NFL teams are cutting their roster down to the allotted amount of 53 players. With each update, a fantasy opportunity will change for multiple players. The Las Vegas Raiders parted ways with running back Kenyan Drake last week, but the Ravens snatched him up quickly to help bridge their backfield until J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards return healthy.
Mike Davis looks to be the early favorite to secure the bulk of touches for Baltimore. Despite catching 103 balls for 632 yards and three touchdowns over the past two seasons, he gained only 6.1 yards per catch. In addition, Davis rarely made impact plays in the run game (303/1,145/9 – 3.8 yards per rush with only two carries gaining at least 20 yards). As a result, I view him as only a placeholder with some value in Week 1, with Dobbins trending toward no playing time vs. the Jets.
Drake's skill set projects better in the passing game than Davis based on his career resume (199/1,535/7 – 7.7 yards per catch). He also had more success in scoring on the ground in 2019 (170/817/8 – 4.8 yards per carry) and 2020 (239/955/10 – 4.0 yards per rush). However, it will take him some time to get up to speed, giving Dobbins a better chance to see the majority of snaps for Baltimore. The combination of Dobbins/Drake has a better three-down feel than Dobbins/Edwards.
Justice Hill brings the speed factor to the Ravens’ offense. He flashed a more complete skill set in 2017 at Oklahoma State (268/1,467/15 and 31/190/1), but Hill missed most of 2021 with an Achilles injury. Baltimore gave him minimal chances over his first two seasons (70/285/2 with 13 catches for 90 yards).
After a quiet first three years in college over 34 games (245/1,136/9 with 72 catches for 819 yards and seven touchdowns), Tyler Badie busted onto the running back scene in 2021 at Missouri (268/1,604/14 with 64 yards for 330 yards and four touchdowns). His three-down skill set looks intriguing despite being undersized (5’8” and 195 lbs.). I have a feeling he is the back that will surprise in Week 1 for Baltimore. For someone looking for a flier before the season, Badie has fresher legs than Drake, with probably a higher ceiling in the passing game. He finished the preseason with 23 rushes for 65 yards plus four catches for 14 yards.
At a minimum, Edwards will miss four games. His ground-and-pound style fits better as a finisher when the Ravens play from the lead. His slow recovery allows another back to gain momentum in this backfield.
In Week 1 of the season, it wouldn’t surprise me to see another Ravens rusher outperform Davis.