Ravens Fantasy News

Flacco: Ray Rice showing 'explosion'

Friday, July 4, 2014, 4:10pm

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

When Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco handed the football off and threw swing passes to Ray Rice this spring, he had a close-up view of the three-time Pro Bowl running back's physical transformation. Rice had regained much of his old quickness, displaying an ability to run away from defenders that all but disappeared during the worst season of his NFL career last year. Rice has lost roughly 20 pounds since last season, when he weighed as much as 225 pounds while struggling with hip and quadriceps injuries that robbed him of his ability to elude pursuit or break tackles. "I think we’ve looked really good, and [Rice] has done a great job of pressing, cutting, getting in there and having the explosion afterward," said Flacco. "He’s shown a lot."

Fantasy Impact:
At just 26 years old, it was surprising to see Rice's production fall off the way it did, but he was dealing with hip and quad injuries throughout the season. He was also coming off of a Super Bowl run the previous year, which likely wore him down. GM Ozzie Newsome said he expects Rice to return to Pro Bowl form, but HC John Harbaugh said after the season that the team could take more of a committee approach at running back, which would limit Rice's upside. Still, assuming his offseason legal issues don't impact his availability, he is a bounceback candidate in Gary Kubiak's offense.

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Ravens may rely 'heavily' on two-TE sets

Saturday, June 28, 2014, 2:08pm

Pro Football Talk - [Full Article]

Are the Ravens ready to regularly use formations that will get Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels on the field at the same time? According to Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report, Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has pondered the prospect of “relying heavily” on formations using two tight ends because of Daniels’ encouraging offseason after missing most of 2013 with a broken fibula.

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. There are those that are worried about Daniels' arrival stunting Pitta's upside, but if Baltimore plays a lot of 12 (two-TE) formation, it shouldn't impact Pitta negatively. If there are two tight ends on the field, there won't be a lot of snaps for a third WR, so Marlon Brown stock continues to sink. He'll fight with Jacoby Jones for limited snaps as the Ravens' WR3.

Ravens' deep passing game should improve in 2014

Friday, June 27, 2014, 9:17am

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

Why did Baltimore's deep passing game struggle in 2013? For one, Ravens QB Joe Flacco never appeared to consistently be on the same page with his receivers. The quarterback had far too many ill-advised decisions or imprecise throws and his receivers also dropped their fair share of balls. Two, the offensive line’s struggles often made Flacco get rid of the ball quicker than he wanted, preventing deep routes from developing. And three, the departure of Anquan Boldin and the injury to Dennis Pitta took away the Ravens’ two primary underneath threats who work the middle of the field. With them not on the field, the defense could roll a safety and focus on not allowing Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones to get free deep. But that third issue shouldn’t be a problem this year, not with the addition of Steve L Smith, Owen Daniels and OC Gary Kubiak calling the plays. “It is definitely [about how you] get the ball out of your hands, because there’s always a route somewhere that you can get the ball out to, and as a quarterback, you have to know when you have a problem and when you have to get it out,” Flacco said last week. “I think that’s the biggest thing with going through your progressions and having a set progression for this, for that. There’s no real guess work, there’s no real gray area, and that allows you to get the ball out real quick.” Whether it also leads to Flacco reviving his team’s deep passing game remains to be seen but the pieces certainly appear to be in place for the Ravens to improve in that area.

Fantasy Impact:
Losing Anquan Boldin to free agency and Dennis Pitta to injury certainly hurt Flacco, who finished #19 after three straight top 14 finishes. Pitta is back, but Boldin is still gone, though the team acquired Steve L Smith to replace him. Expect more low-end QB2 numbers given all the depth at QB. Flacco is a bounce back candidate if things break his way.

Ray Rice looks 'noticeably leaner,' showing 'quickness and a burst'

Sunday, June 22, 2014, 8:19am

Baltimore Ravens - [Full Article]

Ravens RB Ray Rice looks noticeably leaner and exhibits quickness and a burst, all good signs, but the big question with him is whether he can make defenders miss him again. It's a skill that eluded him in 2013, and I don't know that training camp or the preseason will provide an answer. We won't know until the fall, when defenders are bringing their "A" games.

