NFL Soup|Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baltimore Ravens 2013 Fantasy Team Outlook 

The Baltimore Ravens were Super Bowl champions a year ago, but a home for fantasy superstars, they were not. Ray Rice naturally was a top-end running back, like he always is, while tight end Dennis Pitta was inconsistently a solid option, but the Ravens otherwise left a lot to be desired in the fantasy world.

That could change a bit in 2013, however. Anquan Boldin is gone via trade, which means new #1 receiver Torrey Smith could turn into a high-end WR2 or borderline WR1 fantasy option. Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron being gone for an entire off-season could help Joe Flacco turn last year’s playoff run into a 16-game party, too.

Maybe. Of course, this will also have to be done without Pitta (hip) and a bunch of new wide receivers who don’t appear to be too reliable. With that said, let’s take a look at the Ravens and see who might be worth drafting as we continue to prepare for the 2013 fantasy football season:

Joe Flacco (QB)

I know Flacco looked great in the playoffs last year, but he’s never topped 3,900 passing yards or 25 touchdowns in a single season. With two major weapons taken from his passing game, how can we possibly expect him to be an elite option all of a sudden in 2013? More importantly, how can we not expect him to struggle? Look at Flacco as a high-end QB2 at best this year.

Ray Rice (RB)

Rice got paid last year and is here to be a feature back and put up big numbers, not to lose serious work to his backup. Rice is still the early down, third down and goal-line back, and will only come off the field when he’s tired or for a change of pace. He’s still a top-10 running back and should be drafted in the first round.

Bernard Pierce (RB)

Most of Pierce’s value comes as a handcuff. He’s not as explosive or as versatile as Rice, so it’s foolish to think he’s going to suddenly see this major cut into Rice’s regular season workload. You probably should grab him if you draft Rice, but he’s otherwise simply a late-round flier to stash on your bench.

Torrey Smith (WR)

Smith has been putting up borderline WR2 production the past two seasons as a pure deep threat. That’s all changing in 2013, and by role and talent alone, he’ll now be a completely locked-in WR2. As a true #1 receiver, if things go well, he may even have WR1 upside. He’s a great value right now in drafts.

Jacoby Jones (WR)

Jones is a very explosive weapon, but he’s never been a consistent wide receiver and I’m not sure how we can suddenly expect him to be one now. I like him in the return game and as a situational play-maker, but I can’t rely on him as a true #2 receiver. I doubt he even fulfills WR3 value this season.

Tandon Doss (WR)

Doss is athletic and has the talent to turn into a play-maker, but he has a ways to go before he can be relied upon. There hasn’t been enough this preseason to even warrant a late-round flier – especially with other bodes crowding the third and fourth receiver spot in Baltimore. He might be worth keeping an eye on, though.

Marlon Brown (WR)

Brown is a big receiver with some nice upside, and he’s now just coming into the spotlight after a nice preseason. With that said, people are only paying attention to him because Baltimore’s #3 spot at wide receiver is wide open. Brown might be worth monitoring, but in a pretty run-heavy offense, his 2013 value isn’t looking great.

Brandon Stokley (WR)

Stokley is 37 years old but appears to still “have it”. He’ll be a part of the Ravens’ rotation at the third receiver spot, but you won’t be able to count on him for consistent production.

Aaron Mellette (WR)

Mellette is an interesting rookie prospect who has had a solid camp and preseason, but has a lot of bodies in his way right now. He’s a high upside guy, but at the moment doesn’t have any real value. He may need an injury or two to really get a legit chance to prove his worth in 2013.

Ed Dickson (TE)

Dickson is pretty athletic and is talented enough once the ball is in his hands. Unfortunately, he struggles with drops. He’s got some upside if he’s the flat-out number one tight end in the offense, but he may be fighting for targets with Dallas Clark. He’s a TE2 to watch.

Dallas Clark (TE)

Clark is aging, but he still showed signs of life last year in Tampa Bay, and looks like he can help out again here in Baltimore. His career is winding down, but it’s not crazy to think he can end up being the #1 fantasy tight end on the Ravens this year. Then again, that isn’t saying a lot.

Justin Tucker (K)

Baltimore was already a solid offense that tended to stall inside the 40, so Tucker was not so surprisingly an elite fantasy kicker as a rookie. He’s accurate with a strong leg, so with the offense possibly struggling even more within striking distance, his stock appears to be on the rise. He’s a top-five kicker for 2013.

Baltimore Ravens (DEF/ST)

A lot of people are still calling the Ravens a top-10 fantasy team defense, but I struggle to see it. I know the coaching is still there and the Ravens signed some cheap free agents with upside like Evlis Dumervil, Michael Huff and Daryl Smith, but the losses could be too much to handle. After all, Baltimore said good-bye to Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe. They drafted well and still should be fairly tough in any given week, but they’re not the elite unit they once were. You may be playing with fire if you bank on them to handle your DEF1 spot effortlessly.

About the author: Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts owns and operates NFL Soup and heads the fantasy football division of the site. In 2012, Roberts finished 16th overall in Fantasy Pros expert fantasy football rankings. In addition to running the fantasy football section of the site, Roberts contributes to NFL Soup’s NFL Draft coverage and breaking news reporting. Follow Kevin on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin

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