Ravens HC John Harbaugh lauded WR John Brown on Monday. “He has been better than we expected,” Harbaugh said. “Obviously, we’ve had high hopes for him, but [he’s] better than advertised — probably even better than what the tape showed, I would say. He’s been a complete receiver for us.” Brown has been buzzing hard since training camp opened and appears locked in as Baltimore's #2 WR (behind Michael Crabtree). His sickle-cell has gotten in the way over the past couple of years and remains a risk in 2018. But he's enjoyed a healthy offseason so far. “I’m fully healthy, and they’re taking care of me,” Brown said. This guy went for 1,003 yards and 7 scores in a healthy 2015 with the Cardinals. Brown could return a huge profit on his current WR72 ADP.
Ravens OC Marty Mornhinweg said TE Hayden Hurst has "made a huge jump both in-line and with his route running." CBS' Jason LaCanfora attended Baltimore's joint practices with the Rams over the past 2 days and saw Hurst make a bunch of big plays. "He should be an immediate contributor if he can avoid nagging injuries," La Canfora concluded. Rookie TEs rarely make significant fantasy impacts, but Hurst has a shot to see enough volume to at least be a spot-start option..
“One way or another, he’s going to be out there, taking snaps." That's Ravens HC John Harbaugh on rookie QB Lamar Jackson. Harbaugh made sure to reiterate that Joe Flacco is his starting QB. But his 1st-round rookie is going to see the field this year. "Lamar is also a weapon for us, who can play quarterback. And we’re going to play Lamar at quarterback," Harbaugh continued. "So we’re going to play all of our good players. I don’t see why we wouldn’t." There's been a buzz on Jackson since he was drafted. And we've already heard that the Ravens have been running plays with both Jackson and Flacco in the backfield early in camp. A situational role wouldn't be enough to make Jackson a fantasy factor, but any reps he steals from Flacco will dent the veteran's already minimal fantasy value.
Ravens TE Hayden Hurst has missed the first few days of training camp with a soft-tissue injury. It doesn't sound serious, but HC John Harbaugh said Monday that it's "not ideal" that Hurst is sidelined. It's tough enough for rookie TEs to make significant fantasy impacts -- and missing practice time certainly doesn't help. Hurst is no more than a late-round flier right now.
Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon (knee) participated in this past week's OTAs after missing all of 2017 with a torn meniscus. “The knee feels very good," Dixon said. "Battling some things you have to battle when you get back on the field with flexibility and all those things, but the knee feels totally well and I’m just ready to play." Barring a setback, that knee shouldn't be an issue in 2018. Alex Collins heads to training camp as Baltimore's lead back, but Dixon is capable of pushing for a significant role -- especially in the passing game. He tallied 63 catches across his final 2 seasons at Louisiana Tech and caught 30 balls in his 2016 rookie campaign. Highlight Dixon as a potential late-round sleeper in PPR drafts.
The Ravens added UCLA WR Jordan Lasley in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Lasley emerged as QB Josh Rosen’s top target this past season, breaking out for a big 69-1,264-9 line. That was despite missing 3 games on suspension and 1 with injury. Lasley goes 6’1, 203 pounds and disappointed with a 19th percentile SPARQ score in the pre-draft process. He plays more athletically than that, though, with good burst and change-of-direction to create separation at the top of his routes. He also lined up both out wide and in the slot for the Bruins. The biggest knock against Lasley is his hands. Pro Football Focus charged him with an ugly 15.9% drop rate this past season. Baltimore has completely revamped its pass-catching corps this offseason, adding Lasley, Michael Crabtree, John Brown, Willie Snead, Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.
The Ravens spent a 4th-round pick on New Mexico State WR Jaleel Scott. The 6’5, 218-pounder registered a 63rd percentile SPARQ score. He started his career at Ellsworth Community College before a quiet debut season at New Mexico State. Scott busted out last year with a 76-1,097-9 line, although it’s worth noting that he was 22 years old. Scott seems like a project but has some long-term upside with that size and athleticism.
The Ravens added Oklahoma TE Mark Andrews in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He joins 1st-rounder Hayden Hurst in Baltimore's TE room. Andrews isn't much of a blocker but turned into 1 of Baker Mayfield's top targets over the past 2 years. He posted a 31-489-7 line in 2016 and then exploded for 62 catches, 958 yards and 8 scores this past year. Andrews tested as a mediocre 44th percentile athlete and will never be a big-play threat at the next level. But there's some Jason Witten-esque craftiness to his game.
The Ravens traded back into the 1st round to select Louisville QB Lamar Jackson at #32. The 21-year-old was a stat-piling machine over the past 2 seasons, throwing for 7,203 yards and 57 TDs (vs. 19 INTs) and running for another 3,172 yards and 39 scores. He’s a bit slight of frame at 6’2 and 216 pounds. But he missed just 1 game at Louisville (a 2015 ankle injury), despite carrying 655 times. The biggest knock against Jackson is inconsistent accuracy. He left school with a 57.0% completion rate — although he posted a career-best 59.1% mark this past year. Between the accuracy problems and the supreme athleticism, there’s certainly some Michael Vick to Jackson. Vick ranked as a top 12 fantasy QB in all 4 seasons he made 15+ starts, including a pair of #4 finishes. Jackson could use some seasoning and will begin his career behind Joe Flacco. But when he gets on the field, Jackson’s rushing ability will give him big fantasy upside.
