Forsett should see his PPR upside increase due to new OC Marc Trestman's tendency to use his running backs in the passing game. Under Trestman, Matt Forte caught 176 passes in the last two seasons, including 102 catches in 2014. Forsett caught 44 passes last season, and could potentially see that number double if he's the RB1 for the Ravens in 2015. However, the loss of OC Gary Kubiak is likely to hurt the Ravens’ running game. As the #8 RB in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, he’ll likely hold more value in PPR formats than in standard formats in 2015.
The Ravens’ running back piled up 235 carries during his breakout 2014 season, but the team’s other backs combined for 167 carries, which is a lot. Forsett can expect the same load in 2015, but plenty of opportunity exists behind him. Lorenzo Taliaferro moved piles at times as a rookie in 2014 and could be a short-yardage option, but my eyes are on rookie Buck Allen, who totaled almost 2,000 rushing and receiving yards for Southern Cal last season.
We don't project Forsett to see as many carries as he did in 2014 under then-OC Gary Kubiak. His new coordinator, Marc Trestman, favors a pass-heavy approach, and over the past two seasons, Trestman's Bears only averaged 380 carries. Conversely, the Ravens racked up 448 carries last season. If Forsett sees the same share (52.5%) of the Bears' two-year average, it works out to 200 carries. We project the Ravens for around 408 carries, since the team has said it hopes to keep Kubiak's rushing principles in place and HC John Harbaugh is an offensive-minded coach who can ensure that happens. The Ravens drafted Javorius Allen to contribute, so we believe Forsett's share of carries drops to around 42%, which yields 170 carries. However, we project Forsett to set a career high in catches (61.8) since Trestman loves to use his running backs in the passing game. This makes Forsett a good 3rd round value, especially in PPR formats.
Ravens WR Breshad Perriman enters a very favorable position to put up some big numbers in his rookie season. He is the decided favorite to begin the season as a starter over Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro. He has a shot to become the Ravens' No. 1 receiver because coach John Harbaugh talked about how he wanted to reduce Steve L Smith's snaps to save on his wear and tear. And Perriman's speed is the perfect complement to Joe Flacco's strong arm.
Perriman probably won't make many short lists for rookie of the year before the season, because he's considered a more raw prospect than some of the wide receivers taken in the first round. He has to improve his route running and consistency catching the ball, which is why he fell to the Ravens at No. 26 overall.
"We got a guy with a tremendous amount of talent who’s only going to get better," assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. "I’m not going to say he’s 'elite' or this or that, but he’s a very talented guy. He’s motivated, he’s smart, it’s important to him, comes from a football family, and he’s on the come [up], and we’re going to get the most out of him as we can."
The interesting takeaway here may be that the team would like to limit Smith's snaps, though that may not be easy given the team's situation at receiver. Harbaugh recently talked up Brown, so perhaps he's planning to play Brown over Smith in some situations.
"We've seen Buck catch passes, we've seen Buck pass protect, so we know he can do it," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He has done it out here and looks very smooth doing it. He's running the ball well. We haven't had any surprises."
Allen will likely learn behind Justin Forsett, who just signed a three-year deal after having a career year under former OC Gary Kubiak. With OC Marc Trestman in the fold, we're expecting Forsett (and eventually, Allen) to be very active in the passing game.
If Pitta starts the season on PUP, he won't be eligible to play in the first six games. It's not often that rookie tight ends are fantasy relevant. It's a tough position to learn and since it's a "onesie" position in most fantasy leagues, there isn't a ton of demand. Maxx Williams has a chance to be a factor at the position given the opportunity he has for playing time in Marc Trestman's pass-happy offense. Under Trestman, Martellus Bennett finished as the #10 and #5 TE in both PPR and standard formats in the last two seasons. If Williams has a great summer, he may be TE2-worthy in fantasy drafts.
It’s still too early to know exactly when TE Dennis Pitta will be back on Sundays, but he’s back alongside his teammates at practice and feeling pretty good. Those ruling him out for 2015 should take pause.
Asked point blank whether he’ll play this season, Pitta rolled his eyes and chuckled.
