2021 Fantasy Football Baltimore Ravens Preview

by Mark Strausberg
2021 Fantasy Football Baltimore Ravens Preview

Much like the eerie, spine-tingling fear that Edgar Allen Poe tried to evoke, there's a sense of dread that is starting to seep into the minds of folks in Baltimore. Is their window slowly slamming shut on their chances to win a Super Bowl with Lamar Jackson at quarterback? Will some unsung hero rise up and terrorize the rest of the AFC? Hopefully, I haven't scared you off, but we will get to those questions in the 2021 Fantasy Football Baltimore Ravens Preview.

The Baltimore Ravens are coming off another strong season but one that also ended in disappointment, as they once against to failed to reach the Super Bowl.

So where does that leave the Baltimore Ravens headed into 2021? Truth is, their outlook is not that different than that of the 2020 team; it could possibly be even better! They are not quite at the top of the league, but Baltimore is still one of the best AFC teams expected to vie for the Super Bowl.  Unfortunately, most of that is driven by their defense, not tons of great fantasy football options.

However, that doesn't mean that there are not some worthy considerations for the 2021 Fantasy Football season.

Let's take a look at some of those options in our 2021 Fantasy Football Baltimore Ravens Preview.

2021 Fantasy Football Baltimore Ravens Preview

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  • Lamar Jackson
  • Trace McSorley
  • Tyler Huntley

The biggest difference at QB this year will be a change in Baltimore's backup, as RGIII is now a free agent and former Penn State standout Trace McSorley should step in as Baltimore's number two. Don't be surprised if Tyler Huntley steals the backup role away from him during the preseason. However, should anyone be relying on them to replace Lamar Jackson, they are in trouble.

Jackson should once again be one of the top QBs taken in any fantasy draft. His rushing ability alone makes him a valuable asset, especially in 4-pt passing TD leagues. He once again rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored seven touchdowns on the ground in 2020.

His passing production, unfortunately, took a step back in 2020. Jackson's completions, attempts, completion percentage, and passing yards all went down this past season. More concerning, however, is that despite the fifth-highest rate of downfield attempts, Jackson was the 28th-most-accurate downfield passer last season.

There is a ray of hope that Jackson can rebound, as offensive coordinator Greg Roman has publicly said he is considering using Jackson more under center this year. Jackson has worked primarily out of the shotgun while in Baltimore, so this could be a dramatic change. Being under center would allow for much more play-action, which would open up some of the deep passing routes.

For that to work, it would require a number of downfield threats, which of course brings us to the Ravens receiving corps.

Wide Receivers

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  • Marquise Brown
  • Rashod Bateman
  • Sammy Watkins
  • Miles Boykin
  • Tylan Wallace
  • Deon Cain
  • Devin Duvernay
  • James Proche

That's a ton of bodies with a ton of potential. And this isn't even all of the receivers currently on the roster! At this point, we know what we are getting with Sammy Watkins, one of the Ravens' bigger free-agent signings this offseason. He will have one or two HUGE games early in the year and will then likely disappear the rest of the season. He will likely take a back seat sooner or later to the Ravens' top draft choice, Rashod Bateman.

The Ravens have had their share of burners and shifty guys underneath. What they have desperately needed for years now is a WR with great hands who catches everything. Bateman is that player.

In time, Bateman will likely become Baltimore's top receiver. However, that title currently falls to Marquis Brown. Brown saw his numbers improve across the board from 2019 to 2020. He caught 58 passes for 769 yards and eight receiving touchdowns. That's not terrible, but that is not what you want from your highest targeted receiver in the modern NFL. Brown could see 100 targets again this year, but he will need to do more with them.

For my brethren in extremely deep leagues, keep Deon Cain on your radar. Cain failed to crack the Steelers' deep talent at WR the last couple of seasons, but many thought the Colts got a steal when he was first drafted in 2018. Cain is a speedy route-runner who plays bigger than his diminutive size. Tylan Wallace is the popular dynasty pick, but I'd keep Cain on your radar.

Running Backs

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Mark Ingram was shown the door this offseason.

After nearly a thousand yards rushing and receiving, and most of it coming after the Ravens' bye in Week 7, you might think the Ravens backfield finally belongs to J.K. Dobbins. You would be wrong.

The Ravens signed bowling ball Gus Edwards to a two-year $10-million contract extension this season. Edwards rumbled for 723 yards and six touchdowns this past season. Should the Ravens repeat as an ultra run-heavy offense, Edwards should see those numbers improve with the departure of Mark Ingram. Or not.

Justice Hill is locked in as the Ravens RB3 and he too should continue to get looks. Roman has already called the Ravens a "running group by committee". I think he meant to word that differently, but consider this a split backfield barring injury.

Despite the headaches in the backfield, things are a little clearer at Tight End.

Tight Ends

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What was once a three-headed monster is now clearly the Mark Andrews show. Andrews saw his target total drop by about ten percent last year but still managed to haul in 58 passes for 701 yards and seven TDs. However, his target share amongst the Ravens TEs rose and should continue to remain at a high level.

Final Verdict

The Ravens offense is full of talented playmakers heading into the 2021 Fantasy Football season. However, that talent often leads to the cannibalization of production. There are really only two proven elite fantasy players--Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews.

After taking a step back last year, the Ravens offense is likely to return to an elite level, especially if Rashod Bateman is all he is expected to be. Just don't expect any specific RB to benefit.

Now swing by Keith's Baltimore Ravens projections to see if he agrees with me on the return to an elite level.

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