The Mystery That Is The Ravens Backfield
Donald Gibson explains why you should avoid Ravens’ running backs in 2016 fantasy football drafts.
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Full disclosure: I’m a Ravens fan.
I’ve lived in Baltimore my whole life, and I was four when the team moved here. They’ve been my team ever since.
The Ravens generally can’t be trusted in fantasy. The offense just isn’t there, and it never really has been.
This year is one of the worst in recent memory.
In terms of passing offense, we have Flacco who is an above average (I’m not going to use the “E” word) real-life quarterback, but never really blows up the stat sheets. The receiving corp is made up of Steve Smith coming off a torn Achilles, Breshad Perriman who has as many knees as a jellyfish, Mike Wallace who used to play for the Steelers so his ability is questionable at best, and Kamar Aiken who was actually a solid receiver at the end of last year – especially in points-per-reception (PPR) leagues. Hopefully one of our trillion tight ends will show up. Who knows?
The rushing offense is a mess too.
Justin Forsett, 30, is coming off a broken arm. Javorius “Buck” Allen stepped in for Forsett at the end of last season and was particularly involved in the passing game, recording 5.3 catches per game from the game that Forsett got hurt through the end of the season. As if the situation between those two wasn’t confusing enough on its own, Terrance West – Baltimore area favorite, broke some rushing records at Towson University which may or may not be where I got my Master’s degree – broke out and is apparently outperforming the other backs in camp. Oh yeah, and the Ravens drafted Kenneth Dixon who at one point last season broke the NCAA touchdown record.
I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s a mess.
In the first preseason game against the Panthers, Forsett didn’t play. West started and had two touchdowns while averaging less than three yards per carry, Buck Allen averaged one yard per carry but scored on a 19-yard receiving touchdown, and Dixon averaged almost five yards per carry. Well that didn’t help much.
I wish I had a secret gem to offer you. I don’t. I have no idea who the starter is going to be. Forsett will get the first shot assuming he’s healthy. After that, your guess is as good as mine. Hopefully, the rest of the preseason will give us some kind of enlightenment.
In terms of fantasy draft strategy, I’m generally staying away from the whole group. Forsett is currently being drafted at the 93rd pick, Allen at the 148th, Dixon at the 149th, and West at the 194th. I’m not touching Forsett at that price. If you’re feeling frisky and want to take a shot on one of the other three late in the draft, feel free. If I had to pick one, it would be Dixon, but I wouldn’t be excited about it. You shouldn’t be either.