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Fantasy Football News 2021

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Let's just let ESPN's Adam Schefter explain why the Ravens will practice Wednesday without their starting QB: "Lamar Jackson is not practicing today in a COVID-related case the league still is trying to process, per Jamison Hensley and me. Jackson, who tested positive on Thanksgiving, had another test that NFL officials flagged. NFL now going through science, and Ravens awaiting answers." We'll see where this situation goes. It's impossible to tell at the moment whether this is something that will only cost Jackson a day or 2 -- or an issue we should be concerned about. Jackson, of course, had the positive test last November that cost him a game. But we hadn't heard of any related issues since. For now, we're not adjusting Jackson's fantasy outlook.

Ravens RB Gus Edwards has COVID and will miss the 1st 10 days of camp, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Edwards’ absence is good news for Justice Hill and any other Baltimore RB hoping to raise his profile. It can’t hurt J.K. Dobbins’ standing either. We’re not adjusting our fantasy outlook for Edwards or Dobbins at this point, though

According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, Ravens WR Rashod Bateman has given the Ravens, “every reason to believe he’ll be a significant contributor from Day 1.” Zrebiec adds that Bateman “hasn’t looked like a rookie.” It's tough to expect consistent fantasy contributions given a run-heavy offense and the presence of Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins. But there’s a real chance that Bateman’s role grows as the season rolls along. He's heavily discounted with a WR62 price in FFPC best ball drafts.

The Ravens and RB Gus Edwards have agreed to a 2-year, $10 million extension, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports. He's now signed through the 2023 season and is the league's 15th-highest-paid RB in terms of average annual salary. It's a well-deserved raise for a guy who's averaged 5.2 yards on 414 carries over his first 3 NFL seasons. Edwards has ranked 19th, 20th and 28th in Elusive Rating those 3 years. He'll continue to play a bigger role for the Ravens than J.K. Dobbins owners would like to see.

Ravens OC Greg Roman believes RB J.K. Dobbins can be a "viable weapon in the passing game ... That's something we're working on diligently every day -- a threat out of the backfield." We don't doubt that Dobbins can be an asset as a pass-catcher. He tallied 71 receptions over 3 seasons at Ohio State. The question is whether the Ravens will actually get him more action in that department. Dobbins saw just 24 targets last year -- and Ravens RBs combined for just 50. That number checked in at 51 back in 2019, QB Lamar Jackson's first full season as starter. For perspective, 17 RBs topped 51 targets by themselves last year. So file this under "believe it when we see it." If Dobbins truly did take on a significant passing-game role this season, though, he'd be a strong bet for a RB1 finish.

The Ravens selected WR Tylan Wallace in Round 4 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Wallace has 1 of the strongest production profiles in this year’s WR class. He posted a huge 86-1,491-12 line as a true sophomore in 2018, accounting for 37% of Oklahoma State’s receiving yards and 36% of the TDs. He was on a similar pace through the first 8 games of 2019, averaging 6.6 catches, 113 yards and 1 TD per contest. But Wallace tore his right ACL in practice that October. He was ready for the start of last season and was productive again, averaging 5.9 catches, 92 yards and .6 TDs per game. The concerns? Wallace is on the small side at 5’11, 194 pounds with below-average athleticism. That’s more concerning since he did a lot of his damage in college in contested situations. He probably won’t be as effective in that department in the NFL. And he’s just a mediocre route runner. Then there’s the ACL. Wallace has the 1 tear behind him -- and his twin brother has torn his ACL 3 times. It makes Wallace genetically more likely to suffer another ACL injury in the future. He joins a run-heavy Baltimore offense that boasts Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews and Round 1 pick Rashod Bateman. Wallace is certainly a long-shot for year 1 fantasy value.

Buffalo
12:04am EDT 4/30/21

The Ravens chose Penn State DE Jayson Oweh with the 31st pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Much has been made of Oweh finishing 2020 with 0 sacks. But he still earned 1st-team All-Big Ten honors while collecting 6.5 tackles for loss in 7 games. Oweh’s biggest selling point, though, looks like his raw athleticism. He ran an absurd 4.37-second 40 at nearly 6’5 and 257 pounds. Even if you add the .05-second pro day adjustment, Oweh still generates the 2nd-best speed score among all edge prospects over the past 5 years (behind only Montez Sweat). Landing in Baltimore figures to mean an LB designation for Oweh in IDP leagues.

