Oh how the mighty have fallen. The once hard nosed, gritty, smack yo momma Baltimore Ravens’ defense has lost its way. It’s very easy to point the finger at Father Time. Since their Super Bowl win in 2000, a lot has changed for the Ravens, and not for the better.
The Ravens squeezed a win out this past Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. Baltimore allowed Dallas’ platoon of four running backs to rush for a Raven’s franchise record, 227 yards. Ed Reed dismissed the blown tackles and poor effort after the game saying, “And you’ve got to look at it like Dallas is a great team.” Really, Dallas is a “great” team? Let’s not forget last week, when the Kansas City Chiefs rushed for 200 yards, and Jamaal Charles went off for 140 of them. Is Kansas City a “great” team too?
Now the anchor of the interior defensive line, Haloti Ngata, may be due to miss a week or two, and field general, Ray Lewis, will miss the remainder of the year due torn triceps. These are devastating blows to a team that is already struggling with stopping the run. To add injury to insult, the Ravens also lost their best cornerback in Lardarius Webb for the year with a torn ACL. This defense is in shambles.
What does this mean for your fantasy team?
Well, if you have a running back playing Baltimore, start them. They travel next weekend to take on the Houston Texans, but playing Arian Foster is a no-brainer as he is a weekly must start. After the Week 8 bye, the Ravens will try to stop the Cleveland Browns’ Trent Richardson, the Oakland Raiders’ Darren McFadden, the Pittsburg Steelers’ Rashard Mendenhall, and then in Week 12, the San Diego Chargers’ Ryan Matthews. We can expect for each of these running backs to have solid fantasy weeks against a decimated Baltimore defense.
As the opposing team’s game planning will focus on feeding the rock to their running back, usually that team will control the clock, as Dallas did. This will in return reduce Joe Flacco and Ray Rice’s ability to produce, as they will be off the field. Expect to see their fantasy numbers take a turn for the worse.