A weekly installment breaking down fantasy-football-worthy players from the Baltimore Ravens, and what to expect from them. Projections based on a 10-point scale, with 1 being a terrible matchup and 10 being a great matchup.
Joe Flacco 6/10
It’s tough to give Flacco a below-average grade after he garnered AFC offensive player of the week honors last week, but Flacco will go on the road and face an Eagles defense that had four interceptions last week. Yes those four picks did come against Brandon Weeden in his first NFL start, but the Eagles boast a strong secondary led by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Kurt Coleman. Flacco only threw 29 times last week, but look for the Ravens offense to come out more balanced. Flacco is coming home to Philadelphia, as he grew up nine miles away in nearby New Jersey, so look for Flacco to control his emotions in his homecoming. With all those emotions to keep in-check, plus a strong Eagles’ secondary, expect an average day at best from Flacco.
Prediction: 18-31, 255 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Ray Rice 7/10
Rice didn’t have the monster day most people (including me) thought he would have last week against Cincinnati, as he only had 10 carries for 68 yards. He did however find the end zone twice to turn a below average week into an above average week. The good news is Rice should get at least 15-20 carries this week, so his workload and yards should increase. However, he is going against an Eagles’ defense that completely shut down Trent Richardson and the Browns rushing attack last week. Rice is obviously a much stronger option than Richardson, but I would expect an average day from Rice.
Prediction: 20 carries, 83 yards, 1 touchdown, 4 receptions 24 yards
Torrey Smith 6/10
Smith burst onto the scene in week 1 with a 52-yard catch on the Ravens’ first play from scrimmage. That was the good. The bad was that Smith had only one catch for 5 yards the rest of the way in the Ravens’ 44-point effort. Expect Smith to be blanketed by Rodgers-Cromartie because he may be the only other player on the field to combat Smith’s speed. As is the case every week, Smith is always one big play away from a big day, but this weekend’s match-up is not terribly favorable.
Prediction: 4 catches, 68 yards
Anquan Boldin 8/10
Boldin showed flashes of his younger days last week as he was an imposing possession receiver patrolling the middle of the field at times. His 34-yard touchdown grab was a thing of beauty as Boldin beat double coverage and barely held onto a perfectly dropped in pass from Flacco. He led all Ravens’ wide receivers with 65 yards and a touchdown, and appears to be the complement to Smith’s speed. An average day yard-wise and a touchdown seem feasible as the veteran may turn into Flacco’s security blanket.
Prediction: 6 catches, 82 yards, 1 touchdown
Dennis Pitta 7/10
Pitta had the most pleasantly surprising week 1, as the tight end reeled in five balls for 73 yards and an athletic touchdown grab. Moreover, his nine targets led all Ravens, which bodes well for Pitta. Ed Dickson is still listed as the number one tight end on the depth chart, but ride Pitta until Flacco shows that he trusts Dickson as much as Pitta. It is still early in the season and it remains to be seen if either tight end will separate themselves, but until then Pitta appears to be the better option.
Prediction: 5 catches 51 yards, 1 touchdown
Ravens D/ST 7/10
The Ravens defensive unit started out slow last week, as the Bengals had decent success moving the ball in the first half. The defense then stiffened up fiercely, as they only allowed three points in the second half, while scoring seven of their own when Ed Reed took an Andy Dalton pass 34 yards for a pick-six. The Eagles present an above average offensive attack, but Michael Vick is always prone to both interceptions and injury. The Ravens defense will be a tougher test than the Browns defense, and Vick was picked four times in that game. The Ravens strength on their defense appears to be their secondary, as Reed, Lardarius Webb, Bernard Pollard, and Cary Williams were all very active in the Ravens’ week 1 win. Pair that with the fact that both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are both questionable and it could be a long day for Vick. Expect more interceptions from Vick as the Ravens defense should put together an average to slightly above average game.
Prediction: 2 sacks, 3 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery