Here’s The Game Day’s Baltimore Ravens 2021 NFL Preview: 2020 Recap, Team 2021 Outlook, 2021 Betting Tips and 2021 Fantasy Football Outlook.
Ravens 2021 NFL Preview: Baltimore 2020 Recap, 2021 Team Outlook For Fantasy Football & Betting
Baltimore Ravens 2020 Recap
- Final record: 11-5 (5-3 Home/6-2 Away)
- Division regular-season finish: 2nd
- Result: Lost in AFC Divisional Game
The Ravens were once again unable to go deep into the playoffs, losing in the AFC Divisional game to the Buffalo Bills. The Ravens look like they’re ready to evolve as an offense, as their extreme run-heavy approach seems to have peaked, so it’s time for a change.
2021 Baltimore Ravens Offseason Changes
Baltimore Ravens 2021 Offseason Departures
- EDGE Matthew Judon
- EDGE Yannick Ngakoue
- OT Orlando Brown
- WR Willie Snead
- RB Mark Ingram
- C Matt Skura
- OG D.J. Fluker
Baltimore Ravens 2021 Free-Agency/Offseason Additions
- WR Sammy Watkins
- OT Alejandro Villanueva
- OG Kevin Zeitler
- S Geno Stone
- CB Chris Westry
Baltimore Ravens 2021 NFL Draft Picks
- WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota (Round 1, Pick 27)
- EDGE Jayson Oweh, Penn St. (Round 1, Pick 31)
- OG Ben Cleveland, Georgia (Round 3, Pick 94)
- CB Brandon Stephens, SMU (Round 3, Pick 104)
- WR Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma St. (Round 4, Pick 131)
- CB Shaun Wade, Ohio St. (Round 5, Pick 160)
- EDGE Daelin Hayes, Notre Dame (Round 5, Pick 171)
- FB Ben Mason, Michigan (Round 5, Pick 184)
Baltimore Ravens 2021 Preview & Outlook
The Ravens finished the year strong, winning six in a row before losing in the AFC Divisional Game for the second consecutive year. After struggling against the Bills in that game, it became clear that something needed to change with this offense because it’s too run-heavy.
In order to allow Lamar Jackson to take the next step in his development, the team needed to improve his supporting cast. They signed veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins and used first and fourth rounders on Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace, giving Lamar a brand new arsenal at his disposal. Bateman is an excellent prospect who I expect to become the number-one option on the perimeter.
The Ravens now have deep threats with Wallace and Marquise Brown as well as possession receivers like Watkins and Bateman. Tight end Mark Andrews is still among the best at his position, and J.K. Dobbins looked like a future star as a rookie. He’ll combine with Gus Edwards to give the Ravens a potent rushing attack.
The O-line has been reshuffled with the additions of Alejandro Villanueva and Kevin Zeitler. Ronnie Stanley is back from injury, so this should be an improved unit.
I expect Lamar Jackson to have a career year as a passer this season.
The Ravens finished 9th in overall DVOA (10th vs. pass, 12th vs. run) on defense. They lost edge-rusher Matthew Judon to free agency but did a good job trading Orlando Brown to acquire another first-rounder and select edge-rusher Jayson Oweh.
The defense is still stacked with talented players like Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey, and Patrick Queen. We can reasonably expect this unit to remain in the upper echelon of the NFL.
The coaching staff remains unchanged, with head coach John Harbaugh, offensive coordinator Greg Roman, and defensive coordinator Don Martindale.
Roman did a great job adapting the offense to Lamar’s strengths earlier in his career, so it will be interesting to see how he changes the offense with this new group of wideouts. Martindale should have this defense buzzing as usual. I’ve continued to preach that continuity is huge, especially on the coaching staff and that applies here for the Ravens.
The AFC North looks like a three-horse race between the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers:
- The Bengals have an extremely talented group on offense, but they’re not ready to contend for the division just yet.
- The Steelers have addressed their running game with Najee Harris, but they have questions on the offensive line.
- The Browns, on the other hand, look like Super Bowl contenders. They’ll be getting Odell Beckham Jr. back, and they had a terrific draft.
I expect the Ravens and Browns to battle for this division with the Steelers lagging behind.
Baltimore Ravens 2021 Fantasy Football Tips
Lamar Jackson finished as QB8 in fantasy points per game, disappointing fantasy players who selected him as the first quarterback off the board. This has made him a value in fantasy football drafts this season. He’s a player to target because of his upgraded supporting cast.
Lamar has rushed for over 1,000+ yards in consecutive seasons, but we can project a career low here with the Ravens shifting towards a more balanced offense. On the bright side, I think we’ll see a career high in pass attempts and passing yards.
J.K. Dobbins finished as RB28 in fantasy points per game (PPR) on only 152 touches, demonstrating his sky-high upside. He can be an RB1 this season, even in a committee with Gus Edwards. This is no longer a three-headed monster with Mark Ingram now in Houston. Edwards looks like a matchup-based FLEX, depending more on game-script for fantasy value.
The receiving core is a lot harder to navigate. While there should be an increase in volume, there are now several mouths to feed in this offense. You can target rookie Rashod Bateman, who profiles as an alpha number-one wide receiver or Marquise Brown who can be volatile as a deep-threat, but carries high upside. Tylan Wallace and Sammy Watkins could also eat into the target share.
Tight end Mark Andrews should be a nice value in drafts after finishing as TE4 in fantasy points per game (PPR) last season. The increase in passing volume is huge for his outlook.
Baltimore Ravens 2021 NFL Futures Bet Tips
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Lamar Jackson to Win 2021-2022 NFL MVP Award (+1400) at BetMGM
Lamar Jackson has a much-improved supporting cast heading into the 2021 season. The Ravens coaching staff has talked about how they need to be more balanced on offense, which could help Lamar take it to the next level as a quarterback. I expect the Ravens to be one of the best teams in the AFC, which would put Jackson firmly in play for the NFL MVP Award. He’s a nice value at +1400.
Baltimore Ravens To Win Super Bowl 56 (+1200) at BetMGM
The Ravens have all of the pieces in place to contend for a Super Bowl: franchise quarterback, improved pass-catchers, strong running game, and elite coaching staff. The continuity that they’ll have on their coaching staff bodes well for their transition on offense. The Ravens are tied with the Bills for the third-lowest odds for the Super Bowl, but I think there’s still value on this bet.
Rashod Bateman To Win 2021-2022 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (+5000) at BetMGM
This is a longshot bet, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities. The Ravens don’t have a number-one wide receiver ahead of Rashod Bateman on the depth chart, so there’s a clear path for targets. If Lamar improves as a passer, it will likely be because Bateman had a strong rookie season. While it’s tough for a rookie receiver to win this award, it’s worth a look at this huge value.