Ravens Fantasy News

Dennis Pitta getting his explosiveness back
Saturday, March 8, 2014, 2:08pm

Baltimore Ravens - [Full Article]

During four games in December after being activated, Ravens TE Dennis Pitta proved that his surgically repaired hip was structurally sound. He knocked off the rust quickly, catching 20 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown.

However, what Pitta didn't have was his trademark elusiveness after the catch, and he wasn't quite as quick or fast as in the past, which was understandable given the severity of the injury and his accelerated rehabilitation timetable.

“I’d be lying to you if I said I was 100 percent with my explosion and strength,” Pitta acknowledged during a news conference earlier this week to announce his five-year, $32 million contract that includes $16 million guaranteed and an $11 million signing bonus. “I didn’t have any pain and I felt good playing, but kind of that quickness and that explosion wasn’t all the way back, which was expected.”

Now, Pitta says he's getting closer to regaining his old form.

Fantasy Impact:

Pitta missed most of 2013 due to a hip injury and he was sorely missed in the Ravens’ passing game. Upon his return, he saw 33 targets in four games, putting him on pace to finish with the 3rd-most targets in the league. It’s not a solid sample size, but it’s still an indicator of what may come. (He finished with the 12th-most targets in 2012.) The big plus for Pitta heading into 2014 is the arrival of new OC Gary Kubiak who has been very TE-friendly throughout his career, specifically with the development of both Shannon Sharpe in Denver and Owen Daniels in Houston.


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Thursday, March 6, 2014, 10:41am

ESPN - [Full Article]

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his fiancée, who were involved in a domestic violence incident last month, plan to attend a couples seminar, coach John Harbaugh told reporters Wednesday.

Rice and Janay Palmer were both arrested for simple assault at a casino in Atlantic City, N.J., on Feb. 15. The two remain engaged to be married, according to Harbaugh.

"I've talked to Ray a lot, and really nothing to add other than what's been said already: The facts will determine the consequences, and we'll see where it goes," Harbaugh said at a news conference to announce the five-year, $32 million deal signed by tight end Dennis Pitta. "I haven't seen anything different, just like you haven't seen anything different. Ray has told me his side of it, and everything we've seen so far is very consistent with what he said."

Fantasy Impact:

A suspension could be forthcoming, but that will depend on the facts of the case, and those aren't entirely clear at this point. The Ravens seem satisfied with Rice's truthfulness.

Ravens sign Dennis Pitta to five-year deal
Friday, February 28, 2014, 4:24pm

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

The Ravens have locked up tight end Dennis Pitta, with the team confirming an agreement on a five-year contract.
The contract is worth $32 million, according to league sources.

Pitta and the Ravens got the deal done before Monday's deadline to use the franchise tag. That would have potentially been a complicated situation for the Ravens if they had to designate Pitta as a franchise player, because of the financial difference between the $6.709 million tight end tag and an $11.5 million wide receiver tag.
A grievance was expected to be filed through the NFL Players Association if the Ravens had designated Pitta as a tight end, on the basis that he often lines up wide of the formation like a receiver.

Fantasy Impact:

Pitta missed most of 2013 due to a hip injury and he was sorely missed in the Ravens’ passing game. Upon his return, he saw 33 targets in four games, putting him on pace to finish with the 3rd-most targets in the league. It’s not a solid sample size, but it’s still an indicator of what may come. (For what it’s worth, he finished with the 12th-most targets in 2012.) The big plus for Pitta heading into 2014 is the arrival of new OC Gary Kubiak who has been very TE-friendly throughout his career, specifically with the development of both Shannon Sharpe in Denver and Owen Daniels in Houston.

Ravens switching to a zone blocking scheme
Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 11:53am

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

The Ravens will have adjustments to make to Gary Kubiak's system, which emphasizes zone-blocking schemes, athletic linemen and running the football.

Fantasy Impact:

A zone-blocking running game could be good for Bernard Pierce, who was known as a solid one-cut runner coming out of college. With Ray Rice's future somewhat in question (due to his domestic violence incident), Pierce could see a much larger role in 2014.

