Sorry, Baltimore Ravens and Joe Flacco fans, I’m not putting money on a quarterback with a back injury. The AFC North has been challenging enough when healthy, let alone giving Flacco too much credit for that one ring a star-studded defense paved the way for. The remnants of what the defense used to be is soon-to-be 35-year-old, Terrell Suggs, who is coming off elbow surgery.
Not every player can be elite. Flacco never has been, and the Ravens are just another team that hovers around mediocrity, give or take a couple games depending on the season. With Flacco only missing 6 games in his 9-year career, Colin Kaepernick would not only be a great fallback plan, I would argue that he would be a better fit. Regardless, the guy throwing the ball has a solid core of targets and protection up front.
Fantasy alert: Mike Wallace recorded 1,000 yards for the first time since his Pittsburgh days, 2011 to be specific. Jeremy Maclin could bounce back with a big-arm QB. Last season in Kansas City, Maclin grabbed 44 passes in a dozen games while playing through a groin injury. Before that, he went over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. The plan is to involve Breshad Perriman in 3-wide sets.
Danny Woodhead missed 2 of the last 3 seasons due to a knee injury with the Chargers, where he posted over 1,000 all-purpose yards. Every team falls in love with this guy. I don’t necessarily buy any running back on a team that ranked 28th in rushing, but Woodhead could be a nice plug & play option.
Of course, the quarterback is the beneficiary of having a versatile supporting cast, but there’s more desirable options at the most prominent position. As for the defense, they ranked 5th overall and 3rd against the pass. The secondary has been overhauled in recent off-seasons, so that group returns even stronger than before. Aside from C.J. Mosley, the rest of the front-7 has something to prove, including the veteran Suggs. I would consider it a success if he can generate another 8 sacks.
As you can see, there are a lot of what-ifs for the Ravens to swing over to the plus side of the standings. The Steelers are the favorite, the Bengals are usually in the playoff picture, and the Browns won’t be limited to one win in every season. The fact that they believe in Flacco gives them a chance in this league. He will have to improve upon his 20 touchdown, 15 interception totals.