00The Ravens have been a running team since the beginning, with Jamaal Lewis, Priest Holmes, and yes, even Justin Forsett. What is hard to accept is that having a stable running game keeps your defense fresh and keeps the defensive coordinator on the other team guessing. Let’s take a deeper look at the Ravens ground and pound offense for 2019 and see where the fantasy value is on this team.
Let’s start first with running quarterback Lamar Jackson. He seems to be the player that will benefit the most in this offense. The rule of thumb when you have a running quarterback is that you line eight men up in the box and make him win from the pocket. But that theory didn’t work so well in the playoffs once the Ravens figured out what the Chargers were doing in the second half of that game. From a fantasy perspective, Lamar is primed to bring you both rushing and passing yards next season, which can definitely give you a boost on your fantasy team. However, the red flag here is the potential for injury. Most running quarterbacks end up injured because when you run, you put yourself at more risk to get injured. So if you have Jackson on your draft board, you might want to get a solid backup just in case he doesn’t make it through the season. Suggested backups would be Philip Rivers or Derek Carr.
Mark Ingram looks to be second-in-line to make a big impact on the fantasy front. As someone who might get overlooked as a solid all-around running back, I expect big things for Mark Ingram. He can catch and is very physical at the point of attack. With Lamar Jackson’s ability to run, he will see similar holes in Baltimore as he saw in New Orleans. So if Ingram is on your board, I would suggest taking Gus Edwards as well because this is such a run-focused offense. Having both backs will prove very smart toward the tail end of the season.
Receivers leave a lot to be desired on this team. With Willie Snead being the number one and no one else even worth mentioning at this point, where do you go? I will tell you: the tight end. In a ground-and-pound offense, you will see a lot of two- and three-tight end sets. So that will leave more opportunities for Nick Boyle, Hayden Hurst, and Mark Andrews. Hurst is more of a receiving type of tight end; expect him not to see a lot of plays but to see his share of targets. Boyle has proven he can catch the ball but is more of a blocking tight end. Andrews is a great combination of both, so I expect all of them to be in the mix. I love Hurst in this situation but Andrews will make a huge step up next year as well. If you aren’t targeting the big three tight ends this year (Kittle, Kelce, Ertz), give one of these guys a try. Or just stash them on your bench to be a solid block for those trying to pick up a waiver wire tight end.
The Ravens have an up-and-down schedule this year. They play the Cardinals and 49ers at home this year, but they will play in Seattle, Kansas City, and Los Angeles against the Rams. They also play the Patriots and the Texans. It’s the schedule of a defending AFC North Champion– let’s see if they can hold up and play well against the best.