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John Harbaugh returns for his 12th season as head coach for the Baltimore Ravens. He has a 118-74 record with eight playoff berths and one Super Bowl title. The Ravens improved in each of the previous four years while setting a career-high in wins (14) in 2019. Harbaugh has one losing season in his career (5-11 in 2015).
Last year Baltimore moved to second yards gained and first in points scored (531). They scored 142 more points than in 2018 (389). Before Lamar Jackson took over at quarterback, the Ravens went 20 seasons without a top ten offense.
Greg Roman returns for his second year as the offensive coordinator after spending the last two seasons as the offensive assistant and assistant head coach for the Ravens. He led the offense of San Francisco and Buffalo over six seasons from 2011 to 2016. His strength is running the ball based on two top finishes in rushing yards for the Bills in 2015 and 2016 while ranking highly in his last three seasons with the 49ers (4, 3, and 4). Baltimore led the NFL in rushing in 2019. Ramon has never finished higher than 23rd in passing yards while delivering about league average passing TDs in most years before 2019 (36 passing TDs).
Over the last two years, Baltimore ranked first and fourth in yards allowed by their defense. They allowed 282 points (3rd) in 2019 and 287 points (2nd) in 2018.
The Ravens brought back Don Martindale for a third year after spending the previous five seasons in Baltimore as the linebackers coach. Martindale has 15 years of NFL coaching experience highlighted by his 2010 season when he had his first shot at being a defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos. The Ravens ranked in the top 12 in defensive yards allowed over the last seven seasons.
The Ravens added LB Josh Bynes and DT Derek Wolfe to their defense. Burnes played well off the bench for the Bengals over the past three years. His projects to be an asset in run support with minimal upside in the pass rush. Wolfe set a career-high in sacks (7) in 2019 for the Broncos while continuing to play well vs. the run. Baltimore should use him as a rotational player in 2019.
They lost DT Michael Pierce to the Vikings after not playing well last year. His game offers an edge stopping the run, but he only has 3.5 sacks over his 60 career contests.
Baltimore didn’t re-sign S Tony Jefferson, CB Brandon Carr, DE Pernell McPhee, S Brynden Trawick, and DT Domata Peko. All of these players remain unsigned.
With the 28th selection in the first round in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Ravens added LB Patrick Queen. He brings a dynamic presence to the linebacking position thanks to his speed, strength, and technique. Queen plays with vision and balance. His game projects well on three downs, which will also improve with more experience. Queen does offer higher value with a talented defensive line in front of him.
Baltimore stole RB J.K. Dobbins in the second round, and strength is a big part of his success. Dobbins brings a fighter's mentality to the run game. His mission is to drive the ball forward with quickness, vision, and against the grain cuts. He'll take a hit and lose his balance, but Dobbins finds a way to stay upright on many plays while offering a stiff arm.
With their four picks in the third round, the Ravens drafted DT Justin Madubuike, WR Devin Duvernay, LB Malik Harrison, and G Tyre Phillips.
Madubuike has a disrupter feel, with his best tools being his acceleration and power. His fire off the snap isn’t ideal, and it will be tested at the next level. Madubuike can’t match his blockers in size, which puts him at risk if he fails to create within his first couple of steps. His motor may not have the fuel to excel for a high number of plays in the NFL.
Duvernay comes to the NFL with an enticing blend of hands, speed, and open field ability, but his pieces don’t necessarily add up to an impact player. He falls short in route running while lacking the quickness to consistently win out of the slot. In the Ravens’ offense, his game should work well, especially with the freelancing style of QB Lamar Jackson.
Harrison should develop into an early-down run stopper. His game shows the most success when attacking the line of scrimmage with his strength. He creates space with his hands and offers the power to finish. Harrison will have risk in coverage, and his change of direction value takes a hit when asked to retreat.
Phillips brings a mashing style to the run game. His range is limited, which hurts his pass protection skill set when asked to make plays outside his frame. Phillips lacks the initial quickness off the snap to defeat speed players, and his technique isn’t where it needs to be.
In the fourth round, Baltimore picked up a second guard (Ben Bredeson). His style of play falls in line with how the Ravens want to play the game on the ground. Bredeson has the feel of a player that will make the straight forward plays in both the run and pass game, but his window looks limited along with his skillset.
