Baltimore Ravens 2016 Preview

Baltimore Ravens 2016 Preview

2015 Season Review (5-11)

2015 Pass Attempts 676 – Rank: 1st
2015 Rush Attempts 383 – Rank: 25th
2015 Total Offensive Plays 1,083 – Rank: 5th
2015 Yards Per Play 5.3 – Rank: 22nd

While researching for this article, even I had a double take at the stat showing the Ravens led the league in Pass Attempts last year? Traditionally viewed as a team that like to run the ball and play “AFC North” style football, it was surprising to me. After looking into it further, it made more sense as I had forgotten about Marc Trestman being the Offensive Coordinator.

If you’re not familiar with Trestman, well, let’s just say he’s a Quarterback Guru. Dating all the way back to his days in the 1980’s with the Miami Hurricanes, Trestman’s QB’s have had success nearly everywhere he’s been. Kosar at Miami, Kosar again with the Browns in the late 80’s; Then with the 49’ers in the mid 1990’s. In 1997, in Detroit, Scott Mitchell threw for the 4th most passing yards in Lions history with 3,484. In 1998 he helped Cardinals QB Jake Plummer throw for 3,737 yards. Finally, in Oakland he and Rich Gannon (league MVP) took the Raiders to the Super Bowl. So, after doing a little research, it was easy to see and understand where Joe Flacco’s volume increase came from. If it hadn’t been for an ACL Injury, Flacco was well on his way to set career highs in passing attempts, yards and and completion percentage.

Steve Smith turned 37 years old last season, and is coming off a Week 8 ACL tear. That being said, he has great chemistry with Flacco, and will be a solid PPR guy for DK. He was on pace for over 100 receptions and over 1,500 yards last Season before the injury. Kamar Aiken really stepped up in the final 8 games after the Steve Smith injury, as he hauled in 50 receptions for 611 yards and 3 touchdowns in the final 8 weeks of the season. The addition of Mike Wallace will be interesting this season, as he will finally be teamed up with a QB in Flacco who is great at throwing the deep ball. Ranking 6th in PFF’s deep ball metric, he’s easily the best deep ball QB Wallace has played for since leaving Pittsburgh.

Justin Forsett usually catches some passes out of the backfield as well, which will make him a decent option on Draftkings with a full point for each reception. TE Ben Watson is a new addition to the Offense and should help Flacco spread the wealth a little. The Ravens have some solid Offensive weapons that you can look to on a weekly basis for some underpriced GPP options. They will usually go underowned in GPP’s because they just aren’t “sexy” on paper, however, you can’t ignore the passing volume this team will put up under coach Trestman. Their Defense is not great so, they will likely be playing from behind quite a bit, which is even better for fantasy goodness.

Vegas has the Ravens set at 7.5 wins in 2016. I know why they struggled last year was mainly due to injuries. I feel like they have a bounce back year this year, and the Offense really starts clicking under Trestman in his 2nd year as the OC. Look for a breakout year from Flacco baring injury.

Baltimore Ravens Depth Chart
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9    
QB Joe Flacco Ryan Mallett Josh Johnson                
RB Justin Forsett Terrance West Javorius Allen Kenneth Dixon Lorenzo Taliaferro Kyle Juszczyk          
WR Kamar Aiken Steve L Smith Mike Wallace Breshad Perriman Michael Campanaro Chris Moore Jeremy Butler Keenan Reynolds Chris Matthews    
TE Ben Watson Crockett Gillmore Maxx Williams Dennis Pitta Nick Boyle Darren Waller          
K Justin Tucker          


The Core by xBenJamminx

When you think about the Ravens, what usually comes to mind is their defense. What we’ve seen over the past few years is an increase in their passing, especially downfield.

Joe Flacco isn’t very mobile, nor does he particularly light up the scoreboard consistently, Ranking 26th in total fantasy points and passing touchdowns for Quarterbacks in 2015. What I think is promising is that he has the 4th easiest overall schedule for QBs and gets Steve Smith Sr.  back, who is such a tough competitor and a great deep ball threat. The addition of Mike Wallace, who really is a boom or bust type player, capable of some big days adds to the assumption that they’ll be pushing the ball downfield more. The emergence of Kamar Aiken towards the end of the season helped Flacco to work on his pepper game. He was ranked number 15 in total Yards AT the Catch, averaging 10 YAtC/Rec. I wouldn’t put too much stock into Ben Watson, although he became part of the enigmatic offense of the Saints. We saw that in the beginning of the season that Justin Forsett was a big part of the Ravens offense, receiving around 5 targets per game, although we’re not sure if he’ll be able to sustain a full season, but when he’s healthy, he should be a decent option.

Cash Thoughts: When picking from this core, my first thoughts would be to pair Flacco with Steve Smith as my high end QB/WR1 pairing, and skip right over to Kamar Aiken if I wanted to find value for PPR. If I’m using Forsett I’ll most likely use him without any other members of the stack, although BAL has one of the tougher schedules for running backs.

GPP Thoughts: If I’m pairing Flacco with his WRs, I’ll tend to lean towards a combo of Flacco/Smith/Aiken QB/WR1/WR3  or Flacco/Wallace/Aiken QB/WR2/WR3. I think there is certainly value in pairing Flacco/Forsett QB/RB stack if you notice they’re playing a defense with good outside pass coverage but weak over the middle. You can expect some dump off passes, with the potential for normal RB points.

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