By Brad Berreman @bradberreman24 on July 18, 2014
Fantasy football owners were surely left disappointed by the Baltimore Ravens in 2013, as running back Ray Rice and quarterback Joe Flacco both had dismal seasons and a once-vaunted defense took a step back.
That said, fantasy owners should not ignore the Ravens. Here are my top five fantasy options on the team for this year.
Smith set career-highs in tackles (123 total), sacks (five) and interceptions (three) last year, and the Ravens rewarded him with a four-year contract. I'll book him for over 100 tackles and 3-5 sacks, but don't expect three interceptions again this year.
With Ray Rice surely facing a multi-game suspension after an offseason arrest, Pierce is in line to take over the starting job and keep it all season. He is expected to be a full-go for training camp after offseason shoulder surgery, and is worth drafting as a low-end RB2 or high-end RB3.
Tucker had a great 2013 season, making 38 out of 41 field goal attempts and going 6-for-7 from 50-plus yards out on his way to being the third-highest scoring kicker in ESPN standard leagues (159 points). He could be even better this year if the Ravens' offense improves, even with the prospect of multiple bad weather games within the AFC North.
Smith had a career-high 65 receptions for 1,128 yards in 2013, but he only had four touchdowns despite a career-best 16 red zone targets. If his touchdown total rebounds to his prior level (seven in 2011; eight in 2012) to go along with similar catch and yardage totals to last year, Smith will be a solid WR2 for fantasy owners.
A preseason hip injury derailed what could have been a breakout season for Pitta, but he was productive once he returned to action (20 receptions for 169 yards in four games). With Gary Kubiak in place as offensive coordinator, Pitta could easily finish as a top-five fantasy tight end this year.
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