NFL free agency started on March 18th, but technically does not end until the end of the season. However, after a firehose of news the first week, and another run the second week, things quiet down to a trickle. There are still big names out there, but it’s going to take some time to get them signed, sealed and delivered.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at where teams stand after the early rush of free agency and what it means for fantasy football. We’re going to take a look at the skill positions, breaking down what the starting lineup and reserves will look like to assess fantasy value heading into August drafts.
Today, we’re taking a look at the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens tried to build a formidable defensive line by adding Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers to it this offseason, but they backed away from Brockers after his injured ankle was cause for concern. Brockers ended up returning to the Los Angeles Rams in the end. Baltimore retained its top pass rusher, Matt Judon, with a franchise tag. But it also traded away Hayden Hurst and lost Michael Pierce. Can it put together another amazing year after beating the breaks off teams all 2019?
Starter: Lamar Jackson
Backups: Robert Griffin III, Trace McSorley
Jackson was the best fantasy player in the NFL by a wide margin in his second NFL season. He threw for 3,127 yards and 36 touchdowns while also rushing for 1,206 yard and two scores in 2019. He was QB1 in every format and has a good chance to hold onto that spot.
Losing Marshal Yanda on the offensive line is big, but Jackson still has Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews, and Marquise Brown. He’s the most dangerous offensive weapon in the league until proven otherwise. If Jackson has healthy for all of 2020, his floor is being a top five fantasy quarterback. He just has too many tools to be contained.
Starter: Mark Ingram
Backups: Gus Edwards, Justice Hill
Ingram hovered around the RB10 slot last year across standard and PPR formats, as well as on DraftKings. He tallied 1,018 rushing yards and totaled 10 touchdowns. He ran for 10 scores and caught a career-high five touchdown passes.
While he should enjoy more success in 2020, I doubt he’ll reach the end zone as many times. After all, he scored on almost 20 percent of his receptions last season. Ingram can put together another strong year, but is more likely to finish between closer to 15th among running backs.
Starters: Marquise Brown, Willie Snead IV, Miles Boykin
Backups: Chris Moore, De’Anthony Thomas, Jaleel Scott
Brown was ridiculous in his NFL debut, logging four receptions for 147 yards and four scores, but he faded late in the year while dealing with an ankle injury. He’s a serious deep threat with top-notch breakaway speed that can kill when he catches the long ball, but needs to diversify when it comes to his routes.
He ranged from WR44 to WR47 between standard leagues, PPR leagues, and on DraftKings and should improve with another year under his belt. Polishing short and intermediate route running could help him jump 10-15 spots in 2020.
One thing to keep track of is whether Baltimore decides to bring in more competition at wide receiver through free agency or the draft. Baltimore will be hard-pressed to replicate the team rushing success they had last year and could need more consistency in the passing game.
Starter: Mark Andrews
Backups: Nick Boyle, Charles Scarff
Andrews led Baltimore in receiving yards (852) and receiving touchdowns last season and was TE2 in standard leagues and TE5 in PPR leagues and on DraftKings. He was Jackson’s favorite favorite target in 2019 and could get even more balls thrown his way with Hurst out the door.
Andrews should still be one of the best tight end options available in 2020, but his value will be affected by what the Ravens do in the draft. If they address their need for better pass catchers and select a wide receiver in the first round, he should still be able to crack the top 10. Top five might be out of the question though.