The Baltimore Ravens have been the standard of mediocrity in recent years but look to get back to their winning ways in 2017. Unfortunately, the Ravens have already been snake bitten by injuries as Joe Flacco is suffering from back troubles and Tavon Young / Kenneth Dixon are out for the year. The Ravens made the playoffs the first five years of the Joe Flacco – John Harbaugh tenure but haven’t replicated that success lately. After a strong offseason, can the Ravens return to the postseason in 2017?
3 Position Battles To Watch:
- Running Back: Terrance West, Buck Allen, Danny Woodhead, Bobby Rainey
This might be the worst running back group in the entire league. No seriously, Cincinnati might have three guys that would start here. Better yet, New England might have 7 better backs than this group. Woodhead was brought over in the offseason but is more of a 3rd down back. With Kenneth Dixon out for the year, the running back group is a major concern. The fantasy outlook here is bleak, to say the least.
2. Tight End: Crockett Gillmore, Ben Watson, Darren Waller, Maxx Williams, Ryan Malleck, Nick Boyle
Yeah, there are too many bodies here. I expect the Ravens would probably keep 4 guys max here. Technically five to start the season considering Darren Waller is suspended to start the season. The same can be said of Nick Boyle of last year who missed signing time after a solid rookie year. The stable Dennis Pitta is also retired leaving a big void here.
3. Middle Linebacker: Albert McClellan, Kamalei Correa
C.J. Mosely wraps up one inside linebacker job leaving the other wide open. Zach Orr should have been that guy but suddenly retired and now plans to make a comeback sitting out in free agency. Albert McClellan played really well at this spot a year ago after mainly playing on special teams for the majority of his career. It’s likely his job to win as Correa looks like a bust as I angrily predicted a year ago.
Ready To Breakout: Ronnie Stanley
After a rough start, Stanley has the looks of a future pro bowler. Stanley had an incredible second half of the season and could turn into a top 5 left tackle in the NFL. Maybe a franchise left tackle was the thing holding the Ravens back in recent years. Just ask them how important Jonathan Ogden was all those years.
Rookie To Watch: Tyus Bowser
This Ravens pass rush could be fun to watch. Terrell Suggs will do his thing on one side but there is a serious youth movement going on in Baltimore. Tyus Bowser is an uber athletic pass rusher who can play multiple spots and move well in space. A 10 sack rookie season isn’t out of the question. Bowser was high on my draft board this year. Don’t forget about Tim Williams and Za’Darius Smith. Make the Ravens defense fun again.
Fantasy Sleeper: Jeremy Maclin
What if Maclin is the deep threat Joe Flacco needs. Mike Wallace is okay but is far from his prime. Maclin could recreate the magic Torrey Smith left when the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2012. Either way, one of these wide outs has to catch the ball right? Joe Flacco does have one of the biggest arms in the league and Maclin can go get it.