Suspension and injury issues combined to keep Dixon off the field during the 2017 regular season, but the 2016 fourth-rounder is now past the meniscus tear that derailed his sophomore pro campaign. For now, Collins sits atop the team's projected running back depth chart, but at the very least, Dixon -- who impressed down the stretch as a rookie -- figures to push Allen for the No. 2 slot, as well potentially eat into Collins' workload as the 2018 campaign grinds along. Dixon thus profiles as a decent-late round fantasy dart who is largely flying under the radar these days based on his average draft position.
Dixon may push Javorius Allen for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart.
Allen is a strong pass blocker and a decent pass catcher with a track record of staying healthy, but his subpar career mark of 3.8 YPC might actually overstate his running ability. Dixon, on the other hand, averaged 4.3 yards on 88 carries as a rookie fourth-round pick in 2016, but he then missed all of last season with a torn meniscus, the second significant knee injury of his pro career. The two will now compete behind incumbent lead back Alex Collins, whose limitations in the passing game allowed Allen and Danny Woodhead (retired) to combine for 79 receptions last year. Dixon may be the only one of the bunch with three-down potential, but he's also the one without a well-defined strength, which could make him vulnerable if the Ravens become enamored with one of their undrafted rookies in the backfield. For what it's worth, Dixon has been healthy all offseason, and Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the third-year back looked good at OTAs.
Harbaugh indicated Dixon had to knock some rust off after an extended layoff from football, but that he's looked really good over the past week. Returning starter Alex Collins was mentioned in the same breath and figures to remain in the mix for the Ravens in 2018, suggesting the two may have separated themselves from the pack. As a rookie in 2016, Dixon averaged 4.3 yards per tote and caught 30 passes for 162 yards. Should he carve out an impactful role that includes consistent usage in the passing game, he may warrant fantasy consideration in some PPR formats.
Dixon was expected to challenge for the starting job in the backfield entering last season, but a four-game suspension followed by a season-ending meniscus tear ended his chances of seizing it. Alex Collins earned that title by averaging 4.6 yards per carry over 15 contests last season, falling just short of 1,000 rushing yards (973) for the campaign. While Collins enters 2018 in firm position to keep the starting gig, Dixon and Javorius Allen remain in the competition for carries and pass-catching opportunities as well. Dixon has proven particularly proficient in the latter of the two areas when healthy, hauling in 30 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown as a rookie.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh mentioned Dixon (knee), Alex Collins and Javorius Allen when discussing the team's backfield for 2018, Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun reports. "I think we have a whole good group of guys," Harbaugh said. "Obviously, we have a starter and Alex has proven that. He had a great year last year. He makes people miss. He breaks tackles, gets yards after contact. This is a player that makes stuff happen. He's exciting. I know our fans love him. And we're going to get Kenneth Dixon back. I think Buck Allen had his best year by far last year. He's kind of growing, coming into his own as a football player. Those are three really good backs."
A 2016 fourth-round pick, Dixon averaged 4.3 yards on 88 carries and caught 30 passes in 12 games as a rookie, setting himself up to compete for the starting job last season. He instead ended up with a six-game suspension and a torn meniscus, ultimately sitting out his entire sophomore campaign. Collins seized the opportunity to rumble for 973 yards and six touchdowns on 212 carries (4.6 average), positioning himself as a clear favorite to reprise the lead role in 2018. However, he doesn't offer much as a pass-catcher, and the Ravens released Danny Woodhead in March. Barring a backfield addition in the early rounds of the upcoming draft, Dixon and Allen figure to compete for a passing-down role, with the opportunity to also spell Collins on some early downs. Dixon is expected to be back at full strength for the offseason program, though the Ravens haven't explicitly confirmed that his rehab process is finished. LSU running back Derrius Guice -- a presumed first- or second-rounder -- was brought in Thursday for a predraft visit, but the Ravens still seem more likely to use their early picks on wide receivers, tight ends or offensive linemen.
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