Looking at my preliminary rankings for 2022, the Ravens strike me as one of the more interesting teams in the NFL.
2021 was an odd year for them. The ridiculous amount of injured RBs derailed their season. The injury to Lamar Jackson certainly didn’t help, either, even though it showed us that Tyler Huntley is a surprisingly competent backup.
The situation forced the Ravens to throw the ball a lot more than they did in previous years. Their rushing yards dropped by over 20%. Surprisingly, that was still good enough to finish 3rd in that metric.
For 2022, everybody expects the Ravens to return to their 2020 playbook: low-volume passing, but dominating the rushing game.
Ironically, that leads to a situation where I find all of their pass catchers undervalued.
While Lamar Jackson’s magic certainly lies in his ground game, he is actually a pretty competent passer. Especially in the red zone.
In 2019, the Ravens with Jackson under center managed to accomplish a curious feat: they finished dead last in the league in terms of passing attempts (440), but first in total passing TDs (37).
Ironically, the opposite was true in 2021. They were 9th in passing attempts (611), but only 2oth in passing TDs (21).
For 2022, I expect their passing volume to drop back towards the bottom third of the league. However, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if their passing TD number actually went up again.
If we look at the pass catching corps in Baltimore, we will quickly notice that there are not many names there. Mark Andrews should be Lamar Jackson’s #1 target, and even with a significantly lower number of pass attempts, that should easily be good for him to finish another year as the overall TE#1. Especially since I do not expect his TD numbers to drop.
With Hollywood Brown out of town, Rashod Bateman should be the preferred deep threat for Lamar Jackson. Even with less team targets, Bateman should be able to claim a sizeable workload. I’m not sure if I trust my current WR#16 ranking for him, but he should be able to beat his WR#29 ADP quite nicely.
Devin Duvernay and James Proche both have quite some sleeper appeal. If one of them establishes as clear WR2 on the team, they could have WR5/FLEX appeal, despite going undrafted even in deeper leagues, based on their current ADP.
As for Lamar Jackson himself, his ADP of QB#4 looks about right to me. The question is if the Ravens will reduce his rushing workload, to avoid him getting injured again. That also goes for goal line carries. He only had 2 rushing TDs in 2021, and would need around 6 in 2022, to check in as a top 5 option on QB.
The backfield looks adequately priced to me, based on their current ADP. It may look tempting to draft an RB of a run-first offense, but keep in mind that Lamar takes away a good chunk of that volume himself. If J.K. Dobbins can establish himself as the clear leader among the RBs, he may be able to beat his RB#23 ADP. But that’s not a given, so I would not draft him above his ADP at the moment.
Gus Edwards and Mike Davis make for nice late-round stashes, but will need injuries or playbook changes to beat their ADPs (RB#54/#74). The same goes for rookie Tyler Badie, who is nothing more than a ticket for the injury lottery.
Justice Hill is also still there, but hasn’t shown anything so far, and is recovering from a torn Achilles. He’s in a contract year, so maybe they will give him a few opportunities. Keep him on the watch list, but don’t expect a lot here.
TL;DR: the 2022 Ravens will return to being their old selves. A run-first offense with a low-volume, but highly efficient passing attack. At this point, all of their WRs are undervalued. Lamar Jackson is a top-5 QB, unless they heavily cut back on his rushing volume. Mark Andrews will be the league TE#1 for the foreseeable future.