2012 Team Outlook: Baltimore

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2012 Team Outlook: Baltimore

A fantasy football preview of the Ravens this year. Profiled players include Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor, Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, and Anthony Allen.

Don't over think this. Three straight seasons, Flacco has passed for 3600 yards. In that span, the number of touchdown throws is between 20 and 25. In three of his four pro seasons, he has tossed exactly 12 interceptions. The completion percentage dropped last season. Confidence should be up after nearly pulling out the AFC Championship. Not ideal as a fantasy starter, but a solid QB2.

The developing Taylor makes more plays with his legs than arm, but has winning instincts. The Ravens added Curtis Painter for depth chart purposes. If you saw Painter quarterbacking the Colts last season, you know should anything happen to Joe Flacco, Taylor gets the nod, though neither passer figures to be a fantasy gem.

Remember the guessing game as to which elite running back to draft first last season. AP? CJ2K? Charles? The correct answer clearly was Mr. Rice. He returned to his prolific 2010 production levels while tacking on a career-high 15 touchdowns and received a fat new contract as reward. Now the debate is Rice, Foster or McCoy. Opinions may vary, but nobody will mock a Rice pick at the top. As long as one of his backups does not vulture goal line chances, he remains elite.

In recent seasons, any fantasy owner with the Ravens' starting runner has one fear: the Ravens backup at the goal line. Considering the rookie projected into the role behind Ray Rice scored 27 rushing touchdowns last season, there is reason to be nervous. Pierce offers inside power, but is no timeshare threat. Scoring threat? That could be another story.

The rugged Allen churned out over 1,300 yards playing in Georgia Tech's wishbone offense last season. Without Le'Ron McClain, the Ravens are searching for a new inside runner. Fellow rookie Bernard Pierce could have the inside track, but Allen's experience in a run-heavy attack should have him ready if needed. If he lands the RB2 spot, is a handcuff option in truly deep leagues.

Leach's Pro Bowl status comes from his lead blocking, not his handling of the football. He did match his career-high with 27 touches last season, though the bruiser failed to score for the second straight campaign. Fantasy owners should root for Leach to open up holes for Ray Rice and keep defenders off Joe Flacco. There is no need to look his way for fantasy production.