2012 Fantasy Football Preview: Baltimore Ravens

Contributed by: Al king
Last Updated: Jul 13, 2012 11:27 AM





Defense, defense, defense! That's how the Ravens have played since arriving in Baltimore. This type of play has awarded them with a Super Bowl and an overall record of 140-115-1.

The tide may be changing this season however, as their defensive superstars (Ray Lewis, Ed Reed) are aging, one is out for the year (Terrell Suggs) and their offense is bringing in weapons to stretch it down field.

With Ray Rice currently in a holdout and Flacco also coming in to a contract year, both players could play well looking for a hefty paycheck after the season. If this is the case then the offense will work wonders all year long and have plenty of fantasy value moving forward.

(CALM AND COLLECTED JOE COOL) QB JOE FLACCO: The strong-armed kid from Delaware University has put in five seasons now in the NFL and has had a pretty solid career up until now. His fantasy career hasn't been as great, but the before mentioned contract year could change that quickly.

Flacco has plenty of arm to hit deep threats like Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. The last three seasons Flacco has thrown for at least 20 touchdowns and 3,600 yards. It's time to take off the training wheels and show his worth this season.

Projections: 3,800 yards, 29 TD, 12 int

(PAY THE MAN!) RB RAY RICE: Rice is currently slapped with the franchise tag worth $7.7 million to play out the 2012 season. He is looking for a contract extension in the neighborhood of some of the top running backs in the league like Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson.

He is well worth the money, only problem is he may be a couple years late. The NFL is changing and teams are afraid to lock up running backs now due to the short shelf life they have. A dual-threat out of the backfield, Rice is a great rusher and receiver. He accounted for 38.1 percent of the team's total offense last season and plays a pivotal role in every game.

He is in line for a GIGANTIC year if he gets the contract he is seeking, and has came out and said he plans to have a big year with or without the extension.

Projections: 300 att, 1,420 yards 12 TD/ 70 rec, 690 yards, 2 TD

Anquan Boldin came over from the Cardinals three seasons ago and has yet to have a 1,000-yard receiving season in a Ravens uniform. That streak could end this year as the Ravens have finally brought in some depth at the wide receiver by way of Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones which could move Boldin back into his natural position, the slot.

In that position Boldin has eclipsed 1,000 yards five of his seven seasons there. He should have a great bounce-back season and be well worth his current ADP of 100.

Projections: 85 rec, 1,050 yards, 9 TD

(HIGH CEILING/A LITTLE OVERVALUED?) WR TORREY SMITH: Torrey Smith flew on to the radar last season as a rookie. He finished the year with 841 yards and 7 TD. Smith is the perfect fit for Cam Cameron's offensive style, a style that employs many deep routes which is Smith's specialty.

He is a speedster and posted an impressive 16.8 yards per catch average. A very popular pick among sleepers, he may be a bit overvalued. It is always tough to judge a deep ball specialist like Smith and unless his route-running skills have become polished over the offseason you can expect a very inconsistent season from him.

Smith had a tendency to disappear in games last season and could do much of the same this season. If you draft him you have to be prepared to endure this over the course of the season.

Projections: 55 rec, 900 yards, 6 TD

(I SUPPOSE I CAN TALK ABOUT HIM) WR JACOBY JONES: Possibly one of the biggest fantasy disappointments year in and year out, Jones is finally out of Houston and away from Kevin Walter. Jones could possibly be given a bigger role in Baltimore who has been hungry for an outside receiver.

The job is his to lose and if he shows more of the same he just may lose it. If he does seal the job when they run three wide sets Jones could at least be a decoy to free up the other two. Sorry for the tough love but it is what it is.

Projections: 30 rec, 550 yards, 1 TD

Last season this duo showed flashes of greatness. But like every flash they were there, then gone. One week the dual tight ends looked unstoppable and the next they looked lost. There is no doubt that they are both talented tight ends but also appeared to cancel each other out.

This season the Ravens are looking to run a lot of two tight end sets much like the New England Patriots, the only fear here is that, for fantasy purposes, they can once again limit each others statistical possibilities. Ed Dickson currently sits atop the depth chart and would be the one to target but not by much more. Unless one of these guys get off to a blistering start they may both be middle of the pack type fantasy TEs.

Projections: Ed Dickson: 55 rec, 620 yards, 6 TD
                        Dennis Pitta: 45 rec, 500 yards, 3 TD

SLEEPER: ED DICKSON: Even though Dickson may be battling Dennis Pitta for playing time, I lean more towards Ed Dickson. Dickson is the more athletic of the two and could get off to the type of start he needs to keep Pitta's targets low. The Ravens have said they would like to run a Patriots-like two tight end set, meaning Dickson will be on the field plenty.

ROOKIE TO WATCH: RB BERNARD PIERCE: With Ray Rice currently holding out, Pierce is getting valuable reps with the first team offense. The third-round pick from Temple University has good size and will serve as the direct back up to Ray Rice.

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