Skip to main content
Presented by

Late For Work 7/10: Ravens Fantasy Football Advice


Ravens Fantasy Football Advice

You don't want to be the loser of your fantasy football league in 2014.

So in order to help you become the champion over your friends and colleagues, it's time to start prepping.

Training camp and final roster moves still need to shake out, but the Ravens' main fantasy contributors are in place and early analysis is coming in. CBS Sports fantasy writers Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard break down the Ravens roster to help you plot your drafts and give you a general idea of where players should be selected.

Remember, the criteria and strategy for fantasy is far different from the actual game of football. So try not to be too offended if you feel your favorite Ravens aren't drafted higher. Fantasy has little to no correlation to the Ravens' success this season.

With that disclaimer out of the way, let's get started …

Any Ravens Run Game Investment A 'Headache'There are just too many uncertainties in the Ravens run game for the CBS experts to advise you to take a running back early. In past years, Ray Rice was always a lock, but with a potential suspension and down 2013 year, Eisenberg says the earliest to draft him is in Round 4, and Richard says no earlier than Round 6.

"There isn't a good reason to target Rice with a Top 50 pick on Draft Day," wrote Richard. "Maybe that changes if he impresses in training camp and the preseason. And maybe it'll change if there isn't a suspension after all. But by selecting Rice, a fantasy owner has to make a commitment to the Ravens run game. It means having to spend a late pick on his backup, Bernard Pierce, who himself wasn't effective last year either and is coming off of shoulder surgery. And it might turn out that rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro ends up having a decent role in the offense. Are you going to spend a roster spot on him and Pierce if you draft Rice?! What a mess. C.J. Spiller, Toby Gerhart and Ben Tate will all be better fantasy choices than Rice on Draft Day."

Dennis Pitta Top 10 TE, Maybe Top 5
BIG things are expected for Dennis Pitta in 2014. He's certainly considered a top 10 tight end (meaning a draft selection in Rounds 7 or 8), and Eisenberg says he's even a Top 5 tight end. Not only will Pitta be healthy coming off his hip injury last year, but he is in a Gary Kubiak system that shows a lot of love to tight ends. Fifty percent of potential passing touchdowns went to tight ends in Kubiak's system over the last three years. "We already know Pitta's name and what he can do, but there's potential for a career year," wrote Richard.

But how will the presence of Owen Daniels affect Pitta's fantasy value? "Unfortunately, we might not get our answer until the season starts and we see how often the Ravens use two-tight end formations," Richard explained. "It might be frequently."

Torrey Smith A Top 24 ReceiverSmith might not be a No. 1 fantasy receiver just yet, but he's certainly an acceptable No. 2. He's had more and more production each year and could be in store for an even bigger 2014. Per Richard, "Some would argue Smith's breakout campaign came in 2013, but there's a chance he posts better fantasy point production for the third consecutive time. This is because of the offense being installed, one in which the No. 1 receiver typically gets a slew of targets." The presence of Steve Smith Sr., and the return of Pitta, will also help Torrey Smith."
Don't Draft Ravens Defense Based Off Reputation"A lot of fantasy owners will take the Ravens DST [defensive special teams] because the unit has a reputation. Is perception reality?" Richard asked. The unit ranked at No. 14 in fantasy last season and it was inconsistent in scoring points. Both Eisenberg and Richard rank the Ravens as the No. 17 DTS this year.

What about Marlon Brown?Last year, the undrafted rookie free agent exploded on the scene with seven touchdowns. Should fantasy owners draft him this year, expecting similar production?

"The addition of Steve Smith definitely pushes Brown off the field in two-receiver sets and Jacoby Jones will have a strong case to serve as the third receiver," Richard wrote. "Jones not only re-upped with the Ravens this offseason, he's reuniting with Kubiak, who was his head coach in Houston. He knows what will be asked of him while Brown will have to adjust to the new system. It'll take an injury to someone else for Brown to come anywhere close to his rookie year numbers."

**Jamey Eisenberg Top 200 Rankings (Positional Rankings)**
49 Ray Rice (25th RB)
64 Dennis Pitta (4th TE)
68 Torrey Smith (27th WR)
199 Bernard Pierce (46th RB)
146 Steve Smith (59th WR)
168 Joe Flacco (22nd QB)
193 Justin Tucker (5th K)
Defense/Special Teams not in Top 200 (17th DTS)

**Dave Richard Top 200 Rankings (Positional Rankings)*** *45 Ray Rice (21st RB)
56 Torrey Smith (23rd WR)
91 Dennis Pitta (8th TE)
129 Bernard Pierce (48th RB)
151 Steve Smith (doesn't make top 50)
190 Justin Tucker (6th K)
Joe Flacco Doesn't make top 200 (23rd QB)
Defense/Special Teams not in Top 200 (17th DTS)

Former Ravens Still Counting Against Cap

Nearly five percent of the Ravens' salary cap is being taken up by former players, according to ESPN's Jamison Hensley.

Just as all other 31 NFL teams, the Ravens cut a few players (or trade them) before the end of their contracts, creating "dead money" against the cap. The prorated bonus of each deal is carried over to the following season. 

The Ravens reportedly have $6.336 million in dead money, which is about average as the 12th most in the NFL.

So which former players are counting against the cap in 2014?

Per Hensley, here's the list:

Titans safety Bernard Pollard ($1.5 million)
Giants linebacker Jameel McClain ($1.2 million)
Free agent tackle Bryant McKinnie ($1 million)
Free agent safety Michael Huff ($1 million)
Free agent fullback Vonta Leach ($580,000)
Free agent defensive lineman Marcus Spears ($300,000)

Suggs Featured In Madden Video Sacking Dalton

One of the goals of Madden 15 is to enhance the defensive play.

In order to demonstrate some of the new features, what better way than to show Ravens pass rusher Terrell Suggs crushing Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton?

Suggs was also used to highlight a spin move on Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith.

It's brief, but I know there are fanatic Madden players out there, and it's fun to whet the appetite.


Quick Hits

  • Pitta will play a versatile role in the offense this year, including being split out as an extra wide receiver, working out of the backfield and playing in traditional in-line tight end alignments. "I have done a lot of different things in this offense already," Pitta said, per Aaron Wilson. "I would assume that would continue to increase, but I'm trying to get down the basics still right now and trying to be effective at some of our basic plays, and hopefully, I can get in a position where I can play a variety of positions." [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Can the Ravens offensive line overcome uncertainty? []
  • @trulybean [cornerback Jimmy Smith]: I'll always be big brother @fly_society04 #posterized [Instagram]
This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content