How the Ravens Dean Pees prepares for the Bills
Our weekly look at the Ravens' matchup from a fantasy football perspective...
Torrey Smith - My concern with Torrey Smith,2013 fantasy option came down to questioning whether he was a true every down receiver and not simply an all-or-nothing deep threat. Even though he's yet to score this season, Smith has shown improvement and consistency with 16 receptions and at least 85 receiving yards in each game despite being a marked man by defenses. Now he faces a Buffalo team marked by injuries at each level of defense. Look for Smith's score this week and fantasy production befet of a top-10 receiver, which is what he is against Buffalo.
Marlon Brown - Fine, guess he can't score every week. Considering owners spent either a late, late round pick or nabbed Brown off waivers, nobody should be complaining to loudly about his clunker last week against Houston. The reality is that the undrafted rookie remains a pure risk-reward option thanks to his inexperience and Baltimore's running game versus his ideal red zone-sized frame. This is a plus-matchup for Baltimore's passing attack so Brown remains a WR3 candidate this week.
Dallas Clark/Ed Dickson - From Rotoworld's Evan SIlva: " Clark lacks fantasy start-ability despite being Baltimore's second-most heavily targeted pass catcher. The 34-year-old is playing 50% of the offensive snaps and in Week 3 only played on obvious passing downs. He's a bottom-barrel TE2.." Yeah, sounds about right.
At this moment it remains unclear whether Ray Rice starts or even plays against the Bills, though we can probably assume the former if the latter takes place. What is clear is that whether it's Rice or Bernard Pierce or a combination of the two running against Buffalo, those involved are poised for a big day. The Bills are tied for 30th in run defense, allowing 155 yards per game. Last week Jets RB Bilal Powell became the latest back with a monster day against this unit. Rice and Pierce are better than Powell, the Ravens much better than the Jets. If Rice plays, considering him an RB2 and Pierce a low-end option at the same spot or at least a Flex play. No Rice and Pierce is a top-15 threat on his own.
Joe Flacco - One thing we've always been able to count on with the Joe Flacco, fantasy quarterback, is inconsistency. Well, as Ronald Reagan might say, here we go again. After passing for 362 yards and two touchdowns in the opener, he's thrown for 382 and one touchdown over the next two games. So after two stinkers does this mean we should expect Good Joe against Buffalo? No guarantees, but the opportunity is rather stellar seeing as the Bills have a truckload of sidelined or injured players including top corner Stephon Gilmore and fellow defensive backs Leodis McKelvin and Jarius Byrd. Hard to trust Flacco, but there probably won't be a better chance to use him on the road this season.
The defense and the kicker
The Ravens haven't allowed a touchdown in two straight games, scored last week with an interception and punt return, and next face a rookie quarterback. Yes, start them. As for Justin Tucker, he's back on track after making all three of his field goal attempts against the Texans.
On the other side...
C.J. Spiller remains a fantasy starter despite his early season struggles, Stevie Johnson has 14 receptions for 197 yards and a touchdown over the last two weeks and rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel already has a late-game victory on his resume. The problem, for Buffalo's offense, is that the moving the ball against Baltimore's improving 3-4 defense doesn't figure to be easy, not even a little. Outside of using Spiller, Johnson or Fred Jackson as a low-end Flex, there isn't much to see here and even those three are unlikely to collectively generate strong numbers.
In addition to CSNwashington duties covering the Wizards, Hoyas and the college basketball scene, Ben writes about and ranks fantasy football players for FFToolbox.com, rated the most accurate site for the 2012 season.