2013 Team Outlook: Baltimore Ravens
WR Torrey Smith, SF - Solid/Safe Pick
There is no doubt Torrey Smith rates among the NFL's premier deep threats. His 17.1 career yards per catch average and the numerous highlights of the former University of Maryland star zooming past would-be defenders proves the point. Seeing as quarterback Joe Flacco throws one of the best deep balls in the game, the connection should add to the 15 touchdowns they've generated during Smith's first two seasons. However...Smith has yet to show he's more than just a 9-route runner; last season he caught only 49 of his 110 targets, a rate that must improve for Baltimore now that Anquan Boldin is in San Francisco. Because of his all-or-nothing style, Smith's weekly fantasy production flucuates dramatically week-to-week. Only five times did he total at least 60 receiving yards. Also, wth no viable WR option on the other side, defenses can send even more help toward Smith. Because of the TD and long ball potential, Smith is a potential WR2, but not a steady one unless he shows overall improvement during training camp.
WR Deonte Thompson, CHI - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Update (8-13): Already starving runway model thin at wide receiver, the Ravens took a hit, at least for a little bit, when Thompson suffered a sprained left foot. For now, it is significant enough for Baltimore to sit the sleeper option for Thursday's preseason game against the Falcons. Though he remains in the mix for significant work, sitting out for any significant length of time won't help the inexperienced Thompson salt away his role. He remains an intriguing, late round receiver worth monitoring
Another name to consider for the Ravens WR2/3 competition. Undrafted out of the University of Florida, the 6-foot Thompson made the team last year, though like many a backbencher, showed more potential in preseason than when the games turned real. Well, the latter had more to do with Baltimore having established option ahead of Thompson (who caught five passes for 51 yards) and that he lost his kick returner job to Jacoby Jones, which kept the rookie off the 53-man roster most weeks. Seeing as Jones previously lost an NFL WR2 job, it is conceivable that one of the Ravens sleeper candidates emerges. With his burst and route-running prowess, Thompson is indeed one to watch.
WR Marlon Brown, DEN - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Update (9-7): A source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee during Thursday's loss to the Broncos, and he will miss four-to-six weeks. Jones suffered the injury when a teammate,Brynden Trawick, collided with him as he prepared to field a punt. Jones' right knee hyperextended and he didn't return to the game. Already a low-end receiver option at best, Jones can be released in all leagues where he's a pure WR option. For the second straight week, the TD scoring Brown is a waiver wire option.
Profile: The undrafted wide receiver from Georgia paced the Ravens during preseason with 10 receptions for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Those numbers alone mean squat, especially when the starters played minimal snaps in those games. The difference here is that this unknown target sports a 6-foot-5 frame made for the red zone - and he actually made the final roster. Also, Baltimore's WR2 spot opposite Torrey Smith remains wide open unless you're one of those that believes Jacoby Jones is the guy (Hint, he's not). Though too risky to use in Week 1, Brown makes for an interesting flyer right now.
WR Tandon Doss, --- - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Based on his first two seasons, there is little reason to project a major impact from Tandon Doss in 2013. In 14 games last season, the former Indiana University star caught only seven passes. So why should fantasy owners pay attention to the 6-foot-2 target this summer? Without Anquan Boldin, the Ravens' No. 2 receiver slot is wide open with Jacoby Jones and Doss the primary contenders, followed by Tommy Streeter. Jones previously flamed out in a similar situation with the Texans and Doss reportedy shined during early workouts. It's doubtful he or any of the options will surpass Torrey Smith and Dennis Pitta as Joe Flacco's primary pass targets, but being someone must become the third choice.
WR Jacoby Jones, --- - Bust (overvalued)
Update (9-7): A source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones suffered a sprained MCL in his right knee during Thursday's loss to the Broncos, and he will miss four-to-six weeks. Jones suffered the injury when a teammate,Brynden Trawick, collided with him as he prepared to field a punt. Jones' right knee hyperextended and he didn't return to the game. Already a low-end receiver option at best, Jones can be released in all leagues where he's a pure WR option. For the second straight week, the TD scoring Marlon Brown is a waiver wire option.
Part of our fantasy football minicamp series involved whether Jacoby Jones is equipped to handle the starting spot opposite Torrey Smith now that Anquan Boldin will be catching passes in San Francisco. In a nutshell, no. The speedy Jones has ability and he used it to become a Pro Bowl returner last season, while catching 30 receptions for 406 yards and a touchdown. However, those passing numbers came as Baltimore's third receiver. When last we saw Jones in a starting role, a rather plum assignment opposite Andre Johnson with the Texans, he left everyone wanting more - and eventually had Houston showing him the door. Jones can deep and with Joe Flacco's arm strength, he makes for a compelling threat. For now he's the best bet to become the WR2 and with playing time comes opportunity. Still, he's yet to show he can handle the attention from defenses that comes with a starting role. Expect his name recognitiion to raise his draft value higher than future production. Becomes a touch more interesting in the final rounds, but even then there are other options with more WR4 upside.
WR Brandon Stokley, --- - Low Potential
Once a Raven, always a Raven? Stokley returns where his 14-year career began because he's a professional pass catcher and Baltimore needs more of that. Last season with the Broncos, Stokley hauled in 45 receptions for 544 yards and five touchdowns, Credible numbers considering his limited role, but don't project increased stats just because with the Ravens there is plenty of opportunity. Baltimore lacks a possession option now that Anquan Boldin is with the 49ers and Dennis Pitta is done for the season. Stokley isn't the answer, but he might be a decent option. Decent for the Ravens, not fantasy players. He's only draftable in truly deep leagues until further notice.