Right before the 2023 NFL draft, the Baltimore Ravens answered their most important question by extending Lamar Jackson. The Ravens have been a very frustrating offense to watch the last couple of years because they just never seemed to want to throw it downfield unless they absolutely had to. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the Ravens’ offense underwent a significant overhaul before Lamar signed his extension. With the firing of Greg Roman and replacing him with Todd Monken, the Baltimore Ravens offense looks like it will be significantly different. The question is what impact these changes have on the 2023 fantasy football season.
FULL BALTIMORE DRAFT RESULTS
|1||22||Zay Flowers||WR||Boston College|
|5||22||Kyu Blu Kelly||CB||Stanford|
Round 1, Pick 22 Overall: Zay Flowers, Wide Receiver, Boston College (5’9” 182 lbs)
WR1: Rashod Bateman
WR2: Odell Beckham Jr.
WR3: Zay Flowers
I hated everything about Zay Flowers’ tape. Everything except Zay Flowers himself because I was watching this incredibly talented wide receiver carry the Boston College offense on his shoulders. I couldn’t help but wonder how we would have been talking about Flowers if he had a quarterback who wasn’t getting sacked two seconds after dropping back. The poor quarterback was so shell-shocked, he took off running a lot of the time when he wasn’t even being pressured. All in all, it was incredibly frustrating to watch Zay Flowers constantly break open, only to have the offense collapse around him.
When the ball came Flowers’ way, I saw a very fluid runner with excellent change of direction. Zay Flowers is a fearless receiver. The way he would split defenders across the middle reminded me of Steve Smith, although Flowers is nowhere near as strong as Smith was. I think it was just watching a little guy go up between two defenders to effortlessly pluck poorly thrown footballs away from defenders intent on punishing him.
Flowers is a fast guy with very quick feet. His tape is peppered with wow plays. Flowers always found a way to get open and put his quarterback in a position to succeed. I honestly think if he played in the SEC, Flowers would have been drafted ten spots higher.
Todd Monken, the new offensive coordinator in Baltimore has been an OC four times in the NFL. We will throw out his 2019 stint as the OC for Cleveland because no man should be judged poorly for failing in Cleveland. Monken is the anti-Roman. In his three years coaching in Tampa, he had two top-five passing offenses. The Ravens are going to look a lot different this year and I think Lamar Jackson is going to look a lot closer to the MVP candidate he seemed to be in the first four games of the 2022 season.
The top passing offenses of Todd Monken had insane levels of distribution to his wide receivers. In 2017, Monken’s top three wide receivers had 309 total targets and 2300 yards, with the lowest target total for his WR3 at 83 targets, 61 catches, and 631 yards. Monken’s 2018 numbers are even better with his top three wide receivers netting 338 total targets and 3182 yards, with the lowest target total for his WR3 at 95 targets, 59 catches, and 842 yards. Looking at the offensive distribution, Zay Flowers could end up being a very shrewd late-round investment that pays off dividends.
2023 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
We see that Zay Flowers has talent. We can see that opportunities are going to be available to wide receivers in a Todd Monken offense. The Ravens spent first-round draft capital on Flowers, so they are going to look for reasons to use him. Over the last two years, Rashod Bateman has only played in 18 of his last 34 games. Odell Beckham Jr. is coming off his second torn ACL. On the other hand, Zay Flowers did not miss a game in college. While Flowers is third on the depth chart, there is a strong possibility he will be required to do some real heavy lifting for this wide receiver group toward the end of the season. Even if Bateman and ODB stay healthy, Flowers feels like he has a floor of a WR3/Flex player. If there are injuries in front of him, Flowers could be competing for offensive rookie of the year.
2023 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
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