The Ravens selected Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman with the 27th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Bateman has as strong a production profile as any WR in this year’s class. He turned in a rare true freshman breakout season in 2018, ranking 2nd to only then-junior Tyler Johnson in all major receiving categories (51-704-6). Then he exploded for 1,219 yards and 11 scores on 60 catches as a sophomore alongside Johnson. Bateman was named First-Team All-Big 10 and Big Ten receiver of the year. He contracted COVID last summer and originally decided to opt out of the 2020 season. He eventually changed his mind and played in 5 games before electing to sit out the remainder of the season. Bateman was as dominant as ever, though, averaging 7.2 catches and 94.4 yards per game. He surprised with a 4.43-second 40 time at his Pro Day -- although he came in much smaller than expected at 6’0 and 190 pounds. Bateman looks and plays bigger on tape. And he has an impressive combination of releases and route running. We see shades of Keenan Allen and Davante Adams in his game. A final note: Bateman brings positional versatility after playing 87% of his snaps on the outside in 2019 and then 61% in the slot this past season. This isn’t an ideal landing spot with the Ravens, who have ranked dead last in passing attempts in each of the last 2 seasons.

New Ravens WR Sammy Watkins expects OC Greg Roman to "open up" the offense this season. “He’s going to utilize us in so many different ways," Watkins said. "He’s got a complex offense. I know the world hasn’t been seeing that yet, but he’s definitely going to open it up this year, run the ball and do, I’m pretty sure, all types of things with this offense.” We'll believe it when we see it. All 8 of Roman's offenses have ranked in the bottom 4 in pass attempts. That includes 32nd-place finishes in Baltimore the last 2 years. And when Watkins played under Roman in Buffalo, the Bills finished 31st and 32nd in pass attempts. Perhaps the Ravens chuck it a bit more in 2021, but it won't be enough to make Watkins, WR Marquise Brown and TE Mark Andrews reliable weekly fantasy plays. Watkins figures to be the odd man out.

The Ravens have agreed to a 1-year, $6 million deal with WR Sammy Watkins, including $5 million guaranteed, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Watkins should slot in as at least Baltimore's #2 wideout in targets. Of course, it's not the best offense for receiving production. The Ravens have attempted the league's fewest passes each of the past 2 seasons. Last year's 406 attempts were the fewest by any team since Seattle in 2012. Watkins makes for a decent best-ball option in the double-digit rounds of fantasy football drafts, but he's not likely to turn into a reliable redraft starter.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Jaguars are trading TE Josh Oliver to the Ravens for a conditional draft pick. Oliver is an intriguing talent who arrived via Round 3 of the 2019 draft, but injuries have kept him almost completely off the field since. Baltimore doesn’t offer muc immediate opportunity, with Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle leading the depth chart. But we’ll see if a change of scenery can get anything going.

The Ravens tendered restricted free-agent RB Gus Edwards. The level of the tender hasn't been disclosed, but it's believed to be a 2nd-rounder, according to The Baltimore Sun. "Gus is going to be on the team, one way or the other," GM Eric DeCosta said Tuesday. "We're going to certainly tender him if we don't get a long-term deal done, but he is a Raven. He played his butt off this year, and he had a good season for us." Edwards has averaged 5.0+ yards per carry in all 3 seasons with Baltimore and set career highs with 144 carries, 723 yards and 6 TDs last year. He figures to see similar volume in 2021, making him a fringe fantasy option and a drain on RB J.K. Dobbins' value.

Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (calf) is active for the Super Bowl. It’ll be his 1st action since Week 16. Watkins did get in a full practice on Friday, though, so there’s a chance that he plays a significant role tonight.

Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (calf) is listed as questionable for the Super Bowl. He was a full participant in Friday's practice, though, so we're expecting him to suit up. It'll be Watkins' first action since late December, adding obvious risk to his fantasy profile. He averaged 5.9 targets, 3.9 catches and 44 yards in his 9 healthy games this season.

Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (calf) remained limited in Thursday's practice. He's seemingly trending toward playing in the Super Bowl, but we'll get another update on his status on Friday afternoon.

Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (calf) remained limited in Wednesday's practice. He was limited all week leading up to the AFC Championship before missing that game. Watkins has said he's "optimistic" about playing in the Super Bowl, but we'll see what he's able to do over the next couple of days.

The Chiefs will test WR Sammy Watkins (calf) before today's game against the Bills to determine whether he's ready to play. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, though, they "don't sound optimistic" that he'll be active. Watkins has been out since Week 16 but did return to limited workouts all this week. It seems like Watkins is a true game-time decision, which will make him risky even if he turns up active. Watkins' absence would boost the outlooks for both Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson. They played 69% and 71% of the snaps in the win over the Browns, with Watkins out.

Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (calf) is listed as questionable for Sunday's AFC Championship vs. the Bills. He was limited in practice all week. We'll look for an update on Watkins' status on Sunday morning. If he returns for this one, he'll be a risk/reward option for DFS tournaments only. It'd also put a dent in Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson's projections.

Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (calf) returned to a limited practice on Wednesday. He missed all 3 workouts last week before being inactive for the win over the Browns. Watkins seemingly has a shot to play vs. the Bills this weekend, but check back tomorrow for another update.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson sustained a concussion at the end of the 3rd quarter of Saturday night's loss to the Bills. He struggled before the injury, throwing for just 162 yards, 0 TDs and 1 INT and being limited to 34 yards on 9 carries. This is the 1st documented concussion for Jackson.

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