The Fantasy Football Impact of Zay Flowers to the Baltimore Ravens

May 01, 2023
The Fantasy Football Impact of Zay Flowers to the Baltimore Ravens

On Thursday before the NFL Draft even started, the Baltimore Ravens inked Lamar Jackson to a five-year mega deal extension. This came on the back of Baltimore signing Odell Beckham Jr. to a one-year incentive-laden deal in hopes of appeasing Jackson to sign the deal (which it appears it did).

After signing Beckham, not many expected the Ravens to address the wide receiver position early on in the draft. Then, Thursday night came and Baltimore made Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers the third receiver off the board at pick number 22. So, with Flowers now joining Beckham, Rashod Bateman, and Mark Andrews as Jackson's primary receiving options, how will he fare for fantasy football this season?

Click Here for more 2023 Player Profiles!

Zay Flowers Prospect Profile

This offseason, Flowers put on over 10 pounds of muscle, which made his 4.42-second 40-yard dash all the more impressive. He may need this because his efficiency numbers weren't all that impressive. A career 2.16 yards per route run and 6.75 yards after catch per reception were rather pedestrian numbers relative to other prospects.

But, despite his smaller stature, Flowers was a ball hawk in his final season and posted a contested catch rate of 58.3% in 2022. Flowers spent the majority of his time split out wide but also demonstrated an ability to play from the slot.

Below are two charts from Matt Harmon's Reception Perception, the first showing the percent of routes that Flowers ran by route concept and the second showing Flowers' success rate on those routes.

These charts give us further evidence that Flowers can provide the deep-threat ability that the Ravens are still looking to replace after trading away Marquise Brown.

How Zay Flowers Fits with the Baltimore Ravens

Since Lamar Jackson took over as a full-time starter for the Ravens, they have been one of the most run-heavy teams in the NFL. Since 2019, Baltimore has a 49.1% neutral-script (between 20% and 80% win probability) pass rate, which is the sixth-lowest rate in that time. That number has risen over the past two years to where the Ravens have been near or above the league median.

This is despite having an EPA per dropback of 0.142, the seventh-best in that span. Another interesting trend that may impact Flowers' fantasy potential is that Baltimore has used 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, and three wide receivers) at a league-low 37% rate since 2019. Granted, they haven't had a wide receiver trio like Bateman, Beckham, and Flowers in that time, but it certainly could impact Flowers' playing time from the jump.

It's important to note that the Ravens do have a new offensive coordinator this year in Todd Monken after moving on from Greg Roman. Monken last coached in the NFL as the offensive coordinator for the Browns in 2019 and was with the Buccaneers in the same role the three previous seasons.

The Bottom Line

Flowers is currently being drafted just outside the top 100 picks at 105 overall and is WR49. Both Beckham (102 overall) and Bateman (103.1 overall) are going just ahead of Flowers in drafts right now. We last saw Beckham play football in Super Bowl 55 (February 2021) and Bateman missed most of last season with a season-ending Lisfranc injury (though there are some positive reports on his health). Should Flowers earn the deep-threat role in Baltimore, as I suspect he will, that will make him an excellent best ball pick in the mid-to-late rounds of drafts. Because of the uncertainty around Beckham and Bateman's health at this point in the offseason, I would lean towards picking Flowers over both of these players and think Flowers is one of the best eighth-round picks right now.

About Author
Most Popular
Latest Articles