Backfield Outlook: Baltimore Ravens

July 17, 2018

 

 

The Depth Chart (ourlads.com)

  1. Alex Collins (SEA – ’16 5th)

  2. Javorius Allen (BAL – ’15 4th)

  3. Kenneth Dixon (BAL – ’16 4th)

  4. Gus Edwards (UFA)

  5. De’Lance Turner (UFA)

  6. Mark Thompson (UFA)

 

Don’t be concerned about the rookies potentially displacing anybody on this depth chart, and expect all three to receive the chop come cut day. I think that the current depth chart with Collins, Allen, and Dixon is exactly what we’ll see come Week 1, but the Ravens have little year-to-year consistency to provide reliable data.

 

 

 

Dixon is the only Raven RB with a contract extending into 2019, so I think this year will be a tryout of sorts for Collins and Allen. As neither are currently a significant drain on the Ravens’ cap space, I think the team will have some play with how and who to work out a multi-year contract with. The Ravens’ RBs are a mess to predict in dynasty, but each player should be rostered somewhere.

 

 

 

Alex Collins

Although he didn’t start the regular season on the official roster, Alex Collins came in after one disappointing season with the Seattle Seahawks and played 15 games in Baltimore, leading the team in carries, rush yards, and rush TDs. However, he was utilized in the receiving games roughly one third as much as the team’s other RBs. In his career, Collins has carried the ball a little over five times for every target he’s received. With Allen as the only direct competition on the ground, Collins will dominate the Ravens carry-share, whatever that means. Ravens have been bottom ten in total team carries over a three-year average.

 

 

 

With this graphic we can take a closer look not only at Alex Collins’ progress as a fantasy producer during the season, but how he compared to Allen. What’s immediately clear is that in the second half of the season, Collins took over and dominated. From Weeks 8-17 Collins averaged 15.4 PPR points and was the RB8 over that span.

 

As the 19th running back off the board toward the top of the 4th round, Collins’ price tag is discounted compared to his Weeks-8-17 finish, and two spots ahead of his season-long finish, so it seems to me that fantasy drafters are treating him about where they should be. To grab him, however, you might have to skip over more proven players like Jay Ajayi, Lamar Miller, and Mark Ingram, as well as high-upside rookies like Rashaad Penny, Sony Michel, and Royce Freeman.

 

 

Javorius "Buck" Allen

Like Collins, Allen is on a contract year. He’ll have the opportunity to fight for a better deal, but given the competition and history with the team, he may just continue to be the Ravens’ backup RB, and that’s nothing to get excited about. He’ll be 28 at the start of the 2019 season so his dynasty value could entirely plummet unless he turns something around. Although never the most utilized on the team, Allen has two seasons with over 130 carries and 60 targets. He’ll largely serve as a foil to Collins’ guaranteed production, and one of the biggest reasons I’m hesitant to draft Collins.

 

Allen is a low upside backup and should not be owned in most redraft leagues. Given his sporadic scoring, he could be an interesting bestball or DFS play.

 

 

Kenneth Dixon

Dixon will be 24 through the entire 2018 season and has one year (2016) of professional football under his belt. In that time, he’s scored three TDs on 118 touches and came into 2017 without much hope for a productive season with target-monster Danny Woodhead signing. A season-ending September injury dashed all hopes of proving anything otherwise.

 

One year later and Dixon is still in the same place on the depth chart and without any real competition, he’s not moving. Dixon’s primary appeal is both his youth and his ability to contribute in the passing game. At a rate of just over two carries to targets, Dixon may very well outproduce both Collins and Allen in receiving work. I don’t think any team is going to throw the ball more times than the Ravens (regardless of who starts or finishes the season as the QB), and with that kind of upside in PPR leagues, I’m very willing to throw a dart at him in the end of a draft.

 

Flacco has fallen victim to top DST play, but with favorable matchups and DraftKing’s PPR scoring, I’ll also keep an eye on Dixon for a cheap punt or flex play throughout the season.

 

Personal Conclusions

Highest Ceiling: Alex Collins

Highest Floor: Alex Collins

Lowest Ceiling: Javorius Allen

Lowest Floor: Kenneth Dixon

 

Alex Collins comes around the 3-4 turn in redraft, so he’s most likely the 2nd RB drafted on most teams, and a possible 1st RB among Zero-RB enthusiasts. Given the crowd around him, I’d probably swing a different way, but I think it’s fair to expect Collins will return on value, but he’s on the league’s most pass-happy team and may experience a QB change mid-season.

 

Javorious Allen is not worth owning in redraft and is a skeptical late add in dynasty. Dixon should be owned everywhere in PPR leagues and could be a beneficial DFS play, especially in earlier weeks where his price could be rock-bottom.

 

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