2022 Baltimore Ravens Team Outlook
With high-stakes fantasy football legend Shawn Childs anchoring Sports Illustrated's fantasy coverage, we decided to give our take on Shawn's Team Outlooks. While we won't always agree, Shawn's pedigree speaks for itself. Shawn has been a high-stakes Fantasy Football legend since 2004 when he had success in his first season (three titles and $25,000 in winnings). Childs has competed and won six-figures in all different formats – auctions, draft championships, main events, and high-dollar leagues. We dare you to find an expert who knows the NFL player pool better than Shawn Childs -- it can't be done!
The Baltimore Ravens are almost always in the postseaon mix due to stellar coaching and plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. Expect John Harbaugh's club to once again be well-prepared for a postseason run but the looming contract status of QB Lamar Jackson will be a concern for the franchise's future.
John Harbaugh returns for his 15th season as head coach for the Ravens. He has a 137-88 record with nine playoff berths and one Super Bowl title (2012). Last year the Ravens finished with a losing record (8-9) for the first time since 2007. Their demise started in Week 12, leading to a six-game losing streak to end the year. Over this span, they lost five games by a combined eight points while seeing Baltimore lose Lamar Jackson (ankle) for the season in Week 13.
Greg Roman returns for his fourth year as the offensive coordinator after spending the last two seasons as the Ravens' offensive assistant and assistant head coach. He led the offense of San Francisco and Buffalo over six seasons from 2011 to 2016. His strength is running the ball based on two top finishes in rushing yards for the Bills in 2015 and 2016 while ranking highly in his last three seasons with the 49ers (4th, 3rd, and 4th).
Last year, Baltimore fell to 17th in scoring (387 points – 81 fewer than 2020) while improving to sixth in offensive yards.
Mike Macdonald takes over as the Ravens' defensive coordinator. He worked in Baltimore's coaching tree from 2014 to 2020 before moving to Michigan to run their defense. His highest ranking coaching job in the NFL has been as a linebacking coach.
The Ravens' defense slipped to 25th in yards allowed and 19th in points given up (392 – 89 more than 2020).
Baltimore added S Marcus Williams and DT Michael Pierce to their defense. Williams remains active in run support while allowing minimal damage in the passing game. Over 76 career games, he has 15 interceptions and 38 defended passes. Pierce missed all of 2020 due to Covid-19 concerns. Calf and elbow issues led to nine missed games last season. His best value comes against the run. The only player lost from their defense was S Deshon Elliott, who signed a minimum contract with the Lions.
The Ravens brought in T Morgan Moses for depth after making 33 starts for Washington and the Jets over the past two years. They parted ways with C Bradley Bozeman and WR Sammy Watkins.
Their most significant move in the offseason was the trading of WR Marquise Brown to the Cardinals, along with a third-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft for the 23rd overall pick.
The focus of Baltimore's early draft was on their defense and offensive line – S Kyle Hamilton (1.14), C Tyler Linderbaum (1.25), DE David Ojabo (2.13), DT Travis Jones (3.12), T Daniel Faalele (4.5), and CB Jalyn Armour-Davis (4.14). The Ravens decided to upgrade their tight end depth with two acquisitions in the fourth round (Charlie Kolar and Isaiah Likely). They finished off their draft with P Jordan Stout (4.25), CB Damarion Williams (4.36), and RB Tyler Badie (6.18).
Baltimore led the NFL in rushing in 2019 (3,296 yards) and 2020 (3,071 yards). Even with injuries to their top two running backs and Lamar Jackson before Week 1 last season, the Ravens finished third in rushing yards (517/2,479/18).
Their passing game pushed to 13th in 4,267 passing yards while losing momentum in passing touchdowns (21) with 18 interceptions and 57 sacks (second-most in the NFL).
A healthy return of LT Ronnie Stanley would be a significant upgrade in the Ravens' offensive line. He's only played seven games over the past two seasons due to shoulder and ankle injuries. When at his best, Stanley is one of the better pass blockers with strength as well in run blocking. Baltimore upgraded the center position with the addition of Tyler Linderbaum. RG Kevin Zeitler tends to rank above the league average in all areas, but he is on the downside of his career. The Ravens have questions at left guard and right tackle. Overall, this offensive line has enough talent to finish above the league average with a sharp decline in sacks allowed.