Fantasy Impact:
At just 26 years old, it was surprising to see Rice's production fall off the way it did, but he was dealing with hip and quad injuries throughout the season. He was also coming off of a Super Bowl run the previous year, which likely wore him down. GM Ozzie Newsome said he expects Rice to return to Pro Bowl form, but HC John Harbaugh said after the season that the team could take more of a committee approach at running back, which would limit Rice's upside. Still, pending discipline from the league due to his off the field issues, he is a bounceback candidate in Gary Kubiak's offense.

Sunday, June 22, 2014, 8:15am

Baltimore Ravens - [Full Article]

Ravens OC Gary Kubiak's unit looked fast-paced and sure of itself in practice. Joe Flacco's command of the new system was apparent. His passing was decisive and sharp. "I think we look pretty good," Flacco said. It was hard to argue. But looking good against an opposing defense is the next challenge.

Joe Flacco is 'really, really comfortable' in new offense

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 6:45pm

Baltimore Ravens - [Full Article]

No player on the Ravens had more on his plate during OTAs and mandatory minicamp than quarterback Joe Flacco, who is at the epicenter of new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak’s system. When the mandatory minicamp ended Thursday, Flacco was decidedly upbeat about how things have progressed, both individually and collectively. “Throughout the last couple of weeks, I’ve been able to get really, really comfortable, get back there, go through my reads and have a lot of fun,” Flacco said in a session with reporters. “I feel great. Everything is fresh, new. It’s been enjoyable.”

Fantasy Impact:
Losing Anquan Boldin to free agency and Dennis Pitta to injury certainly hurt Flacco, who finished #19 after three straight top 14 finishes. Pitta is back, but Boldin is still gone, though the team acquired Steve L Smith to replace him. Expect more low-end QB2 numbers given all the depth at QB.

Ray Rice looking 'much lighter on his feet'

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 6:34pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Ravens RB Ray Rice is much lighter on his feet, the result of not carrying as much weight. There were a couple of times when he showed off elusiveness in between the tackles. It was a rare sight to see Rice fake out tacklers in the open field last year.

Fantasy Impact:
Rice is a bounceback candidate in Gary Kubiak's offense, but is facing suspension.

Ravens WR Marlon Brown has a 'tough minicamp'

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 6:31pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

It was a tough minicamp for Ravens wide receiver Marlon Brown, who was turning heads last year at this time as an undrafted rookie. He dropped too many passes throughout the week and some were uncontested.

Fantasy Impact:
Brown had a nice rookie season and would be a sleeper this year if not for the arrival of Steve L Smith. If he continues to struggle in training camp, he will lose snaps to Jacoby Jones, who has caught the ball pretty well since joining the Ravens.

Ravens 'not aware' of any timetable for Ray Rice suspension

Thursday, June 19, 2014, 6:26pm

Baltimore Ravens - [Full Article]

The Ravens are still awaiting word on the status of running back Ray Rice following his meeting this week with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. When asked if he was aware of when the league would issue a ruling on potential discipline for Rice, Ravens head coach Harbaugh replied: "Not to my knowledge. I'm not aware of any timetable on that at all." Rice is expected to be punished by Goodell under the league's personal conduct policy after being arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault in February at an Atlantic City, N.J., casino. Rice was arrested after a physical altercation with then-fiancee Janay Palmer, who he married after being indicted. Rice is facing a potential multi-game suspension and fines.

Fantasy Impact:
Rice is expected to face a multi-game suspension. Its length will have a big impact on his value heading into fantasy drafts this summer.

Dennis Pitta says his hip is '100 percent'

Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 11:40pm

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

Now, nearly 11 months after Ravens TE Dennis Pitta had surgery to repair a dislocated, fractured right hip, he is armed with a new contract and said that his hip “feels great” and he is back to full health. “It’s nothing I even think about when I’m at practice,” Pitta said Tuesday. “That’s a good sign. I feel like I’m at 100 percent and able to run and do what I need to do.” Pitta also said his explosiveness has returned, which “was a process.” Pitta returned for the final four games of 2013, and caught 20 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown. Throughout the spring, Pitta has lined up all over the offense. He's seen time split out wide, and also flanking the quarterback in the backfield. Pitta said his role may increase more, but he’s trying to get the base offense down during the spring before he can get in a position to be moved around the field even more.

