the Ravens drafted even more weapons adding Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss to the mix. If that’s not motivation enough to get the job done, Flacco is trying to get his contract extension handled this year. So far the Ravens don’t see things the same way. Joe’s been quoted as saying that he feels 3 years is enough time for the Ravens to make a decision. I’m not sure if I agree, but to his credit, Flacco is the Ravens’ all time leader in passing yards, touchdown passes, completions and attempts. The question is: is the success because of Flacco or the arsenal of weapons he’s been given? I think this season, we will REALLY find out. With that being said, from a Fantasy Football standpoint: drafting Joe Flacco is a Fantasty Football DO! Nothing like a chip on your shoulder to make you have your best season yet.
Joe may be Cool and he may be the best QB the Ravens have ever had, but this is a RUNNING team! When you talk about Ravens RBs, you only need to mention one name, Ray Rice. No question, a Top 10 Fantasy Football RB. He can run and catch, two things you look for when drafting for RBs. He was the #10 rusher last season with 1220 yards and he had 556 yards receiving, with a TD total of 6. While that TD number is low (Rice was called on to block more in the early part of the season), but he saw the end zone quite often during the 2nd half of the season. He also had to deal with Willis McGahee poaching some scores, but Rice was and will continue to be the man. There is talk that McGahee is done in Bmore, further evidenced by the drafting of Anthony Allen from Georgia Tech. Allen will not be a Fantasy factor this year. Rice has proven to be that workhorse, every down back that you like in a Fantasy Football player. Draft him with NO hesitation!
No shocker here: look for the #1 receiver to remain, Anquan Boldin. In his first season as a Raven, Boldin had 64 catches for 837 yards, and 7 TDs. I believe one huge benefit to the Ravens’ offense is that they have worked out a lot of the chemistry kinks. This year they will be stronger for it! Derrick Mason the solid, reliable wideout is going into his 6th year. In 2010 he was the #2 receiver. I think while he will still be solid and on the roster, Mason is not who is on your board Fantasy Football draft day. He will not produce the numbers he has in the past. Now as for awesome rookies: Torrey Smith (University of MD: Stand Up) is the rookie WR drafted this offseason. At 6’1, 204lbs, the Ravens will look to Smith to be the HUGE, PHYSICAL deep threat. I think he will have a great rookie season…especially with an older Derrick Mason on the roster. Another name to keep an eye out for is Tandon Doss. According to Philip Taft, Contributing Writer for www.bleacherreport.com<http://www.bleacherreport.com/> “Tandon Doss was picked as a result of Ravens QB Joe Flacco, who was given a list of receivers to evaluate and picked Doss.” When the QB picks you, I’m sure he’ll work on getting you the ball….if you make it through training camp!
The Ravens seem to be very comfortable at TE also. Todd Heap is a very talented option, but has dealt with many injuries in his career. Last year, he had a bit of a Fantasy awakening, with 599 yards and 5 TDs. He averaged 15 yards a catch, which was the highest on the team. But Heap did miss some time last year because of injuries. There were no worries, Ed Dickson did a nice job filling for Heap during his absence. Some even took advantage by plugging in Dickson for a couple of weeks. Both players are worth keeping an eye on.
The Ravens D is still a force. They may not be the force that they once were, but they still strike fear when opponents see them on the schedule. The reason I think they are still a viable Fantasy D is they have what a lot of NFL defenses don’t have: PLAYMAKERS!! Ray Lewis still hits as hard as he did when he got drafted out of the U. He may not have high sack totals, but he is a tackling fool. He can also play the pass and come up with an occasional INT. Ed Reed, if healthy, can be the best football player on the field. Anytime he gets his hands on the ball, he is a threat to score: from ANYWHERE. Ray Ray may lack sacks, but his LB partner T Sizzle is a sack master! Terrell Suggs lead the team with 11 sacks last year, showing that when he plays, he just does not care who he hits. The secondary is serviceable, but don’t really scare anybody…well Reed is the exception to this of course. Still the Ravens, in my opinion, got one of the best steals in the draft with CB Jimmy Smith, out of Colorado. Smith fell in the draft because of some off the filed issues, but there is no better place for a young defensive rookie to be than in the same lockeroom with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. Oh, and dude can ball. I predict he will be running back some INTs to the house this season.
I’m not real big on talking about kickers, but they do score Fantasy points too. Billy Cundiff has been a consistent Fantasy kicker, so he is draftable (is that a word)? Cundiff was 26 of 29 in field goals which is adequate. The one thing you may have to worry about is there may not be a lot of opportunities, but with the consistent improvement of the Ravens O, that could change. Another thing about Cundiff is that he doesn’t have a BIG leg, so you may not get those bonus points for kicks over 50 yds. But like I said, he is draftable.
Taking it from one purple team to another we are headed to the Twin Cities to discuss what the Vikings can offer to your 2011 Fantasy Football roster…