Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco: Fantasy Starter In Week 4

Joe Flacco

Brad Mills – USATODAY Sports

Joe Flacco has the Super Bowl ring, the massive contract and (at least for this week) my confidence from a Fantasy Football perspective. He and the Baltimore Ravens travel to upstate New York to face the 1-2 (but very competitive) Buffalo Bills and a banged up defense.

For Sunday’s game, the Bills will be once again be without their blanket cover corner in Stephon Gilmore (wrist), a player whose value has been as evident as ever as the Bills have struggled to shut down opponents top receivers. Jairus Byrd (foot) will likely be on the wrong side of questionable again while another starting CB in Leodis McKelvin (hamstring) is slated to be a game-time decision at best. While the Bills were able to mask these injuries a bit in the first two games, the lack of lockdown players in their secondary was painfully obvious against the New York Jets last weekend. Geno Smith, who I’m not buying as a reasonable Fantasy option this season, consistently tested Buffalo down the field, connecting with Santonio Holmes/Stephen Hill eight times for 262 yards and two long touchdowns (51 yards and 69 yards). Geno Smith isn’t a great decision maker and isn’t overly accurate, but even he could find his average at best receivers with room to roam down the field.

If you need me to connect the dots for you, I will. Joe Flacco throws one of the better deep balls in all of football (120.0 QB Rating last season on passes that traveled 21-40 yards in the air) and has a pair of athletic wide outs in Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown who have the size/speed ideal for a vertical aerial attack. Brown was limited last week (neck) but is listed as probable for this weekend after being a full participant at Thursday’s practice. The Ravens are also expecting Ray Rice (hip) to return to action, adding versatility to their pass game. During that Jets game last week, Mario Williams (ankle), Marcell Darius (ankle) and Kyle Williams (Achilles) were all dinged up. While they are all listed as probable, it’s reasonable to think the Buffalo pass rush could be a step slow when it comes to putting pressure on the reigning Super Bowl MVP.

I’m loving me some Flacco this weekend and have him ranked among my top 12 signal callers. I prefer him to youngsters Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson this Sunday based on matchups and believe he has considerably less downside than Mike Vick and Terrelle Pryor. The weather is supposed to be perfect in Buffalo this weekend (70′s and partly sunny), taking away the last concern you might have about starting Flacco this week.

Specific Fantasy questions? Drop me a tweet @unSOPable23. If you’re looking for defenses to stream, a controversial rest of season Fantasy quarterback ranking, or a top 10 running back that you need to sell to the highest bidder immediately, I’ve got you covered already. Good luck this weekend!


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