As fantasy football owners around the world are getting ready to draft their teams, they'll be considering a good number of Ravens.
Here's some perspective on what fantasy owners should be able to expect from Ravens players in 2022:
QB Lamar Jackson
If you had Lamar Jackson on your fantasy team in 2019, there's a good chance you won your league. Since then, Jackson has been one of the first quarterbacks picked the past two years and has finished as QB11 and QB8. Missing five games last season hurt Jackson's output, as he was on pace to top 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career and top 1,000 rushing yards for the third straight year.
This year, the Ravens believe they have structured an offense that better suits what helps Jackson thrive. They beefed up their offensive line, which should keep him upright more after taking a career-high 38 sacks last season. Baltimore also added to its tight end corps, as Jackson has thrived throwing to big targets over the middle. The running game should be better than last year with J.K. Dobbins back, which also helps take pressure of Jackson.
While Jackson is now without good friend and 1,000-yard receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, he's shown good chemistry with wide receivers Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, James Proche II this summer. And Jackson will once again have his trusty All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews.
Jackson added 15-20 pounds of muscle this offseason, which he and coaches feel has only made him faster as a runner. Baltimore will still continue to use him prominently on designed quarterback runs and another 1,000-yard season is absolutely within reach.
Verdict: The Ravens are hoping the changes will help Jackson get back to MVP form and fantasy owners can feel confident in a resurgent season.
TE Mark Andrews
Andrews was the top tight end in fantasy football last season with mind-boggling production of 107 receptions for 1,361 yards and nine touchdowns. He had the ninth-most targets (153) in the league. It would be tough to duplicate those numbers just because of how elite they were. There's an argument to be made that Andrews' 2022 production could increase, stay the same, or decline slightly.
Brown's departure opens up 146 passing targets. They will obviously be spread around the offense, but Andrews could see even more looks than a year ago. Andrews looks even more physically imposing, and perhaps even a little faster, than he did last season. He has been the most dominant player at Ravens training camp. If the Ravens shift back to a more tight-end centered passing attack, that only benefits Andrews. Plus, Andrews put up those numbers with Jackson sidelined for five games last year. A healthy Jackson would help Andrews even more.
On the flip side, Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said he also expects Andrews will see plenty of double-team coverage this season. Andrews has seen that in the past, but with Brown out, will opponents focus even more attention on trying to slow Andrews?
Verdict: Any way it's sliced, Andrews will still be an elite fantasy tight end this season, worthy of being drafted in the first three rounds.
RB J.K. Dobbins
After leading all running backs in yards per carry as a rookie, Dobbins was in store for a monster sophomore season before his season-ending knee injury last year. Dobbins is still working his way back from that injury with about three weeks until Week 1.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said last week that it's too soon to say whether the Ravens' lead running back will be ready in time. Dobbins made "good progress" last week, as Harbaugh said his acceleration, deceleration and change of direction all improved. Dobbins has yet to take part in full-team 11-on-11 drills at Ravens practice.
Dobbins will be the Ravens' lead running back once he's up to full speed. He is very determined to show doubters that he will return to his prior form or better. The question is how long it will take Dobbins to find that form.
With the timing of Gus Edwards' return up in the air and the Ravens being a run-heavy team, Dobbins has a pathway to a lot of touches. Baltimore also had intentions to use him more as a receiver before last year's injury.
Verdict: Though injury questions remain, Dobbins has the talent and a workload of a RB1. Owners may have to be patient at the start of the season, but that means he could be had in the third or fourth rounds.
WR Rashod Bateman
Bateman is stepping into the top wide receiver spot in Baltimore, taking over for Brown. Brown had the 10th-most targets in the league last season (146). Bateman could see a very similar share.
A first-round pick last year, Bateman has the talent to do a lot of damage. He flashed his potential in a rookie season with 46 catches for 515 yards and one touchdown, but there's room for a lot more. Bateman said he was never truly healthy last season (75%, he said), after missing the first five games due to abdominal surgery.
Now healthy, Bateman has been a consistent practice performer this summer, showing chemistry, particularly in the red zone, with Jackson. He has a chance to be a breakout sophomore.
Verdict: Bateman will likely finish with starting WR1 or WR2 production this season and can be had at a discount in the middle rounds.
TE Isaiah Likely
Likely popped onto the national stage with his eye-popping eight catch, 100-yard, one touchdown performance in the Ravens' second preseason game in Arizona. The fourth-round rookie showed what he's been doing all training camp.
Likely has made plays every day in practice, showing his sneaky speed and ability to separate in one-on-one coverage, as well as a knack for finding openings in zone. He has very soft hands, a wide catch radius and toughness making contested catches that has already made him a favorite target for Jackson, who has called him "Mini Mark."
Likely's teammates see a bright future and Harbaugh said Likely is "going to be a big part of the offense this year." Without Brown, Baltimore will likely throw more passes to their tight ends this season. And with opponents expected to give Andrews a lot of attention, Likely could see single coverage routinely.
Verdict: Likely isn't a TE1 even on his own team and won't be for a long time with Andrews in a long-term contract, but he could still post strong production and would be an excellent backup for a team that owns Andrews. He could be a late-round flier with high upside, particularly in dynasty leagues.
K Justin Tucker
The best in the game, Tucker should be the first kicker off the board in every single league. He's the most accurate and best long-distance kicker in the NFL and nothing has changed this offseason.
Tucker's 35 field goals made last year were the fourth-most in the league and Tucker should have more opportunities this year with fewer injuries to the offense. Of course, that could mean more touchdowns too, as Tucker had 26 field goals in in 2020 and 28 in 2019 when Jackson went on his MVP tear. Still, a strong offense is a fantasy kicker's friend.
Verdict: Fantasy owners can draft Tucker with confidence, but they'll have to do it before the final couple rounds if they want him.
Baltimore's historically dominant defense wasn't up to its usual standards last season as it finished 25th in the league. Only two teams had fewer takeaways than the Ravens' 15, and only eight teams had fewer sacks than Baltimore's 34.
The Ravens signed ball-hawking safety Marcus Williams to help with getting more interceptions, and cornerback Marcus Peters is coming back after missing all last season with a knee injury. The Ravens also added rangy safety Kyle Hamilton with the 14th-overall pick. Baltimore is also deeper in the secondary overall. With all those factors combined, more interceptions will come.
In terms of sacks, the Ravens are counting on a Year 2 breakout from Odafe Oweh, who has been arguably the defense's best player in training camp. Oweh has continued to improve his technique to go along with his freakish athleticism, and a double-digit sack season is within reach. The improved secondary will help the pass rush, even if Baltimore doesn't blitz quite as much under new Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald than it did with Wink Martindale.
The Ravens' schedule and projected quarterback matchups are also more favorable than last season.
Verdict: The Ravens defense has long been one of the top fantasy units and it should return to form this year.
RB Gus Edwards
Edwards missed all of last season with a knee injury and is doubtful to play Week 1 considering he hasn't returned to the field yet. It remains to be seen when the bulldozing tailback is back. When he's on the field, Edwards has been a consistent force, posting 718, 711, and 723 rushing yards in his first three seasons, respectively.
Verdict: Owners looking to stash a running back could pick up Edwards in the late rounds, but his production depends on both a healthy return and Dobbins' status. Edwards would be in a time share even once he gets on the field.