2020 Fantasy Previews Part 3: Baltimore Ravens

Projected Depth Chart:

Quarterback: 1. Lamar Jackson 2. Robert Griffin III

Running back: 1. Mark Ingram 2. JK Dobbins

Wide Receiver: 1. Marquise Brown 2. Miles Boykin 3. Devin Duvernay 4. Chris Moore

Slot Receiver 1. Willie Snead IV 2. DeAnthony Thomas

Tight End: 1. Mark Andrews 2. Nick Boyle

The Baltimore Ravens have one of the most electrifying offenses in the NFL. This offense is very different from what most other teams run. The Ravens by far had the lowest percentage of their plays come from the pass. For reference, the San Francisco 49ers had the second lowest percentage at 49.0%. 42.5% of the Baltimore Ravens plays came from the pass. The Ravens obviously didn't need to pass last year to be effective. They had the best rush offense in the NFL, led by electrifying quarterback Lamar Jackson. The Ravens run their offense out of the pistol formation. Doing this allows the Ravens to call run plays in either direction without giving the defense a hint where the ball is going to go. Even though they run their offense out of the pistol, the Ravens call a couple option plays out of the shotgun and spread pass plays. Marquise Brown adds another dimension to the offense as he does a lot of motions to take handoffs and touch passes. This offense is extremely dynamic and hard to stop. The Ravens averaged 204.8 rushing yards per game last year, leading them to a 14-2 record. The offense will remain the same this year, maybe even more electric with the addition of rookie running back JK Dobbins.

Quarterbacks - Nobody knew how good Lamar Jackson would be in the first season of his NFL career. In 2018, it seemed like Joe Flacco would leave the Ravens after the season. Knowing this, the Ravens got former Heisman quarterback Lamar Jackson to learn from, and eventually succeed Joe Flacco. The one problem with Lamar Jackson was that he is the polar opposite of Joe Flacco. The latter is old and slow, while the former is blazing fast but needed some work on his quarterback skills.

Lamar Jackson became the full time starter in week 11 of 2018 and never looked back. He became a solid fantasy starter, averaging 18.6 fantasy points per game. Entering the 2019 season, Jackson was a breakout candidate at the quarterback. In some fantasy leagues he wasn't even drafted. A lot of people thought he would improve a lot on his passing with another offseason spent working on his game.

Saying Lamar Jackson had a breakout year last year was an understatement. Jackson averaged 27.7 fantasy points per game and only scored under 20 twice. Lamar Jackson won MVP last year and rightfully so. He set the record for the most rush yards for a quarterback in a single season while wowing the NFL with his speed and elusiveness at the quarterback position. I expect a little regression from Jackson this year as all top fantasy players do but he is still my #1 quarterback heading into the season. Lamar will still be one of if not the top quarterbacks for the upcoming season. Lamar is going in the second round for most drafts. The only reason I would even consider taking him there would be if I could pair him with Christian McCafrey or Saquon Barkley.

Running backs - In the pistol offense, the quarterback, center, and running back all line up in a straight line. This benefits the running back in a huge way because the defense will not know which direction the run will be. Having Lamar Jackson in this offense helps the running backs a lot. Lamar is very fast and you always need to have a spy on him ready to contain or tackle. When the Ravens call plays like read options, the running backs find a lot of success because of the attention that Lamar Jackson gets.

Last season Mark Ingram benefitted from this lack of attention. Although he was a little bit inconsistent, he still finished as the RB11. Ingram ran 202 times for 1018 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also caught 26 passes for 247 yards and 5 touchdowns. Ingram was not quite a workhorse last season and had 5 games under 10 points. He was a solid fantasy starter last year as he also had 5 games over 20 points.

I am not targeting Mark Ingram in any of my leagues this year. There are two things that worry me this year for Ingram. The first thing is, Ingram is not a true workhorse back because he almost completely split carries with Lamar Jackson last year. Also, the Ravens spent a second round pick on Ohio State running back JK Dobbins who will be a thorn in the side of Ingram all season long. The thought in Baltimore is, if Ingram goes down with injury, Dobbins will step in and take the job for the rest of the season. Dobbins would be a great use of a late round pick for a running back.

Wide Receivers - The Ravens have not had a solid fantasy starter at receiver since Mike Wallace in 2016. As I said earlier, they only passed the ball on 42.5% of their plays last year and there weren't many targets to go around. Between Robert Griffin III and Lamar Jackson, only 288 passes were completed last year. 183 of those passes went to wide receivers. For reference, Michael Thomas had 185 targets last year. I know he was insane, but that is still a crazy stat to think about.

The top wide receiver for the Ravens last year was rookie Marquise "Hollywood" Brown. Brown showed flashes of his potential last year, but that is about it. Hollywood Brown finished as the WR46 last year. He only caught 46 passes for 584 yards and 7 touchdowns. After his 30.7 point outburst in week 1, he only had over 10 points in 4 other games.

All receivers for the Ravens last year were players that should be on your bench for fantasy football. This year expect no different. I expect Lamar Jackson to pass more next year because in last year's playoffs, the Titans showed that the Ravens' run-heavy offense was stoppable. I expect those extra targets to go to guys like Miles Boykin and Devin Duvernay. Both of those receivers you can get for almost nothing and are being heavily slept on this year. Marquise Brown will remain a solid bench option for all fantasy teams who will book a couple of weeks in the year.

Tight Ends - In the 2018 NFL Draft, along with taking Lamar Jackson, the Ravens took 2 tight ends. In the first round, they took Hayden Hurst out of South Carolina and in the third round, they took Mark Andrews out of Oklahoma. Surprisingly, Mark Andrews was the one to emerge out of the two. Even though he technically doesn't start, Andrews has put up far better stats than Hurst over their two years in the league.

Last season, Andrews finished as the TE5. He caught 64 passes for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns. Andrews would've finished higher if he wasn't so inconsistent. He had 6 games where he finished with under 10 fantasy points. Andrews was very boom or bust last year. He either scored 9.5 or less fantasy points or over 13 fantasy points. There was no in between.

I expect Mark Andrews to be Baltimore's top target getter next year with Hayden Hurst being gone. Andrews is the most trustworthy receiver on this team for Lamar Jackson. The only thing preventing Andrews from becoming a top tight end are low snap counts. Andrews had extremely consistent targets last season as he had 6 or more targets in 11 games. Andrews is going around the fourth-fifth round and I think that is a good value to go get a solid tight end.

Fantasy Analysis:

Star: Lamar Jackson

Good Value: Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews

Bust: Mark Ingram

Deep Sleepers: Devin Duvernay, Miles Boykin, JK Dobbins

I hope you liked 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 3: Baltimore Ravens. 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 4: Buffalo Bills should come out tomorrow.

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