The Ravens offense regressed as expected in 2020, tumbling all the way to ... seventh in scoring. It may not look like what anyone else is doing, but the Lamar Jackson-led rushing attack can hang with anyone, even with J.K. Dobbins lost for the season due to an ACL injury. Just imagine how good this offense could be if the passing game clicks.
Record: 11-5 (7)
PPG: 29.3 (7)
YPG: 363.1 (19)
Pass YPG: 171.2 (32)
Rush YPG: 191.9 (1)
PAPG: 25.4 (32)
RAPG: 34.7 (1)
2020 Fantasy finishes
Number to know: 422.9
The Ravens have averaged 422.9 pass attempts over the past two seasons, more than 40 fewer than the Titans, who have the second fewer pass attempts. That actually fell to 406 last season, and there are reasons to believe that will rise, mostly because there are reasons to believe the passing game as a whole will be more effective. That was the trend early last season until the Ravens doubled down on the running game down the stretch in a series of easy wins. This will never be a high-volume passing game, but with the additions the Ravens have made to the WR room, expect them to hit the over on both last year's number and their average over the past two.
1. (27) Rashod Bateman, WR
1. (31) Odafe Oweh, DE
3. (94) Ben Cleveland, OL
3. (104) Brandon Stephens, CB
4. (131) Tylan Wallace, WR
5. (160) Shaun Wade, CB
5. (171) Daelin Hayes, DL
5. (184) Ben Mason, FB
72 carries, 8 RB targets, 59 WR targets, 3 TE targets
Rankings and projections
Chris Towers' projections
|QB||Lamar Jackson||PA: 460, YD: 3454, TD: 29, INT: 10; RUSH -- ATT: 154, YD: 922, TD: 7|
|RB||Gus Edwards||CAR: 239, YD: 1100, TD: 9; TAR: 23, REC: 15, YD: 112, TD: 1|
|RB||Justice Hill||CAR: 85, YD: 427, TD: 4; TAR: 28, REC: 21, YD: 156, TD: 1|
|WR||Marquise Brown||TAR: 88, REC: 57, YD: 729, TD: 7|
|WR||Sammy Watkins||TAR: 63, REC: 37, YD: 528, TD: 3|
|WR||Rashod Bateman||TAR: 63, REC: 42, YD: 416, TD: 3|
|TE||Mark Andrews||TAR: 103, REC: 68, YD: 848, TD: 8|
Will the additions to the passing game help Lamar Jackson make a leap?
The narrative around Jackson, that he needs to take a significant step forward as a passer, is overblown. He has established himself as a very, very good NFL quarterback, and he's done it with some pretty middling receiving help. However, there have been times when the Ravens needed to chase points and couldn't quite do it through the passing game. The Ravens could really use a true No. 1 who can win consistently when they need to move the ball, and the hope is Rashod Bateman can fill that role. Sammy Watkins also provides a bigger body who can still stretch the field. Is this the best receiving corps in the NFL? No, but it's the most talented one Jackson has played with, which should help him find more consistency as a passer. But as long as he's still running for 1,000 yards, any improvement from the passing game is a bonus.
One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
Williams has garnered plenty of praise in Ravens camp, and his style seems like it should fit in very well in Baltimore -- he's a big, one-cut runner who gets downhill quickly, like Edwards. Playing in an offense where defenses have to account for Jackson's elite rushing ability, that should help Williams chew up chunks of yardage. There's no guarantee he gets the same role Edwards has held in recent years -- right around 140 carries each of the last three -- but if he does, he'll be an interesting backup to have on your bench. Justice Hill also has some sleeper potential because his speed brings a different dimension to the Ravens offense than either Edwards or Williams has. But he's struggled with injuries and probably isn't worth drafting in most Fantasy leagues. Williams is worth a late-round pick, but keep an eye out for Hill to see if he can carve out a role early in the season.
How can Brown be a breakout candidate when he has more competition for targets than ever? Well, for one thing, I think the Ravens are going to throw more this season. And for another, I think he was probably a lot better than you remember last season. Brown was awful for the first 11 weeks, to be clear -- four games with fewer than 20 yards, only 43.1 per game overall. However, over his final eight, including the playoffs, Brown had 534 yards and six touchdowns on 37 catches, as those deep targets he was earning all season long finally started to connect. Freed from having to be the focus of defensive attention on the outside, Brown should be even more efficient in 2021, and while I think he'll be a frustrating weekly starter, a career-best year wouldn't be out of the question.
I originally had Dobbins here, because the lead back role for the Ravens just isn't as valuable as people seem to think. Yes, Baltimore will run the ball a ton, and very efficiently, but there's a very narrow path to really high-end production in an offense where you are sharing goal-line touches with the quarterback and won't be catching many passes -- especially if the Ravens continue to use a committee approach, as they have long preferred. Edwards is fine as an RB3, because he'll have a pretty high weekly floor and the potential for multiple touchdowns regularly if the offense is clicking. But, because he doesn't catch passes -- 18 over 43 games -- Edwards will be very touchdown-dependent. I have ranked as RB26, and if he ends up in that range, he'll be a fine pick. But if people start pushing him into the top 20, it'll be easy to fade him. You'd be drafting Edwards at or near his ceiling. If you want a piece of this running game, either take Lamar Jackson or wait for Williams or Hill.