It’s after the Fourth of July, so it’s high time we turn our attention to fantasy football sleepers, breakouts, and busts for every NFL team. The ADP is per 4for4’s ADP data. We started with the AFC East, and we now move on to the AFC North. Will the Ravens receivers do anything? Can Gus Edwards finally make me not look stupid? Will Odell Beckham, Jr. have his hair dyed into a raven for week one? We answer none of those questions, and more, with the Baltimore Ravens’ sleeper, breakout, and bust!
Sleeper: Zay Flowers, Wide Receiver (WR63, Pick 161 Overall)
If you cheat and look down on this list, there’s a theme to my sleeper, breakout, and bust for the Baltimore Ravens. I chose the three wide receivers because one has to have a good season. After all, the Ravens brought in Todd Monken to run the offense, and they want to pass the ball a whole lot more. Gone are the days when Lamar Jackson would throw it 15 times and Mark Andrews gets a 95% target share. Instead, they have a bevy of weapons at their disposal, with 2023 first-round draft pick Zay Flowers as their deep speed threat, an aspect of the passing game they’ve already had in Devin Duvernay and DeMarcus Robinson.
But, I don’t have to tell you that Zay Flowers is better than Devin Duvernay and DeMarcus Robinson, who they had in this role in the past. He scored in every game his senior season while averaging 90 yards per game. While his 4.42 40-yard dash isn’t in the John Ross territory, it’s fast enough for me to get excited for Flowers in the same way that Jahan Dotson flashed in year one, but with a better quarterback.
Breakout: Rashod Bateman, Wide Receiver (WR49, Pick 112 Overall)
Todd Monken was one of the architects of the absolute chaos factory that was the 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That season brought us open-shirted Ryan Fitzpatrick, hints of a Chris Godwin Breakout, and a ton of wide receiver production. Just the wide receivers on the 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers combined for 4,013 yards and 24 touchdowns across those 16 games. So, the Ravens hope that he can bring his particular brand of offense to Balmore, or at least, the wide receivers certainly do.
And, there’s a reason why I brought up Chris Godwin. At 6’0” and 190 pounds, Bateman gives up 19 pounds and an inch to Chris Godwin, but stylistically, he’s the closest thing the Ravens have. He thrives as a possession receiver, but he also has the speed, strength, and overall talent to take over a game. While he isn’t Chris Godwin, he does have the draft pedigree (he was a first-round pick back in 2021) and he is the only returning member of the receiver room who stands to play a large part in 2023. It’s been a while since we leaned on the third-year breakout, but one we saw coming? Year three Chris Godwin.
Bust: Odell Beckham, Wide Receiver (WR47, Pick 110 Overall)
For some reason, we have all collectively decided to take Odell Beckham first out of this group of receivers. Beckham will be 31 in November, hasn’t had back-to-back 100-yard games since Barack Obama was president, didn’t get signed at all in 2022 coming off of a knee injury, and is only being considered in this spot because of “how well” he did with the rams. With the Rams, he averaged 3 catches for 38 yards per game, but his five touchdowns in eight games wallpapers right over that fact. There’s no real reason to take Odell Beckham this season as the first Ravens WR off the board, as he isn’t the guy he once was.
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