Scheme and Metrics- we'll take a look at each of the 32 teams and look at a combination of offensive scheme/philosophy and some player metrics to give us something else to think about when drafting our fantasy squads this summer. In this edition, we'll look at the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens offense finds itself in a major state of transition between new players and the first full training camp with Lamar Jackson running the offense. Here's what I'm looking at:
• Yes, the Ravens offense in the second half of the season was one of the run-heaviest that we'll ever see, but it helped lead them to the playoffs, so it's tough to argue with it. Their offensive coordinator is Greg Roman, who was an assistant head coach with the Ravens last year. He was an outstanding designer of high-level rushing attacks with the 49ers and Bills earlier this decade.
• Lamar Jackson will continue to be the leader of the offense, and his strongest suit is his ability to be a game-breaking runner. However, if the team continues to run him 17 times per game, it'll be almost a miracle if he holds up for 16 games. The team spent high draft picks on Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin at WR, so the team clearly has a plan to have Jackson throw the ball more than last year. They also added Mark Ingram to give them a diverse runner who help the team have a more conventional rushing attack.
• If backup RB Justice Hill gets on the field, he has a 97th percentile 40-yard-dash, and 95th percentile explosiveness, and he could be a major home run hitter with a mobile QB like Jackson.
• Marquise Brown has high-end speed, but at 5'9" and 166 pounds, there is very little precedent for a WR that small having sustained success in the NFL.
• Mark Andrews had a few long plays after getting behind defenses that were loaded up to stop Jackson and the run- his 84th percentile speed helped make that happen, but if defenses aren't as compact this year, all of his other measurables are below-average, making it unlikely he'll build on the good numbers he produced last season.
• Miles Boykin is in at least the 90th percentile in all major measurables while being a 94th percentile SPARQ athlete. If the WRs are going to see single coverage, he's the player most likely to make enough noise to contribute.
• RBs like Ingram have had phenomenal seasons while playing alongside a mobile QB- he's way better than the replacement-level RBs the Ravens had last year- between him and Jackson, the Ravens should have another great year running the ball.
• The success of the run game will lead to stacked boxes, also daring Jackson to beat them through the air, and if Jackson develops at all as a passer, Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin and Mark Andrews may provide big-play potential to provide a good passing attack.
• When the Chargers played the Ravens in the playoffs (after facing them two weeks prior) they played seven DBs and completely stymied the offense until the game was out of hand in the second half. With a blueprint out, if Jackson isn't a threat to be a good passer, this offense can be neutralized.
• The primary WRs are rookies, and playing with a very raw passer at QB, there could be massive chemistry concerns.
• I do like Ingram as an RB2 this year because of the boost that Jackson will provide, and although Justice Hill is lurking, he weighs less than 200 pounds, so Ingram should be safe in the grinder and short-yardage role. He also could be the primary third-down runner due to his ability to pass protect.
• I am very concerned that Jackson isn't going to develop as a passer, and the book is out on how to slow him down as a runner. That makes me think that he'll have too many bad weeks to trust as a fantasy option. I'd like him better in best-ball leagues, but his price may be too high.
• If I have to gamble on one lottery-ticket player from this team very late in a draft, it's Miles Boykin.