Joe Flacco and the 2008 Baltimore Ravens came out of nowhere finishing 11-5 and winning 2 playoff games before finally succumbing 23-14 to the Pittsburg Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. Nobody and I mean nobody could have predicted Flacco’s success as he clearly demonstrated that he has the mo-jo and leadership qualities necessary to be a success in the NFL. However, historically the Ravens have not been known to produce many fantasy studs and that was no different last year as with the exception of WR Derek Mason and RB LeRon McClain no Raven invoked fears amongst fantasy owners.
Flacco was a nice surprise in 2008 but that doesn’t make him any more attractive in 2009 as a fantasy starter. It is not so much Flacco but the system that he plays in and the receivers that he has at his disposal that makes him fall well short of a number one fantasy option at QB. Furthermore, teams will not be surprised by Flacco much in the same way that they will not be surprised with Atlanta QB Matt Ryan. Both had exceptional rookie campaigns but this is the NFL and teams always make adjustments and this will no doubt be the case regarding both Flacco and Ryan. Pure and simple Flacco just doesn’t have many weapons to work with and that hurts his fantasy stock dramatically. Until the Ravens get Flacco some legitimate targets to replace the rag tag guys currently on the roster at the WR position don’t look for him to produce quality stats and certainly don’t look at him as a starting fantasy QB.
McClain was a nice surprise last year and he no doubt helped some owners to titles with his play down the stretch run. The problem is that all reports coming out of Baltimore indicate that McClain is going to be relegated to FB behind Willis McGahee and Ray Rice. McGahee, while only 27 has had numerous major injuries and is extremely weathered. Furthermore, he seems to think that he is better than he actually is with his attitude. Heads up Willis, you are an average NFL RB at best. McGahee rushed for 671 yards and 7 TD’s in 2009 falling well short of what owners who drafted him expected. Don’t look for much more out of McGahee this year as McClain in my estimation will still see the majority of goal line reps and Rice will cut into his attempts between the 20’s. McGahee will go higher in drafts but I believe that Rice will be the more productive fantasy back this year for Baltimore. Treat McGahee as a number 4 rusher similarly to Cleveland’s Jamal Lewis only to be used in desperate situations. Keep on eye on both McClain and Rice in drafts and if you can secure the services of either with a pick around the 9th-10th round snag either of them.
Every year people treat Mason as a fantasy piece of trash yet year in and year out …"2009 Baltimore Ravens Fantasy Football Preview"