• Inside the Locker Room
with Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times
Anquan Boldin posted his worst totals in catches and yards since 2004. Will his production return to its normal levels?
It’s unlikely that he'll generate significantly higher numbers due to his declining speed and average chemistry and timing with Joe Flacco. Plus, the Ravens remain committed to running the football with Ray Rice, and Boldin has to share the possession workload with other receiving targets. He’s not always the first option in the red zone. Boldin is a consummate professional, but his stats will remain static.
Can/will Torrey Smith be the downfield threat needed in this offense?
Smith has the requisite size, speed and skill to emerge as a dynamic deep presence. The Ravens drafted him specifically to stretch defenses. He appears to have enough polish to get on the field.
Flacco has increased his yards and TDs three years straight. Will he make it four?
Definitely a strong possibility considering that John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome intend to increase Flacco’s freedom to lead the offense. Flacco is extremely durable and seems poised to assert himself more this year.
Who are the long-term keeper options to replace Mason and Todd Heap?
Wide receiver Tandon Doss, a fourth-round pick from Indiana with good hands and crisp routes, and tight end Ed Dickson, an athletic former Oregon star who had his moments as a rookie, are the top candidates.b
• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: IND, @SD, CLE
OK, Joe Flacco and Ray Rice owners, you have a solid chance at winning your opening playoff round, and if you make it that far your title game looks good, too. The bugaboo is San Diego, on the road, in the middle (No. 1 vs. the pass and No. 4 vs. the run last season). But you get the Colts’ 25th-ranked run defense and the Browns’ 27th-ranked run-stoppers on either side; Cleveland’s pass defense also ranked 18th.
• Athlon Best Bets
Sleeper: Torrey Smith, WR
Deep-Sleeper: Tandon Doss, WR
Overvalued: Defense/Special Teams
Top Rookie: Jimmy Smith, DB
Bounce-Back: Anquan Boldin, WR
Top IDP: Terrell Suggs, DL
• Try to Avoid
Ed Dickson, TE
No Derrick Mason. No Todd Heap. And the Ravens sign Vonta Leach to clear the way for more ground and pound (or at least dump offs) with Ray Rice. It’s probably a year too early for Dickson to be thrown into the fold as the team’s starting TE, and he may perform as such.
WAIT UNTIL: 19th RD
• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
The Ravens desperately needed to add depth and speed to the receiving corps, and the selections of Smith and Doss should address both of those issues. Smith is more likely to make an impact in 2011, as he was one of the fastest receivers in the draft and gives the offense a much-needed weapon on the outside. The Ravens must find a running back to spell Ray Rice. Anthony Allen will have an opportunity to help in short-yardage situations and to serve as the No. 2 back.
More Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets and Rankings:
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 280
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 240 w/ IDPs
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defense/Special Teams