With their final three selections over the last three rounds, the Ravens invested in DT Broderick Washington, WR James Proche, and S Geno Stone.
Washington projects as an early run player who plays with fight, vision, and toughness. His game is about power, but he anticipates well in play development. Washington has limitations in the pass rush, which he tries to overcome with his above-average motor.
Proche shows great playmaking ability when the ball is in the air, but he lacks the foundation skillset to create enough wins in press coverage or the route running to become an elite player. Proche offers a possession type foundation while lacking the wheels to beat defenders in the deep passing game.
Stone looks the part of a fiery safety, but his physical tools are well below his thought process. He attacks when moving forward with excellent vision. His shortfall comes when asked to cover speed deep or retreat from his initial press ahead.
Baltimore placed 1st in rushing yards (3,296) with 21 TDs. Their rushers gained 5.5 yards per carry while averaging 37.3 rushes per game. The Ravens ranked 29th in the NFL in yards per passing yards (3.350) with 37 TDs and eight Ints. Their offensive line allowed 28 sacks and 59 QB hits.
LT Ronnie Stanley
Stanley moved to elite status at his position in 2019. He dominated in pass blocking while playing at his highest level in the run game. Stanley has exceptional quickness with his feet leading to an edge in pass blocking. He needs to add more upper body strength to help maintain his ground against power rushers. The Ravens added him in the first round in 2016.
LG Bradley Bozeman
In his first season with starting stats, Bozeman failed to make an impact in any area. He finished with more risk in pass protection. Baltimore added him in the sixth round in the 2018 NFL Draft.
His biggest competition should come from Ben Powers, who only saw 30 plays last year. Powers plays hard with plenty of fight in his game, but the pass blocking area is limited while needing to add lower body strength. His foundation skill set should play well at the next level if he improves his value as a run blocker. He may move to the center position according to Raven Country.
C Patrick Mekari
In a split role in 2019, Mekari showed the most value at the center for the Ravens. He played well as a run blocker with neutral value in pass protection. Baltimore added him as an undrafted free agent in 2019.
RG D.J. Fluker
Over his first three years in the NFL after getting drafted in the first round in 2013, Fluker played well in the run game while showing risk in pass protection. His game had regression over the past four seasons while battling some injuries. Fluker now grades as a liability for his position.
RT Orlando Brown
Over two seasons in the league, Brown minimized the damage in sacks while struggling to find his way as a blocker. He is a beast in size (6’8” and 345 lbs.), but his upper body strength is well below NFL standards. Orlando lacks technique with minimal upside in athletic ability. He wins his battles with his base and overall mass. Brown should improve as a power run blocker while expected to handle his responsibilities in pass blocking.
Offensive Line Outlook
The Ravens offensive tackles have the most upside, but the line's interior has risk at all positions. The legs of QB Lamar Jackson covers up plenty of weakness in both runs and pass blocking. Baltimore tends to attempt a low number of passes, which helps lower their overall total in sacks.
The data shows the strength of schedule as far as rushing attempts (RATT), rushing yards (YDS), yards per attempt rushing (YA), rushing touchdowns (TDs), completions (COMP), passing attempts (PATT), passing yards (YDS), yards per attempt passing (YA), and passing touchdowns (TDS).
This information is based on 2019, which will work as our starting point for 2020. We’ll look at all the changes on offense on each team in the NFL plus the upgrades and downgrades on each team on the defensive side. We’ll update this table when we finish the research on all 32 teams.
2019 LG Average = the league average of all stats from all 32 teams in 2019.
2019 Results = this is the results for each team in the NFL.
2019 Adjustment is based on the 2019 league average and the 2019 results for each team, this number will show if each team is above or below the league average in each stat category and the basis for the strength of schedule.
The Ravens have six games (WAS, JAX, CLE X 2, and CIN X 2) against teams that struggled to defend the run last year. Their toughest matchups on the ground come vs. the Eagles, the Colts, and the Patriots.
Baltimore will have risk passing the ball five contests (NE, PIT X 2, and CLE X 2). They should have the most upside throwing in two matchups (HOU and NYG).
