After less than a week on the market, Jeremy Maclin joined the Baltimore Ravens on Monday in a move that will have significant fantasy impact. The Ravens were clearly high on Maclin, because it isn’t often you see a veteran sign a two year deal just 6 days after being released.
Not only will this move impact Maclin, but it will have an immediate impact on the production we can expect from the other Ravens pass catchers, as well as Joe Flacco. Let’s take a look at the fantasy football winners and losers from this move.
Expectations for Maclin
The clear winners here are Jeremy Maclin and Joe Flacco. We are hearing a bunch of talk from the fantasy community that Maclin has lost a step, but I’m not buying that. This is a guy that put up 87 / 1,100 / 8 in 2015, in a Chiefs offense that is not designed for a receiver like Maclin, and with a QB in Alex Smith that really struggles to throw the deep ball.
His new QB happens to be one of the more underrated deep ball throwers in the league, and his new OC Marty Mornhinweg
is not afraid to let it rip. The Ravens threw the ball 679 times last season, the most in the NFL. We are excited to see just what Flacco and Maclin can do together, and expect their numbers to be significantly better than what Kamar Aiken, Steve Smith, and Mike Wallace were able to produce over the past three seasons.
Maclin will clearly jump up our preseason top 150 rankings when they come out on Friday. He was at 130, but as Flacco’s new number one receiver, I expect to see him somewhere in the 60’s on Friday.
Adjusting Projections for Other Ravens Pass Catchers
I don’t think the Ravens will be able to get Decker in addition to Maclin, so I expect this group to be their receiving corps for 2017. Clearly the entire group takes somewhat of a hit, as we expect Maclin to see 150+ targets this season. Let’s take a look at the entire group, and break down exactly how they will be effected by the Maclin signing:
Tight Ends – We still expect whoever the starting tight end is here to be fantasy relevant, and a top 15 player at the position. The Ravens made Dennis Pitta the 4th highest targeted tight end in the NFL last season, and while that number may dip slightly with Pitta injured and Maclin arriving, we still expect the Ravens TE’s to be fantasy relevant.
Chris Moore – Moore was a deep sleeper we wanted to love, but never really could, and now definitely can’t. He was a big time big play receiver in college at Cincinnati, but doesn’t have enough speed for that production to translate at this level, and is now absolutely buried on the depth chart and fighting for a roster spot.
Michael Campanaro – Campanaro actually made our sleeper article from just a week ago, but you can now move him over into the deep sleeper category. With Wallace and Maclin the likely starters on the outside, we would be willing to guarantee that Perriman or Maclin will work out of the slot in three receiver sets. Couple that with the fact that Flacco relies heavily on his tight ends as possession receivers, and Campanaro would have to have a crazy good camp to earn any targets this year.
Breshad Perriman – We are still somewhat holding onto hope with Perriman, but it’s by a string. The guy has never really been a big production receiver. Despite playing with Blake Bortles and Justin Holman, he only caught 115 passes in his career at UCF, and only caught 33 of his 66 targets last season. The potential is still there, and he is in year three in the system, but will likely need an injury or to flat out beat out Mike Wallace to be a WR3/Flex type player this season.
Mike Wallace – If Wallace is able to hold of Perriman and earn the #2 receiver snaps and targets for the duration of the 2017 season, we expect him to put up similar numbers to what he did in 2016. In fact, I would expect a slight uptick in big plays and touchdowns with teams having to pay more attention to Maclin and a more seasoned Perriman. Wallace will fall down our big board slightly this week, but not more than 5-10 spots.