Saints, Graham still 'several million dollars per season' apart
Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 11:22am

Fox Football Daily - [Full Article]

Jimmy Graham and the Saints remain several million dollars per season apart according to Mike Garafalo.

Fantasy Impact:

Graham will get the franchise tag if they can't come to an agreement, and if that's the case, Graham is expected to challenge his position as a tight end (and not a wide receiver). Dennis Pitta is in a similar position, so there is a reasonable chance that this argument finally gets resolved this offseason.

Monday, February 24, 2014, 12:08pm

MMQB - [Full Article]

Peter King on the Ray Rice situation...

Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said something telling about the alleged altercation between running back Ray Rice and his fiancée, Janay Palmer, at an Atlantic City casino last weekend. “Right now, I feel very good about his side of the story.” If so, then Rice must have given team officials a version that involves either self-defense or overt provocation by Palmer. Not that either one of those explanations would justify domestic abuse, if there was abuse. And regardless of the circumstances, if Rice did lay a hand on Palmer, he’ll be branded an abuser and likely face league or team discipline because of it. And rightfully so. What’s disappointing for the Ravens, and for Rice, is that he’d become to some the face of the franchise, a leading spokesman in the fight against bullying and an unselfish person in the community. Rice and Palmer were both charged with simple assault-domestic violence after the incident, and a court date has not been set. Rice already had one 2014 challenge on his hands—making sure his 660-yard season was a fluke. This problem will dwarf that one.

Fantasy Impact:

Rice owners are bracing for the worst. He will likely face league discipline if he struck his fiance.

Sunday, February 23, 2014, 11:20am

Aaron Wilson, Twitter - [Full Article]

Ravens reserve wide receiver Deonte Thompson arrested charged with possession of marijuana according to Gainesville, FL Police Department.

Saturday, February 22, 2014, 8:29pm

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

Ravens HC Jim Harbaugh said backup running back Bernard Pierce is expected back by the first day of training camp. Pierce had rotator cuff surgery on his right shoulder.

Fantasy Impact:

Pierce could be in for a big role in 2014 if Ray Rice's off-field issues continue to spiral downward.

Friday, February 21, 2014, 2:11pm

Robert Klemko, Twitter - [Full Article]

Source says police have yet-to-be-released video of Ray Rice knocking fiancée unconscious before dragging her. Expect a suspension.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 10:26am

Adam Caplan, Twitter - [Full Article]

No progress yet for Jimmy Graham and Saints. If, as expected, he’s tagged as a TE, expect an immediate grievance to be tagged as a WR.

Fantasy Impact:

All "move" TEs line up in the slot or outside quite a bit, that's just part of the job these days in the NFL. Meanwhile, very few WRs spend time lined up inside, so it's not clear why a TE like Graham (or Dennis Pitta, who may also file a grievance) feel they have solid ground on which to stand.

Ray Rice arrested after domestic dispute in Atlantic City
Monday, February 17, 2014, 11:09am

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

Ravens running back Ray Rice and his fiancee were arrested over the weekend after a fight at a casino in Atlantic City, according a statement from the Atlantic City Police Department.

Casino security called officers to the Revel Casino at about 2:50 a.m. Saturday after a domestic dispute between Rice and Janay Palmer that was recorded by video surveillance, according to a statement from police. Footage appeared to show both parties involved in a physical altercation.

“The complaint summons indicates that both Rice and Palmer struck each other with their hands,” the statement said.

Both refused medical attention and did not report any injuries. Rice, 27, and Palmer, 26, were charged with simple assault-domestic violence and were released on a summons to appear in court.

Rice's attorney, Andrew Alperstein, described the allegations as a “very minor physical altercation” with Palmer.

Fantasy Impact:

This incident probably won't impact his 2014 status, but it's not the way that Rice wants to start the offseason after a disappointing 2013.