The foundation of the Ravens' game plan and attack remains the same. They want to run the ball as much as possible while playing well on the defensive side of the ball. Last year, game score and poor pass protection shortened the passing window while also creating a bump in pass chances. Baltimore still doesn't have the proper structure at wide receiver to compete with the better teams in the league passing the ball. In 2022, the Ravens should regain the bounce in their scoring threat while continuing to run the ball early and often.
Baltimore led the NFL in rushing yards allowed (1,436), with ball carriers gaining 3.8 yards per carry. They allowed 13 touchdowns. Some of their success in yards was helped by offenses averaging 22.2 rushes per game.
The Ravens fell to last in the league in passing yards allowed (4,742) with 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Quarterbacks gained 8.0 yards per pass attempt while delivering only 34 sacks.
Baltimore's first order of business in the offseason was upgrading their safeties. The combination of Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton looks to be a positive step in their defensive rebuild. However, injuries to Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey hurt the Ravens' cornerback play in 2021.
Last year, their defensive line offered minimal sacks, which is needed to shorten the passing window for quarterbacks. I sense more questions than growth in this area in 2022. The future and upside of this defense come from LB Patrick Queen and LB Odafe Oweh.
The Ravens have an interesting defense as there seems to be as much risk as reward in the fantasy market. However, their cornerbacks can be beaten, so an improved pass rush is a must to hold passing offenses in check late in games.
QB Lamar Jackson, BAL - Stud (low risk)
Despite running the ball well again in 2022 (133/767), Jackson struggled to convert his rushes into touchdowns in the red zone. His only two scores on the ground came in in Week 2. He finished with the same completion rate (64.4) as 2020, but Jackson threw the most interceptions (13) of his career while also taking 38 sacks. His lack of passing window led to a decline in his passing touchdowns.
Jackson started the year on a career-high pace in passing yards (1,519) over five games. He gained an impressive 9.1 yards per pass attempt over this stretch with success in his completion rate (67.1). However, defenses caught up with the Ravens' offense over the next seven games, leading 1,363 passing yards with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Jackson gained only 6.3 yards per pass attempt during his downturn.
His season ended in Week 13 due to a right ankle injury.
Fantasy Outlook: Jackson remains one of the better running quarterbacks in the league, which sets a reasonable bar in fantasy scoring each week. Last year, he averaged 34.4 passes per game over his first 11 starts compared to 25.9 over his previous 30 starts. Jackson ranks fifth at quarterback in the early draft season in the National Fantasy Football Championship. He's getting closer to 4,500 combined yards while owning a 30 touchdown floor with an entire season of games.
Other Options: Tyler Huntley, Anthony Brown
RB J.K. Dobbins, BAL - Solid/Safe Pick
Over the first six games in 2020, Dobbins only averaged six touches per game, leading to 228 combined yards with two touchdowns and 11 catches. However, his opportunity became fantasy relevant over the Ravens' final 11 games (827 combined yards with eight touchdowns and 11 catches), resulting in 12.88 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues. His highlight games came in Week 17 (13/160/2).
Baltimore stole Dobbins in the second round in the 2020 NFL Draft. He brings a fighter's mentality to the run game with strength in his runs. His mission is to drive the ball forward with quickness, vision, and against the grain cuts. He'll take a hit and lose his balance, but Dobbins finds a way to stay upright on many plays while offering a stiff arm.
While playing in a great system at Ohio State, Dobbins looked elite in his freshman year (1,538 combined yards with eight touchdowns and 22 catches on 216 touches) while seeing about 55 percent of the running back opportunity. His game regressed in 2018 (1,316 combined yards with 12 touchdowns and 26 catches). Mike Weber (172/954/5) outplayed Dobbins on many days. In 2019, Dobbins regained his bounce in his step, which led to a high volume opportunity (301/2,003/21 plus 23 catches for 247 yards and two touchdowns).
