2019 Stats (Rank)
Total Offense: 6,521 (3rd)
Offensive Touchdowns: 58 (1st)
Offensive Plays: 1,064 (7th)
Pass Attempts + Sacks: 468 (32nd)
Rush Attempts: 596 (1st)
Unaccounted for Targets: 74 (21st)
Unaccounted for Carries: 0 (32nd)
A career-best 14-win season vaulted coach John Harbaugh from No. 8 to No. 4 in RotoPat’s annual head coach rankings this offseason. Harbaugh’s 2012 Super Bowl victory with Joe Flacco will always be his biggest accomplishment, but 2019’s offensive overhaul is arguably not too far behind. Masterfully smart, yet aware of his few weaknesses, Harbaugh embraced analytics more than any coach in the NFL last season. The Ravens led in fourth down aggressiveness and let MVP Lamar Jackson pick his spots downfield as a passer (36 passing touchdowns) and off-tackle as the league’s biggest rushing cheat code (6.9 YPC). Regression is coming -- the Ravens were trailing on only 19% of their offensive plays last year, by far the best in the NFL -- but it’s hard to bet against this young offensive juggernaut being at least a top-eight offense with Harbaugh as the brains behind the operation. I expect creative offensive coordinator Greg Roman to get head coaching offers next offseason, too.
QB: Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin
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Lamar Jackson was (somehow) overlooked in the 2018 NFL Draft despite averaging 28.5 passing touchdowns and 19.5 rushing touchdowns over his final two collegiate seasons. It took approximately one game of his second NFL season for @OldTakesExposed to have enough content for a lifetime. Even his biggest haters weren’t surprised to see how athletic he looked against NFL defenses, but few could expect the passing avalanche that ensued last season. Jackson not only led the NFL in passing touchdowns (36), but he did so on the fewest team dropbacks (468), not to mention Baltimore’s below-average receiver depth chart.
The primary question for Jackson’s 2020 fantasy outlook is how much will he regress? No quarterback posts 9.0% passing touchdown rates in back-to-back seasons, but I’d argue we should still expect Jackson to be inside the top-eight in passing touchdowns. The main reason for that is more volume. It’s doubtful that the Ravens will have a lead on 73% of their offensive plays in the second half like they did last season, so Jackson should go from 401 pass attempts to the 430-470 attempt range. The other reason I remain relatively bullish on Jackson as a passer is the fact that Lamar’s expected passing touchdown rate was the second highest in the NFL last season at 6.2%. The Ravens run-first offense sets him up for more one-on-one coverages, more deep shots, and keeps Lamar closer to the end zone than your typical drop-back passer. For these reasons, I actually don’t mind taking the over on 26.5 passing touchdowns for Jackson this season. We’ll get to his rushing ability later.
Marquise Brown flashed glimpses of what he was accomplishing at Oklahoma (18.3 YPR), but due to last year’s nagging Lisfranc injury, his rookie season was more-or-less just a preview of what’s likely to come. Brown only played three games with a 75% plus snap share and only had four games of at least 80 yards, including his 7-126-0 receiving line against Tennessee in the playoffs. He had the screw removed from his foot in February and has reportedly had a “great offseason physically” since, so Brown should play more snaps and be more explosive in year two. In this highly efficient offense and with his first-round draft profile, Brown should pay off his borderline WR3/4 price tag with just 90-110 targets. His ceiling is higher in non- and half-PPR formats, however.
The Ravens receiver depth chart behind Brown is arguably the worst in the NFL. The default No. 2 outside receiver is Miles Boykin, an older 2019 third-rounder out of Notre Dame who played more games (16) than he had catches (13) during last year’s rookie season. Willie Snead, who miraculously only averaged 5.9 PPR points per game last season even though his quarterback led the NFL in passing touchdowns, will be attempting to hold off explosive third-round rookie Devin Duvernay (4.39 speed) from taking his starting job in the slot. All of them will need Brown or TE Mark Andrews to miss games to be on the fantasy radar, and even then they aren’t likely to see more than a handful of targets per game. It’s Marquise Brown or bust at receiver in Baltimore.
