Booms, Busts and Breakouts: Baltimore Ravens


As the mercury rises and we inch closer to training camp opens, our resident fantasy football aficionados, Brad Evans and Jeff Ratcliffe, profile their favorite booms, busts and breakouts for every NFL team. Today’s topic: The Fightin’ Edgar Allen Poes.


J.K. Dobbins, RB

Full disclosure: The demise of Mark Ingram is greatly exaggerated. Though on the wrong side of 30, the “geriatric’”back isn’t going to surrender workload to the whippersnapper without a fight. He’s tough as nails, a Clint Eastwood type who would shout at naysayers, “Get off my lawn!” then steamroll his way to 100 yards and two TDs. Deep-dive statisticians would agree. Ingram ranked RB25 in YAC per attempt (3.08) and RB17 in yards created per carry last year, chipping in an appreciable 19.3 missed tackle percentage. He’s good. 

Though with plenty of petrol to command the platoon’s heavy side, the incumbent is bound to surrender upward of 12-13 touches per game this fall. If that materializes, Dobbins is in great shape as a flexy sexy option early on with a sizable chance of commanding additional touches in the double-digit weeks. 

The rookie is wonderfully skilled. Shaped ideally for the NFL game at 5-foot-10, 209 pounds, he was very efficient last fall in Columbus. In Ohio State’s zone read system, he ranked RB4 in total yards after contact, RB12 in missed tackles forced and accumulated the most carries of 15-plus yards (31). His sharp vision, burst, contact balance and route versatility should stand out in Baltimore’s conservative and well-blocked scheme. One knee tweak away from RB1 numbers, he’s a terrific mid-draft target (RB29, 55.3 ADP). — Brad Evans

Marquise Brown, WR

Good things happen when Brown gets the ball in his hands. The speedy wideout found the end zone on 15% of his receptions, posting a healthy seven touchdowns on just 46 catches in his rookie season. He also notched four receptions of 40-plus yards. Admittedly, Brown was a bit of a fantasy roller coaster ride last season, but his highs were worth the lows, as he posted two top-10 weekly finishes on the year.

Of course, the big drawback here is Baltimore’s extremely run-heavy offense. Don’t expect that to change any time soon, but Brown can still eat with an anticipated increase in target volume. Last year he saw 71 targets, and I’m currently projecting him to see close to triple digits (95). That sort of uptick isn’t going to move him into the elite conversation, but it is enough to position him as a WR3 with weekly top-10 upside. But if you draft him, remember that his boom-or-bust profile will mean another roller coaster ride is likely this year. — Jeff Ratcliffe


Lamar Jackson, QB

Among consensus rankers, Jackson is viewed as the top man on the quarterback totem pole. As long as he doesn’t violently slam headfirst into another parked jet ski, the modern-day Michael Vick is bound to accumulate gaudy numbers in multiple categories. His production last season rewrote the history books. But ask yourself, is it sustainable? Examine his underlying data under a magnifying glass and an immediate conclusion is drawn. 

Jackson is more than capable of surpassing 900 rush yards once again, but he would be the first passer in league history to accomplish the feat. That’s far more believable compared to him crossing the 30 passing-TD threshold for a second straight season. The numbers don’t lie. Last fall, he chucked 20 TDs on 39 red-zone attempts. Absurd. As a comparison, Russell Wilson equaled the TD output, but it took him an additional 20 throws. Simply put, it’s highly unlikely the reigning MVP duplicates the 36 end-zone strikes logged in ‘19. Throwing accelerant onto the fire, he was merely average in a number of completion percentage categories — QB12 in red-zone, QB14 in overall adjusted and QB23 in deep ball.

In the end, circumventing Jackson (QB1, 26.2 ADP) for, say, Patrick Mahomes (QB2, 32.0) a few picks later is the savvy move. Recall, Drew Brees, nearly a decade ago, was the last QB to finish atop the position ranks in consecutive years. — Brad Evans

Mark Ingram, RB

It’s completely fair to say Ingram exceeded expectations last year. The veteran had an ADP of the 22nd running back selected in drafts and ended up finishing 10th for the season. That’s a solid ROI right there, but I’m not sure we should be basing this year’s outlook one last year’s performance.

Ingram was off-the-charts efficient last year, topping 5.0 yards per carry and scoring a whopping 15 touchdowns on just 228 touches. That touchdown number is key because high touchdown totals from the previous season almost always lead to an inflated view of a player for fantasy purposes. Based on his career production, expect some fairly heavy regression. I’m projecting a nearly 50% reduction in his scoring, with seven rushing scores and one receiving. Eight total touchdowns is still rock solid, but it’s a far cry from last season.

And it isn’t just regression that puts a damper on Ingram’s 2020 outlook. He’s also now on the wrong side of 30 years old and the Ravens drafted J.K. Dobbins on Day 2 of this year’s draft. Dobbins is almost certainly going to eat into Ingram’s touch share. While Ingram isn’t being drafted anywhere near as highly as he finished last year, there’s enough smoke here to avoid him at his current ADP as the 25th running back. That’s a place in drafts to shoot for upside, and unfortunately Ingram doesn’t offer that this year. — Jeff Ratcliffe


Miles Boykin, WR

Stare at Boykin’s workout metrics and it’s difficult to not get aroused. In every category imaginable, he ranks in the upper 11th-percentile among wide receivers. Speed, burst, agility, catch radius — from a pure talent perspective, he’s a SPARQ stud. Though overshadowed by Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews in Greg Roman’s pound-you-into-submission offense, the receiver sporadically flashed in his inaugural campaign. He enticed only 22 targets but recorded a stratospheric 17.9-yard average depth of target and 15.2 yards per catch. Most alluring, out of the 22 tosses seen from Jackson, 12 were of the red-zone variety. Tasty.

No team ran the rock more than Baltimore in 2019 and Boykin has plenty of competition for looks, but in a game with ample turnover, he’s a deep-round flier (WR85, 236.1 ADP) who could blossom at some point this year. — Brad Evans

Miles Boykin, WR

Dripping with athleticism, Boykin is poised to take a big step forward in 2020. The Notre Dame product only had 13 catches in his rookie season, but lIke Brown, he posted a high touchdown rate with three scores. However, unlIke Brown, Boykin was used more heavily downfield. Boykin saw a healthy 378 air yards on 22 targets for an average depth of target of 17.2 yards. That’s just over six yards further downfield on average than Brown was targeted.

Of course, the key to a breakout isn’t just Boykin’s aDOT. It’s his anticipates increased target share. I currently have him just over double last year’s target volume. While that still only puts him at just under 50 targets, that uptick will almost certainly translate to some fantasy-relevant weeks. LIke Brown, it will be a bumpy ride, but Boykin’s big frame and ability to get downfield in a hurry means big-play upside. He’ll be a player to keep on your short list of DFS punts. — Jeff Ratcliffe

Previous Tips for MLB short season fantasy drafts Next 9 RBs go in the first round of a 2021 mock draft