Baltimore ran the ball 57.5 percent of the time last year, with much of their separation coming from their great running quarterback. The Ravens led the league in passing touchdowns (37) despite averaging only 27.5 passes per game.
Jackson gave fantasy owners an electric ride in 2019. Heading into last year, a 1,000+ yards rushing and over 3,000 yards passing were reasonable expectations for Jackson. His edge/breakthrough came in his 36 passing TDs, especially when considering his low pass attempts (26.7 per game) and overall weakness in production at wide receiver (115/1,419/17). There is no QB in history with more value as a runner (176/1,206/7 in 2019), and his success as a passer should continue to grow. Baltimore wants to run the ball, and defenses should have a better plan to slow him down with a full offseason to watch his tape. Winning player with a unique skill set for the QB position, but his reliance on the run puts him at more risk than most QBs. I expect regression in passing TDs based on overall passing chances and his questionable options at the wide receiver position. It would also be difficult for Jackson to repeat his value in the run game.
In his initial projections, I have Jackson projected to gain 4,187 combined yards with 34 touchdowns.
Other options: Robert Griffin, Trace McSorley, Tyler Huntley
Baltimore’s RB ran the ball great last year (399/2,029/14) while gaining 5.10 yards per rush. They only had 64 targets, but their catch rate (76.6) had strength with success in yards per catch (8.4) and TDs (5). The downside is that the Ravens rotated in multiple running backs while also having a high volume running quarterback.
In a way, Ingram overachieved his opportunity (15.2 touches per game) in fantasy points (244.50 FPPG in PPR leagues – 9th) thanks to a high volume of touchdowns (15). His catch rate (89.7) commands more chances, but age (30) isn’t on his side. Last year the Ravens’ RBs rushed for 2,029 yards on 399 carries with 14 TDs and reasonable value in the passing game (84/723/1). Ingram scored ten of his TDs on the road. This year he’ll be in a four-way split for touches with J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill.
Possible value early in the year while losing touches in the most significant moments of the year. Fade for me.
His early projections come to 1,062 combined yards with eight TDs and 24 catches.
While playing in a great system at Ohio State, Dobbins looked elite in his freshman year (1,538 combined yards with eight TDs and 22 catches on 216 touches while seeing about 55 percent of the running back opportunity.
His game regressed in 2018 (1,316 combined yards with 12 TDs and 26 catches). Mike Weber (172/954/5) outplayed Dobbins on many days.
Last year Dobbins regained his bounce in his step, which led to a high volume opportunity (301/2,003/21 plus 23 catches for 247 yards and two TDs).
Dobbins slid to the Ravens in the season round, which gives them Mark Ingram insurance. Unfortunately, his opportunity will be a work in progress over the first half of the year. Dobbins should eat away at the touches by Gus Edwards. An excellent handcuff with upside, especially if his draft value slides a round or two over the summer.
His ADP (60) isn’t far behind Ingram. His game projects well if he gains a starting job.
Despite a high-volume rushing QB and lead RB1, the Ravens found a way to get Edwards 140 touches last year. He responded with strength in his yards per carry (5.3) and two successful games (8/112/1 and 21/130). Game score was a significant factor in his chances, along with 595 rushing attempts by the Ravens. Tough to roster based on his 12 games with fewer than nine rushing attempts. Mop up specialist who will have to compete with RB J.K. Dobbins and RB Justice Hill for early-down carries if RB Mark Ingram has an injury.
Hill was the fourth wheel in the Ravens’ running game in 2019, which led to minimal touches in all games. He ran a 4.4 40 at the NFL combine in 2018 while showing plenty of strength (21 bench press reps). Justice runs with a quick tempo and a sense of the big play on many carries. His vision, power, and shake help him make defenders miss in the open field. Hill wants to run outside, which may hurt his value in some game vs. a top run defense. He should emerge as the change of pace back for the Ravens. His next step is improving in pass protection to help earn more snaps on passing downs. With Ravens adding RB J.K. Dobbins, Hill has a more challenging path to early down action.
With the Ravens playing from the lead in most games and focusing on running over their opponents, their wide receivers had the lowest output in the NFL in catches (115), receiving yards (1,419), and targets (178). Lamar Jackson did have success in his completion rate (64.6) to the wide receiver position and production in touchdowns (17). Baltimore only completed 39.8 percent of their passes to their wide receivers, which also fell in line with their 2017 season.
