Rest of Season Outlook
The Baltimore Ravens’ season has had a very unique start and was unlike what many were expecting. Their top three running backs suffered season-ending injuries just weeks before the season. They lost their first-round wide receiver, Rashod Bateman, during training camp, and they may have the worst RB room in the league. All of these factors left analysts and fans alike scrambling when thinking about what to project for this Ravens offense. Well, now that we have seen three games of it we have a better idea of what to expect over the rest of 2021.
Quarterback, Lamar Jackson
To look at Lamar Jackson we need to look at play rate. The Ravens have started the season with 87 pass attempts and 95 rush attempts. This is a pass to rush ratio of .92. This was about what we expected and not a surprise. The surprise has been Lamar’s 8.7 yards per attempt. In recent years his has been lower, around 7.2, and seeing this increase is doing wonders for the passing game. The Ravens have been unafraid to go deep and they’ve been connecting. Lamar has been about the same on the ground, averaging 84 yards per game with two touchdowns in three games. Overall the 2019 MVP has been what we thought, except for the higher YPA plus 60% completion rate. This offense will be even more efficient once Bateman is added to the mix.
The Running Back Room
This group of players has felt very unpredictable, but in reality, this is Latavius Murray’s group. Against the Broncos, Ty’Son Williams was a healthy scratch and Latavius got the start along with Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell. Ty’Son can safely be dropped at this point while Bell and Freeman are worth holding as handcuffs. But overall, this is an unexciting group and I would not want to be starting any of them unless it is a much deeper league.
The Receiving Group
This group currently involves Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins, and Mark Andrews as its main pieces. Through three weeks they have all been pretty usable fantasy assets, with Brown leading the group at 17 fantasy points per game. The target share has been even more telling. Lamar wants to prove he can pass deep and outside the numbers. This has led him to use his receivers more than ever before. Hollywood Brown is boasting a strong target share of 33%. Followed by Watkins at 27% and Andrews in third at 23%. The next highest target share isn’t until we find Ty’Son Williams sitting at a mediocre 5.8%, that just shows none of the other receivers are relevant or worth owning. Now Rashod Bateman was practicing this week and should return for the Week 5 game coming up. This is going to shake up the WR room and drive Andrews’ value down I think. Based on the current target shares here is what I would expect with a healthy and integrated Bateman, let’s say Week 9.
Hollywood at 25%, Watkins at 20%, Andrews at 18%, and Bateman at 20%. I think Hollywood will still see the most work by a solid amount but Bateman will have an immediate demand for targets and will also take away touchdown opportunities from Mark Andrews. I would be looking to sell all Ravens pass-catchers right now if you can find a buyer.
I expect Lamar and the offense to continue at a similar pass rate, maybe with Bateman, they get closer to a rate of 1.0 or 50% pass, 50% rush. The RBs will continue to be led by Williams, he has looked and performed the best of the bunch. But, Murray is still a good own in case of injury and can be used as a starter in deeper leagues. I’m very worried about Mark Andrews currently, and that will become worse once Bateman returns. Now, with the ability to perform online sports betting in Maryland coming by Winter 2021. You’ll soon be able to place a sports bet surrounded by friends and fans even inside M&T Bank Stadium. This information and what to expect from the offense should help you be on the right side of those bets.
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