Fantasy football season is upon us! Drafts have taken place and someone, somewhere, is going to be a champion….with a RAVEN in their starting line-up!
In most pre-draft rankings, the highest rated Raven was Justin Forsett, followed by Steve Smith Sr. and Joe Flacco. Depending on what ranking you’re looking at, Forsett was ranked somewhere in the 20s or 30s, Steve Smith Sr. ranked between the 80s and 90s, and Joe Flacco is seeing action between the 110s and 140s.
Dec 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith, Sr. (89) cannot make the catch as Cleveland Browns cornerback Buster Skrine (22) is called for pass interference in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) runs during the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) prepares for a game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
On a brighter note, Justin Tucker’s ranking averaged within the top 3 among place kickers.
Sep 21, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) kicks the game-winning field goal during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Ravens won 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
On the defensive/special teams side of the ball, the Ravens unit ranks in the bottom half of the top 10, coming in between 6 and 10 out of the 32 teams.
Aug 22, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews (81) catches the ball in front of the defense of Baltimore Ravens defensive back Kyle Arrington (24) at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
It’s safe to say that there’s very little faith in the Baltimore Ravens production in the world of fantasy football. But I get it…. fantasy football rankings operate on productions and projections, not popularity. But don’t sleep on these 2015 Ravens.
Through the season, I’ll be giving you my fantasy analysis and recap as I follow Joe Flacco, Steve Smith Sr., Justin Forsett, Justin Tucker and the Ravens Defense/Special Teams unit to help you determine whether you should start ‘em or sit ‘em.
Since we’re already in week 1, I’ll make this easy for you. Start Justin Tucker.
Feb 3, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens long snapper Morgan Cox (46) with kicker Justin Tucker (9) against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
There will be pretty much no wind to slow down any of Tucker’s kicks so I imagine he could make a 70 yarder in Denver if put in that position.
The rest of the offense is a tough call. Denver’s pass rush and rush defense is just as good as ours, with theirs being anchored by Von Miller and Demarcus Ware. Their defensive backs are very aggressive as well, led by Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward. Steve Smith Sr. likes aggression, but he can’t fight that fight alone and Talib is quietly a shutdown corner himself.
The Ravens defense, however, is entering a hostile environment against a dangerous assassin of a quarterback in Peyton Manning. Yes, he’s old and fragile these days, but never count out a Manning not named Eli.
With that said, I would wait to see how this defense responds to Peyton Manning. This game will set the tone for our defense for the remainder of the season. Although an improvement from the 2013 week 1 debacle, this is still Peyton Manning and it’s in Denver. Do you remember that last go round in Denver? 7 touchdowns allowed and lots of blown coverage. Let’s wait here.
Not to mention, we’re going up against some familiar friends with a lot of intel. Gary Kubiak, Owen Daniels, and Darian Stewart are all in Denver. It’s safe to say they’ll know what to expect, especially since Trestman has kept most of the terminology and schemes that Kubiak set for the Ravens a year ago as the offensive coordinator.
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So in week 1…
Start: Justin Tucker
Sit: Joe Flacco, Justin Forsett, Steve Smith, Ravens D/ST
Don’t worry, it’s just week 1. The week is coming when Flacco throws for 320 yards and 3 TDs, Steve Smith has 2 of those 4 TDs, Forsett rushes for 150 and 2 TDs, the defense has 11 sacks and returns an INT for a touchdown, and Tucker kicks 2 FGs for over 50 yards.
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