This is the fourth in my series of fantasy football tidbits. I will go through the Ravens roster position by position, giving my opinion on who I believe will be a good addition to your fantasy team.
Wide receiver is a difficult position to break down, mainly because the snap distribution and production breakdown could go so many different directions. We have a clear top 4 at the position who will get the bulk of the targets, and then after that there are still some others who may or may not end up on the roster and/or a part of the weekly offense. But the biggest question is what do you expect of Marc Trestman and the Ravens offense?
If you are like me and expect a more pass happy version of last years offense under Kubiak, then there are some great options here. I expect the offense to be built on playaction, screen passes, and bunch formations. Just to give you an idea why I believe this: A Marc Trestman offense has never finished higher than 15th in rushing attempts or lower than 16 in passing attempts. This is over 4 different teams as Head Coach and (primarily) Offensive Coordinator. Let that sink in. So the wide receivers should all get a healthy amount of targets.
Let's start with the clear top 4 in our offense:
What can you say about the seemingly age-less Steve Smith Sr. There was not high expectations outside of Baltimore last year with him coming off a down year, but he answered the call last year and broke 1000 yards. Can he do it again? I think he has a good year, but I believe he will not break the "magic" number of 1000 because I think at the end of the day, the other receivers will be outplaying him and taking a bite out of his targets. For me, in fantasy he is only a border-line #3 wide receiver.
Expectations are high for the well built receiver from UCF. He will take over the role Torrey Smith had last year, but his ceiling is higher in many ways. Although he is a rookie, his niche in the offense is integral, so he will be on the field for a large portion of the snaps. Being the best deep threat on the team,with a quarterback who loves to go deep is a recipe for success. I see Perriman finishing the year as a low end #2 or high end #3 wide receiver, which means he will likely outplay is his draft position. He will definitely be on my target list this fantasy draft season.
Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown
The dilemma comes when picking between Aiken and Brown. Kamar Aiken received a higher share of targets in the offense last year, and produced more touchdowns, but Brown had a great rookie season in 2013 despite coming off an ACL injury. They have similar skill sets despite the disparity in their stature, although Marlon Brown has shown an aptitude for playing in the slot and red zone abilities. Aiken has shown a Boldin-esque ability to make things happen in tight spaces. Both showed incredibly reliable hands in the 2nd half of 2014, while the Smith & Smith tandem struggled with drops all year long.
The problem I see is which one is going to end up on the field more. Whichever one is performing better will likely see the field more, but while I see Steve Smith losing some of his snaps to these 2 and Perriman being on the field 10-15% less than Torrey was, there still isn't ample room for large roles for both of these players, especially once you consider the depth at tight end. So which will it be, Aiken or Brown? I lean toward Brown, since I feel Aiken and Steve Smith are a little redundant in the red zone. Plus there is also a chance of Jeremy Butler making the roster, which would also cut into his opportunities.
The Rest: Jeremy Butler, Michael Campanaro, Darren Waller, DeAndre Carter, Daniel Brown.
Daniel Brown has a near zero chance of making the roster. Campanaro, if healthy would make it on the field enough to make an impact, but that is a big if. DeAndre Carter, even if he makes the roster likely would not receive a big enough workload. That leaves Butler and Waller.
Neither of these players are making it onto the practice squad, so I see at least one of them or possibly both on the opening day roster. There is a chance of them being fantasy relevant, although it is a slim chance. Waller could make a Martavis Bryant like impact, with his deep speed and huge build, but he has more competition to beat in order to get on the field than Bryant did. Butler, as I said above, has a chance to make the roster, as he has looked great in camps for the 2nd straight year. But for fantasy purposes, it would take several unfortunate injuries for him to have a chance to have an impact.
Perriman is a fantasy starter, Steve Smith is a borderline #3 WR this year, and there could be some value from the bottom of the position group, but it will be very hit or miss. To predict who it is going to be will be hard, so you will just have to go with your gut!