49ers, Anquan Boldin working on multi-year extension
Monday, February 17, 2014, 11:02am

CSN Bay Area - [Full Article]

The 49ers acquired wide receiver Anquan Boldin in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens and paid him a $6 million salary. Now, the sides are negotiating a multi-year extension that could prevent Boldin from being available when free agents can begin negotiating with other teams on March 8.

Fantasy Impact:

Boldin actually increased his production upon Michael Crabtree’s return. He averaged 4.7-66-.45 without Crabtree and 5.7-83-.43 with Crabtree in the lineup. The 49ers are likely to re-sign him, but he’ll probably be a solid fantasy WR3 wherever he lands.

Saturday, February 15, 2014, 9:46am

BaltimoreRavens.com - [Full Article]

Expect Ray Rice to return to his marquee position in the Ravens offense.

With Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak’s run-first offense, Rice will see plenty of action in 2014. And the offense’s success will largely rest on his stocky legs.

“I think as he goes, we’ll go,” Kubiak said of Rice in an interview with BaltimoreRavens.com.

“Our goal is to get him going, and he’s excited to get going and put last year behind him.”

Kubiak shared the carries between Arian Foster and backup Ben Tate in Houston. And he’ll do the same in Baltimore with Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.

“I think in this league nowadays you need a couple of guys,” Kubiak said. “It’s hard to hand it to one guy 30 times a game; they just get worn down. It’ll take both of them. They’re very talented and if we can get both of them going, the better we’ll be.”

Fantasy Impact:

The article doesn't really shed a ton of light on the situation, other than the fact that Kubiak seems committed to getting Rice going again. But then he compares Pierce to Arian Foster. Rice looked like an "old" 26 year-old, but said after the season that he struggled all year with a hip injury.

Ray Rice wished he had 'thought twice' about playing through hip injury
Monday, February 3, 2014, 8:33pm

Fox Sports - [Full Article]

Ray Rice is using last season’s adversity as fuel for a redemption campaign in 2014.

The Ravens’ running back battled a hip injury, which limited his ability to make cuts and accelerate. The injury persisted all season and hindered Rice’s ability to explode for big gains.

“I played through an injury and I probably should have thought twice about it, but I’m glad I was able to push through the season and not have any surgical procedures,” said Rice, who was speaking at an event promoting BODYARMOR Superdrink. “One thing I know my body needed was rest, and we had a tough turnaround, and we didn’t do what we wanted to this year, but I’m positive that things are looking better for next year already. We’ll get this thing rolling again."

For an offense that is built around the run, the Ravens were never able to adapt to Juan Castillo’s zone-based schemes. The Ravens’ rushing offense finished last in the NFL in yards per carry. Castillo, who was hired to be the team’s run game coordinator, has been tabbed as the offensive line coach for next season. The Ravens’ running game should be buoyed by the hiring of offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.

Kubiak’s stretch-zone scheme suits the Ravens’ personnel more naturally. Opposed to relying on the passing game of Joe Flacco, Kubiak prefers balance and using the run to set up the pass. The offensive linemen will be called upon to move laterally, and the running backs must thrive in a one-cut system.

Fantasy Impact:

Rice is only 27 years old, so he shouldn't be hitting the wall age-wise. It sounds as if he never fully recovered from the hip injury, so a bounce back season is entirely possible if he can stay healthy in 2014. Kubiak's arrival should help as well.

Gary Kubiak 'very impressed' with Dennis Pitta
Monday, February 3, 2014, 11:13am

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

The arrival of new Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak could provide a boost to the production of tight end Dennis Pitta.

Kubiak's offensive game plans over the years with the Houston Texans -- and previously with the Denver Broncos -- have been friendly toward athletic tight ends like Pitta.

“I remember studying Dennis, and I’m very impressed with him as a player," Kubiak said. "I know he went through a tough year this year with getting injured, but that position has always been a big part of our offense. I’m sure it won’t be any different.”

Fantasy Impact:

We had Pitta as a mid-TE1 prior to the injury, so that's roughly where he'll be ranked heading into 2014 with a TE-friendly coach like Kubiak.