Assessing Zay Flowers, OBJ fits with Lamar, Ravens
Patrick Daugherty, Denny Carter and Connor Rogers examine Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens' 2023 outlook, breaking down why new OC Todd Monken and offensive pieces boost Lamar & Co.'s outlook.
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: Not only is the band getting back together-- they're finally adding new members. Cooler heads prevailed. Sanity prevailed.
Lamar Jackson is back. He's the highest paid player in the league. They're finally committing, like, the entire build to him. I guess you could argue it was built around him before and his running skills.
Now they're trying to build around Lamar and his passing skills. They gave Odell Beckham way more money than I thought he could possibly get at this stage of his career. They signed Nelson Agholor to try to stretch the field. And most importantly, they used a first round pick on Zay Flowers, Conner Just how do you-- you know Todd Monken, a much heavier pass--
CONNOR ROGERS: Yeah.
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: --passing what am I try-- pass playcaller than Greg Roman is in his offensive coordinator. What do you see? I mean, it's kind of obvious, but what do you think the Ravens are trying to do on offense? How do you think this is going to manifest itself with all these new pass catchers?
CONNOR ROGERS: I think Monken, ironically, is the biggest move of any compared to any of the acquisitions, right? Like, Monken's effect on Lamar Jackson from a fantasy perspective has a bigger impact as a whole than just signing Odell or just signing Agholor or just drafting Zay Flowers and Rashod Bateman being healthy. Like, all of that-- that's a really good wide receiver room that they've flipped this to. I think Zay Flowers, as much as he played inside outside at college, is going to have to be an inside only wide receiver at the next--
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: I was going to ask you how they plan to use--
CONNOR ROGERS: Yeah, he's got to play in the slot. But now you kind of have different speed across your wide receiver alignments. We know Odell can win down the field.
We know Zay can win down the field. We know Agholor can. Bateman should probably be more of that possession kind of player. But I think they will try to stretch the field with their route game with Lamar, and that gives him even more room to run.
And, oh yeah, Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely are still there as well. So, if Omar stays healthy, I mean, it's crazy to say this about a guy that's already won an MVP, but there's no reason this can't be his most explosive season yet because of what he's going to be allowed to do.
With Greg Roman, there was so many times where it was like, well, with the way-- and I'm sure Harbaugh is involved in this too, but we're going to handcuff the quarterback situation because we know we can kind of grind out games with the run, and we don't have to take as many chances. And I think in this situation, this will get Lamar throwing the ball down the field a little bit more because the fact that they have speed across the board at every wide receiver spot.
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, just music to all of our ears.
CONNOR ROGERS: And you can manufacture touches to Zay too. I should have been clear about that. Like, those--
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: Yeah, didn't-- they were manufacturing touches him for him in pretty bad offenses at Boston College, right?
CONNOR ROGERS: Whatever that offense was supposed to be. Jet sweeps, pitch passes, screens, drag routes that clear out-- like, there is a lot they could do. And Monken-- I mean, if I had to hand-pick an offensive coordinator to get a quarterback going from a fantasy perspective, Monken would be pretty high on my list.
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: You're saying Monken after I incorrectly said Monken. I always forget. It is Monken. It is Todd Monken is the name of--
CONNOR ROGERS: I-- going from Stetson Bennett to Lamar Jackson. They won two national titles with Stetson Bennett. Like, no, hey, I'm just being honest.
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: Connor, I believe they're called Natties.
CONNOR ROGERS: That's what the kids do.
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: And boy, speaking of Stetson Bennett, the Rams are-- I don't know, man. They seem-- I can guarantee you Sean Payton is not-- or, excuse me. Sean McVay did not draft Stetson Bennett just to be like-- I bet he's got, like, secret dreams and hopes and aspirations for Stetson Bennett if I know Sean McVay, which, I don't know Sean McVay at all.
Denny, who do you see emerging triumphant in fantasy from like this new Ravens jumble? Because it is going to be really hard-- like, last year, you know, it was like "The Hunger Games" between Devin DuVernay and lots of players like Devin DuVernay.
Now the talent level's went up. Rashod Bateman is finally healthy. Who in the world should be prioritizing in redrafts?
DENNY CARTER: I mean, you know, Bateman was pretty good before the injury last year as far as, you know, the peripheral stats go. It wasn't anything that, like, you know, the charts or really blew you away. But he was fine. He was fine. And I think that added target competition might not be a bad thing, you know? It might draw defenses a little bit away from him.
They might focus on OBJ if he's healthy and fully, like, back-- or not fully back but at least somewhat back-- Flowers. A more creative offense, I think, would be good for Bateman. We forget that the Roman offense became so-- the Greg Roman offense became so predictable that defenders were calling out the plays before they happened, and Lamar Jackson, among others, were very frustrated by this because they were begging for more innovation, for more motion for more ways to at least have the defense on their heels a little bit.
But defenders knew, and they would say after the game. Yeah, we knew every play before it happened. And so you're getting away from this completely. And I think that's great for Lamar. I think it could be fantastic for Bateman, who, I think fantasy managers will be down on Bateman--
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: They will.
DENNY CARTER: --generally because of our last year went. So much hype.
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: The DeAndre Swift of receivers.
DENNY CARTER: Right. So much hype going into the season. People were so psyched to finally get the receiver that the Ravens invested in to give to Lamar Jackson as a threat. He let them down, and I think that we should be back on him this year.
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: Denny, I'm glad you clarified when you said the Roman offense, by the way. I thought maybe we're talking about, you know, the Roman Empire began to decline when it stopped invading--
DENNY CARTER: Well, listen. When they establish the run, the Romans, you know, kind of faltered.
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: It did. And Connor, you know, you kind of were hinting at Lamar Jackson MVP action. The Fantasy Football Happy Hour over there with Matthew and Jay, do you think they'll be putting some money down maybe on Lamar Jackson MVP this season?
CONNOR ROGERS: We did talk about him a little bit today and how much we are high on the situation for him. I wonder where his odds-- they're probably already up. I really should pull them up at some point during the show. I should do that after this because now--
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: [INAUDIBLE] Adam will probably do that as you're talking. Just keep filibustering for a minute, and then he'll--
CONNOR ROGERS: Problem with Lamar-- and this is just how I personally bet. I don't bet on long tickets on guys that are hurt because it's just the death signal for those awards. Like, if you miss two games in the quarterback MVP race and you could be having an amazing season, you're out. Like, same thing for--
PATRICK DOUGHERTY: Really good point.
CONNOR ROGERS: --running back. Like, that's different totally different. But with quarterbacks, you have to prioritize the health. But Lamar in fantasy?
I mean, he should be absolute dynamite, and maybe-- I'm wondering where the hype will be and the ADP will be on him because I think some people will be excited about the offense change and the receivers around him. And then the other people will be like, but he's hurt a lot. Can I trust him as that kind of level of pick anymore?