Brown may not have lived up to his first-round billing in his rookie season, but his skill set is what the Ravens lacked in their passing game. He played through an ankle injury most of the year, which limited his practice reps while missing two games.
Brown caught the Dolphins off guard in Week 1, leading to an impact game (4/147/2). Over his final ten games, including the playoffs, he had four targets or fewer in eight contests. His season ended on a high note (7/126). The Ravens are a running team, and they will play from the lead in many games. Browns should only get better, but his opportunity can’t push much higher than a WR3. His next stop should be over 60 catches with a run at 1,000 yards and some growth in TDs.
In his first year in the NFL, Boykin finished with WR4 snaps for the Ravens. He scored a TD in two of his first four games while failing to secure over three targets in any games in the regular season. The Ravens rank poorly in passing attempts (440 – 32nd), which will be repeated in 2020. Boykin moves to WR3 for Baltimore this year, and WR Willie Snead is not much of an option as a WR2. Only a wild card that will be found in the free-agent pool. His first order of business is beating out incoming rookie WR Devin Duvernay for playing time
After a relatively quiet first three seasons at Texas (70 catches for 1,082 yards and seven TDs over 118 targets), Duvernay impressed in his senior year (106/1386/10 on 130 targets). He gained over 100 yards in seven of his 13 games in 2019, highlighted by four games (12/154/1, 8/110/2, 8/173/1, and 6/199/1). Duvernay also had eight catches or more in nine contests. His speed (4.39 forty at the 2020 NFL Combine) was elite. His next step is improving his route running. His run to the mailbox, cut left, and streak deep downfield style could be an instant fit for the Ravens in 2020. Player to follow this summer as his questions about his overall skill set will keep his price point in the free basket on draft day.
Other options: Willie Snead, Chris Moore, De’Anthony Thomas, James Proche, Jaleel Scott
Over the last three seasons, tight ends have been active in the Ravens’ passing game. They had growth in passing yards in back-to-back years and a massive spike in all areas in 2019. Baltimore’s TEs had more catches (125), receiving yards (1,522), and targets (180) than their wide receivers (115/1419/17 on 178 targets).
Even with top tight end production, the Ravens rotated in three options at the position. Their TEs caught 43.3 percent of the team’s overall completions in 2019.
After two electric games (8/108/1 and 8/112/1) to start the year, Andrews had 48 catches for 632 yards and eight TDs over his final 13 contests.
Part of his lack of follow-through was game score (Ravens playing from the lead) paired with a three-way rotation at TE for the Ravens (Nick Boyle – 786, Hayden Hurst – 468, and Andrews – 467 snaps). Boyle was the clear run blocker while Andrews shined as Baltimore's top pass catcher. Hurst came into the league in the first round in 2015, but a trade to the Falcons should remove one option from the TE rotation in 2020.
Andrews offers big-play and scoring ability from the TE position, and his opportunity should rise a minimum of 20 percent this year.
His ADP (53) is more than fair if he does indeed blossom into an 80/1000/7 guy. Last year Andrews battled three injuries (shoulder – October, knee – early December, and ankle – late December). My initial projections for him came to 74 catches for 936 yards and eight TDs.
Other options: Nick Boyle, Charles Scarff, Eli Wolf, Jacob Breeland
There is something to be said for a kicker that makes the most of his chances. Tucker continues to rank first in NFL history in field goal percentage (90.8) while being a beast from 50-yards or longer (39/55) in his career. His opportunity in field goals slipped to a career-low (28-for-29) in 2019, but he offset his failure with a massive jump in extra-point tries (59). Last year Baltimore scored 64 touchdowns while leading the NFL in scoring (531 points). Great kicker playing in a rising offense equals top-shelf results with trusted success.
The Ravens have three games (DAL, TEN, and IND) vs. teams that ran the ball at a decent clip in 2019. Their defense has six contests (WAS, KC, PIT X 2, and CIN X 2) against opponents that grade below average in rushing yards.
