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Ravens fantasy outlook vs. Bengals

The Ravens have a few fantasy options to go with and a few to sit. Here's what we're looking at in Week 1.

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Larry French

Start 'em

RB Bernard Pierce: It's Week 1, so fantasy owners are going into this week somewhat blindly. While the Bengals figure to have a strong defense, the Ravens have been very strong running the ball thus far in the preseason. Therefore, Pierce, who will start Sunday, should get a nod as either a RB2 or Flex play this week. Pierce figures to get a lot of carries in a running game that should be far improved this year.

WR Torrey Smith: You drafted Smith in rounds five or six, so you can't bench him Week 1 — even if he's going against a tough secondary. But if all goes as planned for the Ravens' offense, a lot of running should open up the play-action game. Smith should see his fair share of targets. However, he's more suited as a flex play than a WR2 in this matchup.

Sit 'em

QB Joe Flacco: While Flacco should have a better command under center this season, he's not worth a start at this time. It's better to take the wait-and-see approach with him. Much like Matt Schaub became a fantasy starter in the mid-2000s, Flacco could very well ascend to that kind of status later this year in Gary Kubiak's offense.

Ravens D/ST: The good news is that the Ravens will have the starting secondary back for the season-opener. The bad news is that the Ravens didn't show considerable signs of improvement during the preseason. Sure, there was the first half against Washington, though that appeared to be more of an indictment on Washington. Like Flacco as a fantasy starter, the Ravens defense is one to avoid for the time being.


WR Steve Smith: In PPR leagues especially, Smith could sneakily score some points. Working underneath, Smith could get rack up the catches. He's also a threat to strike deep at times too.

TE Dennis Pitta: This isn't as much a sleeper play as it is a 50/50 play. You're either a big believer in Pitta's fit in Kubiak's offense or you want to see what he does first before plugging him in your lineup.

Non-Ravens fantasy starts of the week: 49ers RB Frank Gore, Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin

Non-Ravens fantasy sits of the week: Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart, Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin, Raiders RB Maurice Jones-Drew

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.