Editor’s Note: This guest post was written by Eric Moody. Follow him on Twitter @EricNMoody.
Did you know that recently signed Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Maclin began running at least 20 percent of his routes from the slot in 2012? Maclin has led the team in receiving yards per route run from the slot every season he has been active, according to Pro Football Focus. The former free agent wide receiver signed a 2-year, $11 million dollar contract, with $6 million of the $11 million coming in year one of the deal. This article will share two ways the signing of Maclin will positively impact quarterback Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens offense.
Joe Flacco’s Efficiency in 2017
Flacco was returning from a torn ACL heading into the 2016 season. He threw for a career high 4,317 yards. The only quarterback with more pass attempts than Flacco (672) was New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (673). Flacco finished as the fantasy QB18, produced 6.42 yards per attempt, and struggled in pass attempts greater than 20 yards.
I believe Maclin is the most complete wide receiver the Ravens have on their roster and it should not be a surprise if he emerges as Flacco’s number one wide receiver. Someone will have to replace the production of the retired Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, and a most likely to retire Dennis Pitta. The receivers accounted for 272 targets and 185 receptions. Maclin’s versatility will allow him to fill this void for Flacco and the Ravens offense, as evidenced by Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception methodology:
His ability in the vertical game fits well with Baltimore. pic.twitter.com/1KTqdjQ6U6
— Matt Harmon (@MattHarmon_BYB) June 12, 2017
Maclin has averaged 68 catches, 900 or more receiving yards, and six touchdowns in his seven-year NFL career. His presence should provide a jolt to a Ravens offense that produced 1.69 points per drive (ranked 22nd in the NFL), and only had 25 percent of those drives make it to the red zone.
The opportunity for the Ravens to run more Three Wide Receiver Sets
Jamison Hensley, an ESPN Ravens beat writer, believes Maclin will play in the slot this upcoming season. This would leave Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman on the outside. It would be wise for Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to have all three of his receiving playmakers on the field together as much as possible. Running back Danny Woodhead will also be heavily used as a receiver out of the backfield and in the red zone. He has averaged 97 targets, 78 receptions, 680 receiving yards, and three receiving touchdowns in the last two seasons he has played 16 games (2013 and 2015). Maclin has scored 12 touchdowns from the slot since 2014, according to Pro Football Focus. The Ravens wide receivers have accounted for 14 touchdowns from the slot during that time frame. Mornhinweg now has two options in both Maclin and Woodhead he can utilize in the passing game.
The addition of Maclin puts Flacco and the Ravens offense in a prime position to bounce back in 2017. What effect will it have on Flacco’s fantasy production this season? Let’s use the RotoViz Quarterback Similarity Scores App to answer this question with a simple projection. I used it to view the results of what similar players did after they had a season that was comparable to Flacco’s 2016. The app projects 32.94 pass attempts per game with a 62 percent completion percentage, 7.17 yards per attempt, 236.15 passing yards, and 1.49 touchdowns per game.
|Age||Games||Attempts||Comp. %||Yds Per Attempt||Yds||TDs||INTs|
The app also provides line of sight via a projection summary on the potential range of fantasy point outcomes on a weekly basis. This data is useful for you to set proper production expectations and also manage risk with some of the players you consider drafting.
|4 points/TD||6 points/TD|
Flacco is best viewed as a mid-to-high-end QB2, who I anticipate fantasy owners will use in two-quarterback, Superflex, and deeper formats. What did you learn that you were not aware of before? Let me know in the comments below or follow me on Twitter @EricNMoody
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