Last year, Dobbins suffered a torn ACL in his left knee before the start of the year, leading to a lost season.
Fantasy Outlook: Baltimore will run the ball well again this year, and Lamar Jackson will steal one-third of the running show. Gus Edwards is also coming off a significant injury. Dobbins should be the top choice on third downs while looking to be on a path to receive 250 combined touches. I expect a minimum of 1,200 combined yards with 12 touchdowns and 35+ catches. His mid-May ADP is 42 as the 21st running back off the board.
RB Gus Edwards, BAL - Gamble (high risk)
In his three seasons with the Ravens, Edwards gained over 5.0 yards per rush every year (5.2, 5.3, and 5.0). He has limited value in the passing game (18/194), but his play in this area flashed more explosiveness in 2020 (9/129 – three catches over 20 yards). He finished with 852 combined yards with six scores and nine catches on 144 carries). Baltimore gave him over 10 touches in six of his 18 games (including playoffs).
Edwards also blew out his left knee before Week 1 last season.
Fantasy Outlook: Edwards posted a floor of 700 rushing yards in each of his first three years with the Ravens. He plays with power while offering a closing mentality when Baltimore plays from the lead. Edwards should be ready for the start of the year while resuming his RB2 role for the Ravens. His ADP (169) in the NFFC ranks him as the 54th running back drafted in the early draft season.
RB Justice Hill, BAL - Dynasty Only
Hill was the fourth wheel in the Ravens' rushing offense in 2019 and 2020, which led to minimal touches in all games. He ran a 4.4 40-yard dash at the NFL combine in 2018 while showing plenty of strength (21 bench press reps). Justice runs with a quick tempo and a sense of the big play on many carries. His vision, power, and shake help him make defenders miss in the open field. Hill wants to run outside, which may hurt his value in some games vs. top-run defenses. He may emerge as the change of pace back for the Ravens. His next step is improving in pass protection to help earn more snaps on passing downs.
Over two seasons of action, Hill gained 375 combined yards with two touchdowns and 13 catches. He missed all of last season with a torn Achilles.
Fantasy Outlook: The Ravens would like to tap into his big-play ability, but Hill only has a handcuff feel at this point of his career. Don't dismiss him while keeping an open eye on his progress over the summer.
Other Options: Mike Davis, Tyler Badie, Nate McCrary, Ricky Person
WR Devin Duvernay, BAL - Deep-league Only
After a relatively quiet first three seasons in college (70 catches for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns over 118 targets), Duvernay impressed in his senior year (106/1,386/10 on 130 chances). He gained over 100 yards in seven of his 13 games in 2019, highlighted by four games (12/154/1, 8/110/2, 8/173/1, and 6/199/1). Duvernay also had eight catches or more in nine contests.
Duvernay comes to the NFL with an enticing blend of hands, speed, and open field ability, but his pieces don't necessarily add up to an impact player. He falls short in route running while lacking the quickness to consistently win out of the slot. In the Ravens' offense, his game should work well, especially with the freelancing style of QB Lamar Jackson.
He worked as the Ravens' top kickoff returner (1,670 yards with a touchdown) over his first two seasons. Last year Duverney finished with 33 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns on 47 targets. He failed to gain over 45 yards in any game with a ceiling of six targets.
Fantasy Outlook: Baltimore gave Duvernay WR3 snaps last year. In his third season with the Ravens, he may have the inside track to emerge as their WR2. For now, Duverney is only a fantasy follow over the summer.
WR James Proche, BAL - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Proche shows great playmaking ability when the ball is in the air, but he lacks the foundation skill set to create enough wins in press coverage or the route running to become an elite player. Proche offers a possession-type foundation while lacking the wheels to beat defenders in the deep passing game.
Over four seasons at SMU, he caught 301 of 478 targets for 3,949 yards and 39 touchdowns. His best two seasons came in 2018 (93/1,1199/12) and 2019 (111/1,225/15).
Proche finished last year with 16 catches for 202 yards on 20 targets.