2019 Fantasy Football Team Previews: Baltimore Ravens
The Joe Flacco Era ended in 2018, and the Lamar Jackson Era began. There’s no denying Jackson has the ability to to be game wrecker due to his unique athleticism. The looming question is whether or not he can evolve into a reliable passer in the NFL. I for one am sick of hearing this. The same thing was said about Randall Cunningham, Mike Vick and a host of others with similar gifts. Holding Jackson to a higher standard than any other young QB just because he’s more mobile than most isn’t fair. Josh Allen has nearly the same trajectory and he doesn’t seem to get nearly the shade Jackson does. They’re closer than you think. The AFC North has gone through a huge makeover in the last 12 months and the Ravens are looking to take their new identity into another playoff run. Our concern is what they can offer us as fantasy owners.
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2019 Baltimore Ravens Fantasy Preview
KEY LOSSES: C.J. Mosley ILB, Za’Darius Smith OLB, Eric Weddle FS, Terrell Suggs OLB
Impact: Oof. Losing a linebacker of C.J. Mosley’s caliber in the prime of his career is not a good look. Then you lose Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle, and Za’Darius Smith too! Yikes! You can argue Suggs and Weddle are heading into the final stages of their careers and that’s valid. The Patriots have made it a point to never pay players for their resume’, but instead for their future potential and it’s worked out for them the last 20 years. However, in the short term, the Ravens lost a ton of veteran leadership, defensive acumen and flat out talent on that side of the ball in one off-season.
KEY ADDITIONS: Earl Thomas FS, Mark Ingram RB
Impact: The Ravens have been a carousel at the running back position for years now, and despite the arrival of Mark Ingram they could still be that in 2019. One would hope that Ingram was told he’d be the lead back and the Ravens haven’t had a talent like Ingram in that rotation over the last few years. I’m cautiously optimistic Ingram will be the lead back with goal-line appeal in a run-heavy attack. Earl Thomas was a great addition, but this defense may not be quite as dominant as last year. At least not right away.
Impact: Just when you thought the Ravens couldn’t get any faster, they drafted Marquise Brown. Now, Brown is on the smaller side, but he’s an explosive player and the thought of him being paired with Lamar Jackson should keep defenses up at night (especially if Jackson can make progress in the pocket). Miles Boykin fits the role of a larger target receiver to compliment Brown. The Ravens have a unique opportunity for these receivers to grow along with their young QB. Jaylon Ferguson is a sack machine and the Ravens hope he’ll fill the void left by Terrell Suggs’ departure. Justice Hill marks yet another burner on this roster and adds a different dimension to the power running game they’ll likely lead with in 2019.
OFFENSIVE OUTLOOK: The Ravens are built on speed and have the potential to wear out opposing defenses. John Harbaugh will put Lamar Jackson in a position to be successful and all his new toys will go a long way towards building his confidence. Jackson is still a QB2, but in DFS he will have some very profitable weeks. Gus Edwards is still there, but Mark Ingram should still see the lion’s share of the touches. Marquise Brown is coming of lisfranc surgery but appears to be on target. Willie Snead and Chris Moore will start the year as the primary targets regardless. The Ravens offense is a better dynasty investment than a redraft one at this time, but there’s a good chance as the season unfolds that they start to show glimpses in 2019. For now, it’s more about exploiting matchups with them against older, slower defenses.
DEFENSIVE OUTLOOK: Jaylon Ferguson will be an immediate IDP asset with his sack upside, but this unit as a collective has to prove that they’re as good as the #1 unit from last season. The Ravens led the league in YPG, and were top 5 against the run and pass. They’re still a strong fantasy investment, but it would be advantageous to think they’re the best in the league after so much turnover.
2019 OUTLOOK: The future is bright! The immediate future is gray. There will be peaks and valleys with this offense and it will likely frustrate fantasy owners on a weekly basis. Best Ball and DFS are better formats for Ravens ownership than your typical season-long weekly league. Still, they’ll be fun to watch as they evolve into potentially the fastest team on the planet.
Joe’s making his way through all 32 teams. Check out all of his Fantasy Previews.
Joe Pisapia is the author of the #1 best-selling Fantasy Black Book Series and creator of the revolutionary player evaluation tool Relative Position Value (RPV). He’s the host of The Fantasy Black Book Podcast and the LineStar DFS Podcasts. Joe was previously host of the FSTA award-winning On Target Fantasy (2016 Radio Show of the Year), The Fantasy Black Book Show, RotoExperts in the Morning and NFL Game Day for the FNTSY Fantasy Sports Radio Network, as well as RotoWire MLB/NFL DFS Podcasts, and numerous shows for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. You can also see him frequently on CBS TV in New York on The Sports Desk. He’s written for The Sporting News, FanDuel Insider and FantasyAlarm.
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