The 2020 NFL Season is nearly upon us, and in anticipation of the new season we’ll be previewing the action team-by-team, using the draft order from last season. The previews will kick off with the Bengals and run right through the reigning champion Chiefs. Come back each day to check out your favorite team. All ADP and Rankings reflect PPR scoring. 2020 Projections are based on a 12-team league (i.e. WR1 (Top 12), WR2 (13-24), WR3 (25-36)).
The Ravens took the AFC and the NFL by storm in 2019. Lamar Jackson, in his first full season as the team’s starter, showed he was more than up to the task. Jackson rushed for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns—the most yards rushing for a QB in a season—and threw for 3,127 yards and 36 TDs. And the Ravens were the most dominating team in the league. The team went 14-2 and finished as the top seed in the AFC and produced the best record in the league. It was an MVP season for Jackson and the Ravens looked unstoppable.
That is until their first playoff game against the Tennessee Titans. While the Ravens came in as heavy favorites, they lost the game and saw a dream season end in major disappointment. The question is what can Jackson and the Ravens do for an encore, and will they enjoy a little better post-season success?
The Ravens didn’t change much up on offense this off-season. They saw veteran receiver Seth Roberts move on and traded tight end Hayden Hurst to the Falcons. The team welcomed guard D.J. Fluker to beef up the offensive line and signed defensive end Derek Wolfe, formerly of the Broncos, to help the defense re-load. The Ravens also spent their first-round pick on linebacker Patrick Queen of LSU who figures to add even more skill and weapons to an already solid defense.
But the Ravens’ biggest pick ups this off-season were running back J.K. Dobbins and receiver Devin Duvernay, both of whom were taken in the draft. Dobbins, who played at Ohio State, was taken with the team’s second round pick. Dobbins rushed for 4,459 yards and 39 TDs in three seasons—including 2,003 yards in 2019. He’s a weapon who figures to be the guy long-term in Baltimore. Duvernay caught 106 passes for 1,386 yards and nine TDs for Texas in 2019. He joins second year receivers Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Miles Boykin in giving the Ravens a good, young receiving corps.
Jackson was QB1 in 2019 by a mile, and he’s a Top 5 option at the position in 2020. He should be one of the first two QBs off the board along with Patrick Mahomes. In the backfield, Mark Ingram had a solid season in 2019. He finished with 1,018 yards and 10 TDs. That was good enough to be RB11 in 2019. The team added Dobbins, and still has Gus Edwards and second year back Justice Hill in the mix. They are a strong running team, but Jackson himself is a big part of that rushing attack. I think Dobbins mixes in while Ingram still serves as the main back in 2020, but I have him as a low-end RB2 while Dobbins ranges from RB3 to more likely an RB4.
Among receivers, Hollywood is the top option. Duvernay, Boykin and veteran Willie Snead figure to mix in, but this isn’t a high-volume pass offense. Hollywood snagged 46 passes for 584 yards and seven TDs. I think he’s a WR3. Duvernay and possibly Boykin are good Dynasty stashes, but neither figures to be a reliable option in 2020. The Ravens’ best passing weapon is tight end Mark Andrews, a Top 3 option at the position. He had 98 targets for 64 receptions, 852 yards and 10 TDs. Draft him with confidence. This offense uses the TE a lot as Nick Boyle caught 31 passes and Hurst caught 30 a year ago. Andrews could be in line for more targets but so, too, could Boyle. He’s a sneaky TE3.
The Ravens caught some folks by surprise in 2019 thanks in large part to Jackson. I wasn’t a believer pre-season but he turned me into a believer with his play on the field. I expect the Ravens to come back a bit from that 14-win season. The AFC North is quite possibly the best division in the AFC, and I expect the Browns and Steelers to compete for the playoffs. The Ravens have talent on both sides of the ball, and I think they have a good shot to repeat as division champs.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.