“I’m optimistic,” he said. “I feel good. But obviously it’s a process. I have an idea in mind of where I’d like to be in a couple months, but at the same time you don’t know. I know what it felt like to do this one time. I’ve never known what it felt like to do it twice.”
In terms of the injury being healed, Pitta is 100 percent. In terms of him being back in football shape, he’s not there yet. He can run and cut, he said. He’s running routes and catching passes.
“I’m certainly encouraged by what I’m able to do on the field,” he said. “Being out there, running routes, catching the football, that’s what I love to do. So it’s fun to be able to do that a little bit.”
We're going to wait and see how Pitta's offseason progresses before counting him in for 2015. His potential recovery will have a big impact on Maxx Williams' playing time and upside in Marc Trestman's pass-happy offense.
"I'm happy with Breshad," Flacco said, per the team's official website. "He looks really good. He looks big, powerful, runs well."
At 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, Perriman gives Marc Trestman's offense good size along with insane 4.24 speed. Viewed as a replacement for the departed Torrey Smith, the rookie out of Central Florida also arrives with questions about his hands after too many drops in college. Flacco, though, insists that hasn't been an issue in Baltimore.
"His hands look like they're really good. He looks like he has big, strong hands," Flacco said. "He snatches the ball out of the air."
The Ravens needed a receiver to replace Torrey Smith and Perriman fits the bill. He has great speed, so he’ll complement Steve L. Smith’s intermediate game. Throw in a pass-happy OC Marc Trestman and a solid quarterback in Joe Flacco and it all adds up to potentially heavy snaps and targets for Perriman, presuming he can pick things up quickly as a rookie. It's obviously an upgrade for Flacco, considering how the receiving corps was shaping up prior to the draft.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 10:28am
Monday, May 11, 2015, 9:37am
Wide receiver Darren Waller wasn't a difficult target for quarterbacks to find during the Ravens' rookie minicamp this past weekend. As he towered over defensive backs, the sixth-round NFL draft pick barely had to jump to catch a series of downfield passes.
At 6 feet 6, 238 pounds, with the athleticism to run the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds and record a 37-inch vertical leap, Waller is an intriguing developmental project because of his rare size-speed combination. He's the tallest and heaviest wide receiver on the Ravens' roster.
It's very unlikely that Waller will make much of a fantasy impact in 2015, but given his physical attributes, he's a player to monitor in dynasty formats.
Monday, May 11, 2015, 9:32am
WR DeAndre Carter is only 5 feet 8 and 185 pounds, but he was one of the quickest and most active players on the field in the portion of Ravens’ mincamp open to reporters on Saturday.
Carter was a coveted college free agent, but he looks up to Steve Smith, so signing with the Ravens made sense. He also had an extremely prolific college career, albeit against lesser competition. Carter caught 99 passes for 1,321 yards and 17 touchdowns last season and has return skills that could come into play with the Ravens looking to replace Jacoby Jones.
The article goes on to say that the Ravens' receiving lineup will be tough to crack, but the team is generally hurting for playmakers at the position. If Carter displays a skill set that the team needs, then he'll make the cut.
“In Denver — Anderson would hate me for saying this — but he got tired and was a little chubby sometimes,” Gase said. “I mean, he got worn down quick and then we had to rotate backs in last year.”
Anderson's fatigue might have something to do with the 24.0 touches he averaged over the final eight games. Over that span, he averaged 132 total yards and 1.3 TD, and was the #1 fantasy running back. If the Broncos commit to Anderson, he should thrive under new HC Gary Kubiak, who just coaxed a career year out of journeyman Justin Forsett.
“We felt like the tight end was someone we really wanted,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said. “This offense we’ll be running is very tight end friendly.”
The Ravens lost Owen Daniels to free agency and Dennis Pitta is very iffy for the season as he recovers from a bad hip injury, so Williams is a need pick. If his offseason goes well, he could start immediately in new OC Marc Trestman’s pass-happy offense. This means he could be fantasy relevant as a rookie, a rarity for a rookie tight end.
