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. 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: 461, YD: 3456, TD: 29, INT: 10; RUSH -- ATT: 154, YD: 921, TD: 7|
|RB||J.K. Dobbins||CAR: 261, YD: 1295, TD: 9; TAR: 37, REC: 26, YD: 206, TD: 1|
|RB||Gus Edwards||CAR: 154, YD: 768, TD: 6; TAR: 14, REC: 9, YD: 67, TD: 0|
|WR||Marquise Brown||TAR: 97, REC: 63, YD: 799, TD: 7|
|WR||Rashod Bateman||TAR: 83, REC: 54, YD: 766, TD: 5|
|WR||Sammy Watkins||TAR: 65, REC: 40, YD: 480, TD: 3|
|TE||Mark Andrews||TAR: 106, REC: 70, YD: 874, 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
Edwards is just a backup, and even if he did become the starter, he wouldn't have a ton of upside given his lack of usage in the passing game. I get it, he's boring. But he's been incredibly efficient in Baltimore's offense and figures to have a consistent role even with Dobbins taking the lead. He's not a weekly starter for your Fantasy team, but he's going to get 7-10 carries most weeks and will score more touchdowns than those of you who draft Dobbins will want to see. As a bench RB in the middle rounds, Edwards is a solid value and a great player to have around for bye weeks and injuries.
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 think Dobbins has a very high floor in this offense, but I get the sense many view him as a high-ceiling back, and that's harder for me to see. The Ravens are going to run the ball a ton, but it'll be split at least three ways with Edwards and Jackson both getting their fair share. Historically, that hasn't left a ton of carries for the No. 1 RB. Since the start of 2019, Ravens running backs have had 15 carries in a game just 12 times. Dobbins' first came in Week 8, when his snap share spiked to 66%, representing the start of his run as the lead back for the Ravens, more or less. He had one other 15-carry game, and despite playing over 50% of the snaps in each of his final six games (including the playoffs) he averaged 11.6 carries per game. I'll take the over on that for 2021, but I would be pretty surprised if he averaged much more than 15 per game.
Maybe he'll rush for 6.0 yards per carry and a touchdown 14.9 carries like he did as a rookie, but smart money is on some regression there. And he won't have much of a role in the passing game with Jackson as his QB. There's a lot to like about Dobbins the player, but to draft him as a mid-to-high-end No. 2 running back, you have to assume historic efficiency. If he doesn't do that, you're likely to be disappointed.