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.

Ravens believe that Joe Flacco is a good fit for new offense

Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 11:29am

ESPN - [Full Article]

Throughout the entire offseason, the Baltimore Ravens have talked about how they believe quarterback Joe Flacco will succeed in Gary Kubiak's offense. "It’s a timing offense, and to me Joe is really built for that," coach John Harbaugh said. In Kubiak's new system, Flacco will likely be asked to get the ball out quicker than previous years. Kubiak is teaching Flacco to throw the ball when he hits the ball of his foot on the three-step drop. The West Coast offense is predicated on rhythm and quick releases.

Fantasy Impact:
Losing Anquan Boldin to free agency and Dennis Pitta to injury certainly hurt Flacco, who finished #19 after three straight top 14 finishes. Pitta is back, but Boldin is still gone, though the team acquired Steve L Smith to replace him. Expect more low-end QB2 numbers given all the depth at QB.

Monday, June 16, 2014, 5:51pm

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

Ravens RB Ray Rice and his wife met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell today at the league’s New York headquarters, one of the final steps for the embattled running back in dealing with his February offseason arrest before the start of the 2014 football season. Two sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed the meeting, which has been expected as Rice faces discipline under the NFL’s personal conduct policy stemming from an aggravated assault charge for allegedly striking his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, during an altercation in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino. It’s unclear how quickly Goodell will rule on Rice’s suspension. He traditionally meets with any player facing discipline before making a decision, which is the reason Rice was in New York today. The expectation is that Rice, who previously had a clean record, will get a multi-game suspension. The Ravens prepared for his expected early-season absence by signing veteran running back Justin Forsett and drafting back Lorenzo Taliaferro in the fourth round of this year's NFL draft. Bernard Pierce, Rice’s backup the past two seasons, is also slightly ahead of schedule in his return from offseason shoulder surgery, according to head coach John Harbaugh.

Joe Flacco looked 'much more comfortable' in recent OTA

Monday, June 16, 2014, 10:42am

Baltimore Sun - [Full Article]

According to multiple accounts, Ravens QB Joe Flacco looked much more comfortable in last week's OTAs than in the previous two, and there were fewer balls hitting the ground or winding up in the hands of a defender.

Fantasy Impact:
Losing Anquan Boldin to free agency and Dennis Pitta to injury certainly hurt Flacco, who finished #19 after three straight top 14 finishes. Pitta is back, but Boldin is still gone, though the team acquired Steve L Smith to replace him. Expect more low-end QB2 numbers given all the depth at QB.

Torrey Smith may not see as many deep balls in 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014, 10:38am

ESPN - [Full Article]

Ravens OC Gary Kubiak is known for not taking as many deep shots. In the past four seasons, Baltimore ranked second in air yards per pass attempt, which reflects how far the ball travels past the line of scrimmage to its target on average. In Houston, Kubiak's offenses were 27th in that category during the same period. If this trend continues under Kubiak, the Ravens could look to getting the ball quicker to Torrey Smith.

Fantasy Impact:
The article discusses Smith's reputation as a "one-trick pony" and how Kubiak's arrival might impact how many deep balls he sees in 2014. Smith was the #16 WR through 13 weeks, but petered out down the stretch with just 11 catches (for 176 yards and no TDs) in his final four games. He still posted career highs in catches (65) and yards (1,128), while his touchdowns (4) were a career low. He should bounce back in that category under new OC Gary Kubiak. The return of TE Dennis Pitta should also help loosen up the coverage, though Pitta’s return coincided with Smith’s swoon at the end of the season.

Thursday, June 12, 2014, 2:19pm

Baltimore Ravens - [Full Article]

n new Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak’s offense, FB Kyle Juszczyk will be a Swiss Army knife. He’ll line up all over the field from out wide, to on the end of the line and in the backfield. He’ll catch passes and lead block too. After catching zero passes as a rookie last season, Juszczyk could have a big season in 2014. “Coach Kubiak has said in our meetings that he could see me catching 40 or 50 balls this year, which would be a great start,” Juszczyk said. “I wouldn’t mind that one bit.”