The Ravens selected South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst with the 25th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Hurst goes 6’5, 250 pounds and tested as a 46th percentile athlete. He totaled 92 catches and 1,175 yards over the past 2 seasons — but just 3 TDs. He didn’t ‘wow’ us on tape, either. Hurst won’t lack for opportunity in Baltimore, especially after the Ravens made a significant investment in him. But we’d be surprised if he developed into more than a low-end TE1.
The Ravens have signed WR Willie Snead to a 2-year, $7 million deal that could climb to $10.4 million via incentives. The Saints had the option to match the offer but declined. Snead fell out of favor in New Orleans last year but tallied 141 catches for 1,879 yards across 2015 and 2016. He'll turn just 26 in October, putting him in the prime of his career. Snead joins a remade Ravens WR corps that also features Michael Crabtree and Brown. Snead and Brown figure to battle for the 2nd spot on the totem pole.
The Ravens have signed QB Robert Griffin III, according to multiple reports. Griffin's obviously not a challenge to moribund-yet-deeply entrenched starter Joe Flacco. But it's noteworthy that Baltimore picked up RG3 while Ryan Mallett remains on the open market. Mallett backed up Flacco the past 2 seasons after arriving mid-2015. He started 2 games that year and appeared in 6 total (no starts) over the past 2 seasons. It might surprise a lot of folks that Griffin only just turned 28 in February. He obviously has plenty to prove, though, before we can consider him even a dynasty bench candidate at this point -- especially with the Ravens' lackluster pass-catching corps.
The Ravens have reached a 3-year deal with WR Michael Crabtree, NFL Network reports. It’s a $21 million contract with $11 million guaranteed and $15 million total in the 1st 2 years. Ian Rapoport reports incentives could push that to $20 million. Whatever the specifics, we certainly like Crabtree much more than Ryan Grant, whose deal voided after he failed a physical. Crabtree looks like the heavy favorite to lead Baltimore in targets this fall and could dominate that category. He’s an easy WR2 in current fantasy football drafts, with upside to the top of that range
The Raiders have released WR Michael Crabtree. It sounds like it's a precursor to Oakland adding WR Jordy Nelson. Crabtree is coming off a disappointing 58-catch, 618-yard campaign. But he still tallied 8 TDs in 14 games, giving him 8+ scores in 3 straight seasons. He also posted 85 and 89 catches, respectively, the previous 2 years and will be just 31 in September. Crabtree should draw plenty of interest on the open market. We'll assess his bounce-back chances when he finds a new home.
The Ravens have reached a 1-year, $5 million deal with former Cardinals WR John Brown, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. This looks like a solid shot for Baltimore to take. Brown's heading into just his age-28 season and enjoyed a promising start to his career before lower-body injuries and his sickle-cell trait derailed the past 2 seasons. A healthy Brown could take over for free-agent Mike Wallace, who excels at getting deep. Brown even arguably brings more upside on short-range stuff. We'll see what else Baltimore adds before laying out specific fantasy football expectations. At the moment, though, Brown's fine as a WR5 with upside in early best-ball drafting.
Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey was arrested Thursday in Alabama and charged with 3rd-degree robbery, according to AL.com. Under Alabama law, that's a felony charge indicating the use of force or the threat of force. TuscaloosaNews.com reports the charge stems from a Jan. 13 incident in which Humphrey allegedly stole a phone charger from an Uber driver, elbowing him in the process. The CB reportedly calls it a "misunderstanding." Humphrey enjoyed a solid finish to his rookie campaign after arriving as a 1st-round pick. We'll see whether this incident impacts his 2018 season.
Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon is expected to be ready for OTAs, HC John Harbaugh said Thursday. A popular 2017 sleeper, Dixon missed the entire season after July surgery to repair a torn meniscus. It was his 3rd knee surgery since arriving in Baltimore in the 4th round of the 2016 draft. Dixon was also slapped with performance-enhancing-drug and substance-abuse suspensions this past year. So there are a ton of red flags here. Dixon isn't even a lock to be on Baltimore's 2018 roster. But there's also still upside for a 23-year-old who put up big college numbers on the ground and through the air.
Raiders WR Michael Crabtree isn't listed on the Week 17 injury report. HC Jack Del Rio said Crabtree hurt his hamstring late in last week's loss to the Eagles, but it evidently won't be an issue today. Crabtree is just a WR3 vs. a tough Chargers secondary.
Raiders HC Jack Del Rio said Wednesday that WR Michael Crabtree injured his hamstring in Monday night's loss to the Eagles. He posted a goose egg in that one and played just 45% of the offensive snaps. We'll keep an eye on Crabtree over the next few days, but he'll be a shaky fantasy option if he plays against the Chargers' tough secondary this weekend.
Ravens ILB C.J. Mosley (neck) is active for tonight's game against the Steelers. He entered the day questionable but is OK to use as you normally would in IDP leagues.
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