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32 in 32: Baltimore Ravens

In our “32 in 32” series, we are highlighting three of the most notable fantasy football players for each team, covering all 32 teams in 32 days!


Lamar Jackson (QB – Baltimore Ravens):


After an incredible start to his career as the QB8 in his games started as a rookie and then following up with the greatest fantasy season by a QB ever, Lamar Jackson has seen a steady decline in his fantasy production each of the last three years, both in terms of overall and per-game numbers. While he has seen that decline, a large reason has been to “health” (and I emphasize the quotation marks given his contract situation relative to his injuries). Each of the last two seasons, he played 12 games, exiting early on in a game and not returning the rest of the season, which played a role in heavily skewing his per-game averages. This season in particular, that one game (where he left in the opening quarter) dropped his per-game average by 8.5%. It’s unclear whether or not Jackson’s pending free agency was a factor in him not returning in 2022 (and we’ll never get a true answer on that), but he has established that, if he can remain on the field, he is an elite and consistent fantasy QB. Before his injury in Week 13 last season, Jackson was the QB5 in fantasy, but the question is now raised of what the Ravens’ new pass-oriented scheme will do to Lamar. He has a plethora of weapons (Andrews, Flowers, Beckham, Bateman) compared to what he had in 2022 and will do “less running and more throwing” – a combination that gives him the potential to return to his MVP-caliber production (when he led the league in passing TDs), but also a change that takes away the primary source of his weekly security (rushing). It’ll ultimately come down to what price it will take to get Jackson on draft day for whether or not he’ll be a good investment in 2023. Right now he is projected to be the QB4/5 taken off the board, which is appropriate, but the bigger question will come down to whether that is a 4th round price tag or in the 6th. If it’s the latter, I will be targeting Jackson as a value QB in all my leagues, but if it favors the earlier pick, I will likely be avoiding Jackson.

 

J.K. Dobbins (RB – Baltimore Ravens):


There may not be a player with worse luck than J.K. Dobbins over the last two seasons. After a red-hot end to his rookie season with a TD and 13+ points in each of his final six games in 2020, Dobbins entered 2021 with very high expectations from fantasy owners. That was, until he suffered a gruesome knee injury in the final game of the preseason, tearing his ACL, LCL, and meniscus – an injury that forced him to miss the entire 2021 season, the first 2 weeks of 2022, and was re-aggravated in Week 6, forcing him to miss another 6 games. Once Dobbins returned to full health, we saw the flashes he showed as a rookie, posting multiple 14+ point performances and an incredible 7.0 YPC over the final four games of 2022. Heading into 2023, he is now a year excluded from his ACL tear (where RBs typically rebound) and will get a healthy Lamar Jackson back in a greatly improved offense, which should stimulate redzone opportunities that were a huge source of his production as a rookie and that were the only reason he wasn’t a top-5 RB at the end of 2022 (with Tyler Huntley at QB). The injury risk is certainly there, after several major injuries in 2021 and reaggravation mid-season last year, but the upside is off the charts for Dobbins. If it weren’t for his current draft price (5th round; RB18 on ADP, RB20 on ECR), I would be hesitant but at that price, I am beyond comfortable targeting Dobbins as a low-end RB2 or an elite RB3/FLEX option with the very realistic upside of a potential top-10 finish.

 

Mark Andrews (TE – Baltimore Ravens):


Andrews ended Travis Kelce’s historic run atop the TE position in scoring in 2021, finishing as the top TE in fantasy, and it looked very early on in 2022 that he was going to replicate his previous season’s production. To open up the season, Andrews posted double-digit performances in 5 of his first 6 games, including four 22+ point outings. However, that was the height of his 2022 season as it went downhill in the final two-thirds of the year. Between mid-season injuries (knee, shoulder) and Lamar Jackson going down to injury shortly after, Andrews was never able to fully recover to his elite-TE1 self, posting double-digit points in just three of his final 9 games. Even with the adversity of poor QB play and missing some time, Andrews ended the year as the TE4 in points (behind Kelce, Hockenson, and Kittle) and finished as the TE3 in PPG. Fast forward to 2023 and it’s a wildly different situation for Andrews – Lamar Jackson is back at QB, a new pass-oriented offense is in place, and a variety of new receiving weapons (Flowers, Beckham, Bateman) are added this season. It’s a scenario that leaves plenty of potential but also plenty of additional question marks. I definitively have Andrews as the TE2 off the board, as all expect him to be, but the gap between him and Kelce (TE1) is far greater than between Andrews and a player like Kittle or Hockenson. I don’t envision myself investing the likely 3rd round price tag it’ll cost to get Andrews this year – I’m either paying the 1st round premium for Kelce or I’m waiting a bit longer for a player like Kittle, Hockenson, Goedert, or a value TE option in the mid-rounds of drafts.

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