NFL Preview Baltimore Ravens
DFS managers, be prepared for some Fantasy Football for Cash. In the next few weeks, we are going to do a preview of every football team in preparation for the NFL 2015 season. It’s time to talk about the Baltimore Ravens who made it all the way to the divisional playoffs but lost against eventual Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots.
John Harbaugh will be in his 8th season as the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. He brought his team to 6 post-season appearances in the last 7 years and won the Super Bowl in 2012. The Ravens finished the 2014 season in 3rd position in the AFC North, but they grabbed the final wild card spot. With a couple of key players leaving, the Ravens will try to stay above the .500 line, like they did in the past 7 seasons.
Cash Draft Offensive analysis
QB Joe Flacco started his NFL career in 2008, the same time John Harbaugh got hired as coach. 7 years under the tutelage of Harbaugh and he became the Ravens all-time leader in wins, passing touchdowns, pass completion and passing yards. He has never thrown more than 4000 yards in a season, but he came that close last year with 3986 passing yards. He had career-highs in touchdowns, with 27, and his lowest sack total, with 19, during the 2014 season. It’s the first season he got under 30 sacks. And if you were wondering; yes, his entire offensive line stayed intact during the offseason. Flacco has started in all 112 NFL games he ever played.
After the saga that was the Ray Rice elevator scandal, RB Justin Forsett rose to the occasion, taking his place as the starter and ran all the way with it. He has reached the 1000 rushing yard mark for the first time last year. The smallish running back has collected career-high with 1529 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2014. The biggest question mark is his durability, he’s not built like a workhorse running back and he relies purely on his quickness. His carries will likely be reduced from last year, but he will be Fantasy gold when the team needs him (probably against Cleveland on Week 5).
WR Breshad Perriman will be the new deep threat target, now that WR Torrey Smith moved to San Francisco. Weighing in at 6-foot-2, 212 pounds and showing a lot of speed at the UCF’s pro day, he ran under 4.3 seconds twice for the 40 yards dash. He’s the kind of player that is going to fit in nicely in the Ravens offense. The 26th overall pick in last year’s draft collected 1044 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns in the NCAA 2014 season.
36 years-old WR Steve Smith will play in the NFL for the last time, confirming that he will retire at the end of the season. He performed well last year, in his first season with the Ravens. The small receiver caught for 1065 yards and 6 touchdowns last year. I expect him to give it his all, as it’s his last chance to win the Super Bowl.
TE Maxx Williams and Crockett Gillmore will battle it out at training camp for the starting position, while the number 1, Dennis Pitta recovers from a right hip dislocation. Williams comes in the Ravens best offensive Fantasy Pick, after two stellar season with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. He collected a total of 986 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. His speed and athletic ability makes him an attractive commodity. Gillmore fared well at college level too and caught for 121 yards and a touchdowns last year, as the third string Ravens tight end. He lack the speed that Williams possess though. It has been reported that Pitta, who has developed a great chemistry with Flacco over the years, will probably return midseason, but this injury has been really severe and it could affect his play ability on the field.
Cash Draft Defensive analysis:
The Ravens had the best sack combo in the league with OLB Elvis Dumervil and OLB Terrell Suggs. They’ve assembled a total of 29 sacks together, in 2014. Baltimore were the 4th best team against the run allowing 1412 yards all last year. DE Timmy Jernigan, who had a tremendous rookie season, will fill the void at left side of the o-line, after the Ravens traded away DT Haloti Ngata. This defensive squad still looks pretty good for new Fantasy Football season.
Fantasy Football Outlook
It’s a coin toss between the Ravens and Bengals for the top spot of the AFC North this year, and we don’t count out the Steelers. With a great coaching staff and a mix of veterans and rookies, Baltimore are bound for a great season all-around.