Javorius Allen aims to lock up a roster spot along the running back depth chart in Baltimore this summer. Did you know he finished second on the team in rushes, rush yards and total yards from scrimmage while also finishing tied for first in total touchdowns? That's crazy! Allen has never rushed for more than 3.9 yards per carry in a season and sports a disappointing 6.6 yard per catch average in his career. Yet he's still a valued contributor in Baltimore. Not many Fantasy owners will be delighted to draft Allen, but in the deepest of leagues he could prove to be a serviceable option. It all depends on how the other Ravens running backs fare in training camp.
Allen gained three yards on one carry and 11 yards on two receptions in Thursday's preseason game against the Rams. Alex Collins got the start and took two carries for 26 yards, while Kenneth Dixon (undisclosed) was held out for a second straight week. There was some thought Dixon would challenge for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart and regular snaps on passing downs, but his inability to stay healthy may leave Allen without any serious competition for the job. The 26-year-old filled a similar role for most of 2015 and 2017, averaging 854 scrimmage yards, 45.5 catches and 4.5 touchdowns between the two seasons.
Allen isn't in uniform for Thursday's Hall of Fame Game against the Bears, freelance NFL writer Jeff Zrebiec reports. Lead runner Alex Collins and Kenneth Dixon (hamstring) also are sitting out, leaving the backfield to UDFAs Gus Edwards, Mark Thompson and De'Lance Turner. Once the first-team offense gets extended run during the preseason, expect Allen to work behind Collins while Dixon continues to recover from a hamstring injury.
Allen slots in as the Ravens' No. 2 running back behind Alex Collins, Sarah Ellison of the team's official site reports. While Collins' perch atop the team's projected depth chart appears solid, Allen could face a challenge for the No. 2 slot, with 2016 fourth-rounder Kenneth Dixon now healthy and poised to rejoin the Baltimore backfield. Allen's pass-catching ability increases his profile in PPR formats, but with Dixon back in the mix, Allen's path to added carries in the event of an injury to Collins is less clear. As a result, Allen's standing as the Ravens' perceived No. 2 back is deceptive, a notion supported by his average draft position, which is currently lower than Dixon's.
Allen needs to fend off competition from Kenneth Dixon, according to the Ravens' official site. Reliable on passing downs but subpar as a runner, Allen is essentially the opposite of incumbent lead back Alex Collins. The wild card in the equation is Dixon, a 2016 fourth-round pick who came on strong in the second half of his rookie season but then missed all of 2017 with a torn meniscus, the second significant knee injury of his young career. Allen and Dixon will compete for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart, though the latter could spell Collins on early downs while the former has a regular role on passing downs. There's also a decent chance the Ravens end up keeping an undrafted rookie in the backfield, as they don't have veterans or draft picks beyond the aforementioned trio.
Allen finished the season with 153 carries for 591 yards and four touchdowns to go with 46 catches for 250 yards on 60 targets. Considering that Allen was a healthy scratch for the final five games of the 2016 season, 2017 was a resurgent year for the USC product. It took developments like injuries to Kenneth Dixon, Danny Woodhead and Terrance West for Allen to get his shot again, but he performed ably when called upon. Alex Collins clearly took over the No. 1 role and eventually started seeing some passing-down snaps, but Allen still had a prominent role -- especially in the first half of the season. Looking ahead to 2018, it's difficult to bet on so many things falling in Allen's favor again. Dixon is primed to return, Collins has the starting role all but locked up, and Woodhead remains under contract. The 2018 season will be Allen's contract year, but it's difficult to imagine him seeing the same role he did in 2017.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|7||10/21||New Orleans Saints||12||17.22|
|14||12/09||@Kansas City Chiefs||20||17.76|
|15||12/16||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||29||19.13|
|16||12/23||@Los Angeles Chargers||23||18.38|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||100||380||2||31||206||1||74|