Baltimore has the ninth-best schedule for their pass defense. They’ll have the most considerable edge in four matchups (WAS, IND, and PIT X 2) based on last year's stats. Still, Pittsburgh should be much better passing the ball with Ben Roethlisberger back behind center, and the Colts should get some bump in passing yards with Philip Rivers starting at quarterback. Their two most challenging games defending the pass look to be against Dallas and the Chiefs.
Baltimore dropped one notch to 5th in the NFL defending the run (1,494 yards) while allowing 12 TDs and 4.4 yards per rush. Ball carriers had eight runs over 20 yards with four rushes gaining over 40 yards. The Ravens finished 6th in passing yards allowed (3,315) with 15 TDs and 13 Ints. Quarterbacks gained only 6.6 yards per pass attempt while being sacked 37 times.
DT Brandon Williams
Williams is a veteran player with only 6.5 career sacks over 87 games. His edge as a run defender lost momentum in 2019. He finished as a league-average option in this area after showing elite value against the run in four of his previous five seasons. Williams will start the year at age 31.
DE Derek Wolfe
Last year Wolfe set a career-high in sacks (7) at the age of 29. Over eight seasons with the Broncos, he missed 20 of his possible 96 starts. His game did fade against the run last year, which was an area of strength over the past five years.
DE Calais Campbell
The Ravens made a March trade with the Jaguars to land Campbell. He delivered 25 sacks over 32 games in 2017 and 2018, but his sack total slipped to 6.5 last year. Campbell remains one of the best run defenders in the leagues.
LB Matt Judon
Judon continues to grow as a pass rusher while setting a career-high in sacks (9.5) last year. Over his previous 48 games, he has 24.5 sacks. Over this span, only once has he played well as a run defender. Judon has never given up a passing touchdown in his career while seeing minimal targets against him.
The two inside linebacker positions will be made of rookie LB Patrick Queen and a combination of multiple players. Queen brings speed to the defense, who needs a clean run to produce his most significant edge in run support. He has three-down upside with speed to cover from sideline to sideline.
LB Jaylon Ferguson
In his rookie season, Ferguson picked up 31 tackles with 2.5 sacks over 14 games. He fell short of the league average defending the run. Ferguson doesn’t have the size (6’5” and 271 lbs.) to anchor a defensive line vs. the run. His game is built on attacking the QB with quickness and moves to deliver sacks.
CB Marlon Humphrey
In 2019, Humphrey set a career-high in tackles (65) while continuing to be productive in defended passes (40 over 46 career games). He has seven career interceptions, with two returned for touchdowns. Humphrey tends to hold receivers to a low catch rate. He can miss some tackles, which leads to big plays.
CB Marcus Peters
After a midseason trade to the Ravens, Peters regained his playmaking skills. Over ten games in Baltimore, he made 39 tackles with three Ints and ten defended passes while scoring a pair of touchdowns. Peters has an attacking gambler mentality, which led to some blown plays in coverage.
CB Jimmy Smith
The addition of Marcus Peters last year gave the Ravens insurance at cornerback while also increasing their depth. Smith slips to CB3 on the roster while owning plenty of concern about staying healthy. Over his last four seasons, he missed 20 of his possible 48 starts. Smith should be an edge in coverage in his new role when he’s on the field.
S Earl Thomas
There is trouble brewing in the Thomas household, which may lead to a suspension this year. In early May, he had an altercation with his wife, but Thomas may not be at fault as far as a domestic issue. His play remains an edge in coverage thanks to his ability to create turnovers. His run support and tackling had regression in 2019. Thomas isn’t the same player as he was with the Seahawks in his prime.
S Chuck Clark
In his third year in the league, Clark improved in all areas. He set career-highs in tackles (73) and defended passes (9). The sum of his parts resulted in a league-average player with no clear edge defending the run or attacking the quarterback.
Team Defense Outlook
The Ravens want to stop the run to make offenses one-dimensional. By playing from the lead in most games in 2019, Baltimore controlled the clock with a terrific run game and forced opponents to pass to beat them. Their pass rush is trailing, but the addition of DE Calais Campbell does add an impact player to the defensive line. The Ravens should play well in coverage, and their linebacking core is improving. A top tier defense in the fantasy market with their upside tied to their ability to create more turnovers and show growth in sacks.
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