The Hayden Hurst trade opens up 39 targets and 219 routes run for Mark Andrews. Because he racked up 852 yards and 10 touchdowns across 15 games, Andrews’ various injuries from last year largely went unnoticed even though he only ran a route on 61% of Baltimore’s dropbacks. With Hurst gone and Andrews having a healthy offseason, the ceiling for the third-year pro is the roof as Michael Jordan would say. Andrews could break the 100-target and 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his young career with the Ravens projected to pass more. He deserves to be the TE3 overall in all redraft formats. Andrews has the 13th most receiving yards through his first two NFL seasons among all tight ends in NFL history.
Lamar Jackson set the new rushing record for quarterbacks (1,206 yards) last year. Of course, the injury risk is heightened because of his rushing volume (176 carries), but it also provides him with one of the highest ceilings and floors in fantasy football on a per-game basis. Largely because he rushed for 40+ yards in 14-of-15 games, Lamar had more games with 30+ DraftKings fantasy points (8) than he had below that mark (7) and only had one game with fewer than 20 fantasy points. Waiting on a quarterback is typically the best fantasy strategy, but Jackson is a reasonable pick late in the third round of drafts. Five of the six Rotoworld rankers have Lamar as the QB1, me being the lone outsider to rank him as the QB2 behind Patrick Mahomes. I have only been drafting Lamar and Mahomes if I have already drafted one of their teammates -- Kelce, Tyreek, Edwards-Helaire, or Andrews.
Mark Ingram was the RB12 on a per-game basis (16.2 FP/G) last season. It’s easy for a back like Ingram to run hot with Lamar stressing out linebackers, so we should expect Ingram to average 4.5 to 5.5 yards per carry once again (5.0 YPC last year). The debate, however, lies with his projected volume. Ingram is now 31 years old and the Ravens brought in a very talented runner this past draft. With more competition at running back and offensive regression coming, it’s unlikely that Ingram sees 202 carries once again and his forgettable receiving production (26 receptions) isn’t enough to make up for lost rushing volume. Ingram should be treated as a flex option to begin the season, and there’s a chance he loses his starting job in the second half of the year.
J.K. Dobbins was a 95th percentile RB prospect per my NFL Draft model. He played at a dominant college, caught at least 20 passes each season, ran for 2,001 yards as a junior, and then declared early. Dobbins also has experience playing alongside a dual-threat quarterback, so the fit within the Ravens Offense seems close to perfect. The rookie is a candidate to be top-five in all efficiency categories in 2020, but will he see enough volume to be a factor in fantasy? With Ingram being a semi-high bar to clear in a pandemic-driven offseason, I anticipate Dobbins to begin the year only inheriting a chunk of the 11.9 carries and 1.0 receptions per game Gus Edwards and Justice Hill combined for last season. He will have to eat into Ingram’s job from there. That likely means Dobbins is only a player to stash on the bench to begin the season, but there’s obvious fantasy RB1/2 upside in the second half of 2020. Dobbins is a boom-bust pick in the middle rounds of redraft leagues and is obviously a great asset to have for dynasty. Dobbins, in my opinion, is simply a better player than Ingram.
Regression is already baked into the Ravens’ 11.0 win total, as they are projected to win three fewer games in 2020. If Lamar Jackson, Marquise Brown, and Mark Andrews stay mostly healthy, I really like the over. The Ravens didn’t have a second-half lead on 73% of their offensive snaps by accident last year. Their roster on both sides of the ball is loaded, plus they’ve incorporated fourth-down analytics better than anyone. If that wasn’t enough, the Ravens were gifted the fourth-easiest schedule according to average opponent win totals. The reigning MVP, a Super Bowl winning coach, and a cupcake schedule is enough for me to bet on an 11- to 13-win season. In fact, I think they are the second-best team in the league, only trailing the Chiefs.