QB – Joe Flacco established himself as the QB of the future for the franchise in 2008. Look for him to develop more as a passer in 2009. He really ranks though as only a bye week fill-in for your fantasy starter at this time.
RB – For 2009, all indications are that this will be a three headed monster of Willis McGahee, Ray Rice, and LeRon McClain.
McGahee appears to be on his way out of Baltimore sooner rather than later. Many reports have described his lack of work ethic as a contributing factor to the decline amongst the coaching staff.
Rice appears to be the back on the rise as he has bulked up over the offseason, and impressed coaches in OTAs so far this season. He has been running with the first team offense most of this offseason and appears primed for a breakout season. Coach Harbaugh was even quoted as saying “he could be an every down back.” That’s high praise from the man in charge of the team on game day.
McClain will probably settle into a little lesser role this season and serve as the power fullback in short yardage and goal line situations.
WR –As of press time of this article, it appears that Derrick Mason will retire from the NFL. Nothing official has been sent to the League office so this could change and make him a solid WR3 to own especially in ppr leagues.
Other options that could have fantasy impact for 2009 on the roster include, Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams. The team also recently signed Drew Bennett, although he only ever had one fantasy season of relevance in his entire career.
Clayton could take over as the number one option for Flacco and become a low end WR3 or high end WR4.
Williams will need some time to develop chemistry in the offense as he has missed many games and practice time throughout his career.
TE- Todd Heap and LJ Smith comprise the probably TE corp for 2009 season. Neither of them has been healthy the past few seasons. Hopefully a combo of the two works and keeps them on the field. This is a fantasy TE situation to avoid if you can.
K- Graham Gano and Steven Hauschka will battle this training camp to fill the departed Matt Stover’s shoes. The winner of this will only be very average at best and should only be used as bye week filler only.
DEF/ST – The Ravens defense finished first in overall fantasy points in standard Yahoo scoring for 2008.
However, this could be this season that this aging unit begins its decline. Gone are Bart Scott, Chris McAlister and Jim Leonhard from those defenses of years gone by. Also gone is long time defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are another year older.
I still predict they will finish among the top 15 fantasy defenses for 2009, but I do not see a repeat of being first overall.
Note to readers: My series was discontinued for several days as I incurred some major back problems that have required significant pain medication. I will try to do some two-a-days in honor of the the start of training camps to get everyone ready for the upcoming fantasy draft season.
Next I will preview the Cincinnati Bengals.
For more fantasy insight visit chinstrapninjas.