The San Francisco 49ers may only be two days into minicamp and a few weeks into the offseason program, but Torrey Smith said Wednesday that the chemistry is already building between him and his new quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The two aren’t new acquaintances; Smith said that he and Kap had trained at the same facility in past offseasons. He referenced Kaepernick’s “cannon” and how it differs from the strong arm of his former Baltimore Ravens teammate Joe Flacco.
“Joe (Flacco) has a great arm, probably the strongest arm in the league, but Kap’s is something different with that velocity,” Smith said. “I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s something different.”
“He’s doing a great job,” Smith said. “Ya’ll aren’t out there, but some of the throws he made yesterday were ridiculous.”
“It was cover two and I had a conversion,” Smith said. “It turned into a deep route and there was a small, a really small window for him to make the throw between (Antoine) Bethea and myself. If he put too much air on it, the ball is going to get tipped in a real game, and I’m going to get knocked out. But, he threw it where only I could get it and I didn’t break stride. And it was on a rope, 35 yards on a rope. It would have been a touchdown. It was ridiculous.”
It was reported earlier in the offseason that the team planned to utilize Kaepernick’s running ability to a greater degree. Kaepernick ran the ball 12 more times in 2014 than he did in 2013 for an additional 115 yards, so it's not like he abandoned the scramble. It sounds like it's more about utilizing the read-option as a larger part of the offense. If that's the case, it could be a boon to Kaepernick's fantasy value. He was the #14 QB in 2014 after finishing #9 the season before, though his overall production only dipped by 11 fantasy points. He's a bounce-back candidate provided new OC Geep Chryst can design an offense that can move the ball. Chryst previously served as the OC for the Chargers in 1999 and 2000, but his offenses ranked 26th and 28th overall in that span. Any gains that Kaepernick can make as a thrower (due to his offseason work with QB coach Dennis Gile and former Rams/Cardinals QB Kurt Warner) will only help his overall value, and early reports describe a 'radically different' throwing motion.
Even though the Browns have revamped their passing game with wide receivers Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe, coach Mike Pettine has been clear Cleveland will go as far as Crowell – and fellow rookie Terrance West – can take them.
Instead of developing a rivalry for who gets the most carries, Crowell and West have embraced each other, and have even made a pact together. Somehow they kept it under the social media radar, but Crowell flew up to Baltimore this offseason to get some workouts in with West, and, in turn, West flew down to Atlanta.
That pact? Both Crowell and West want to rush for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Crowell said the offense is generally similar to last season’s scheme, but there will be distinctions.
Two hints from Crowell: The pass protection is different and we will see him more as a receiver out of the backfield.
Once the Browns were done with Ben Tate (Week 11), Crowell out-touched Terrance West 90 to 68 over the final seven games, but West had the last laugh, turning 20 touches into 106 yards and a TD against the Ravens in Week 17. (A seemingly healthy Crowell touched the ball five times for 22 yards.) The Cleveland running backs averaged 26.6 carries per game, so if the new offense does indeed feature the backs as receivers, there should be 30 or so touches for Crowell and West to split each week. Last season, HC Mike Pettine was handing out touches based on practice performance, so Crowell's current ADP (in the 5th round) seems steep given his uncertain workload and Cleveland's projected offensive struggles.
Part of that breath of fresh air has to include playing with Andrew Luck after cycling through several quarterbacks while with the Texans. Matt Schaub was the most accomplished player of that group and Johnson showed them all some kindness by putting a unnecessary qualifier on his assessment of Luck’s skills.
“He throws a great ball,” Johnson said. “Probably the best quarterback I’ve ever played with. I’m excited about the opportunity.”
Johnson will likely start opposite T.Y. Hilton. It’s a big upgrade from a quality-of-quarterback standpoint, as he has never played with one as good as Andrew Luck. His targets are likely to take a hit, however. He averaged 9.7 T/G in 2014, while Hilton and Reggie Wayne led the Colts with 8.7 and 7.7 T/G, respectively. So this looks like a case of the targets dropping but the quality of those targets increasing. After finishing in the top 10 (in PPR) in five of his previous six seasons, Johnson finished #28 in 2014. He’s turning 34 this offseason, so it may be foolhardy to expect a huge bounceback season, but low-end WR2 numbers in PPR formats seem reasonable.
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