Fantasy 5: What does Jeremy Maclin mean for the Ravens WRs?
(The Fantasy 5 is a quick-hit wrap-up of some of the biggest news topics of the day for fantasy football players, giving you advice you need to improve your team.)
We’re getting closer. Mandatory minicamps are in full swing around the NFL, which means we get our first glimpse into how teams will look in 2017. Of course, it’s just a three-day peek, with the real action not kicking off until the start of training camp at the end of next month. Still, there’s a lot to get caught up on in today’s F5.
1. How should we value Jeremy Maclin in Baltimore?
The veteran receiver signed with the Ravens Monday afternoon, roughly two weeks after he was released by the Chiefs. Maclin received a two-year, $11 million pact with $6 million guaranteed. Before signing with Baltimore, he visited with the Bills, and Philadelphia was also reported interested in his services. Maclin joins a Ravens depth chart that was dangerously thin before his addition.
Maclin is coming off a lifeless 2016 campaign where he managed just 44 catches on 72 targets for 536 yards. He finished a lowly 73rd among wide receivers in fantasy scoring, providing a horrendous return on investment at his fourth-round ADP. But prior to last year, Maclin was a consistent producer who finished top-20 in 2015 and top-10 in 2014. So was last year an anomaly or a sign of things to come?
While we can’t provide a definitive answer to that question at this point, we can break down his fit in the Ravens offense. Mike Wallace is inked into a starting role on the outside and it appeared Breshad Perriman would be joining him in two-wide sets. Those duties should now go to Maclin, who will kick to the slot in three-wide with Perriman on the outside. Maclin ran 47.4 percent of his routes out of the slot last year, so the fit makes perfect sense.
Between Maclin and Wallace, there isn’t a clear-cut top target in the Ravens offense. As of now, Maclin gets the slight edge, and should be considered a borderline WR3 with Wallace in a similar range. The biggest loser here is Perriman. There were a number of pundits on his bandwagon, including yours truly, as a breakout seemed to be brewing. That could certainly still happen, but Perriman’s opportunities for targets will be capped as the No. 3 receiver.
Additionally, the Ravens have ended their pursuit of Eric Decker, who was officially released on Monday. Decker’s future remains very much up in the air, though he should find a home well in advance of training camp.
2. DeVante Parker hyperbole
Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said Parker is in store for “a gigantic year.” I’m not really sure what that means, and we really can toss his comment to the side. However, the more important information here is that Parker seems to have committed to a healthier routine to help avoid the injuries that have plague him in his first two professional seasons. Over that span, he’s been hobbled by back, hamstring, and foot injuries.
Parker is no sure thing, but we have seen flashes of upside from him in the past. If he can stay healthy this season, he’s a good bet to provide value at his current ADP in the eighth round.
3. Giovani Bernard could miss regular-season games
Ah ha. The Bengals team website suggested Bernard won’t be rushed back into action and could miss “the first couple regular-season games.” He isn’t expected to land on the PUP list, but he certainly could be Wally Pipped in the process with rookie Joe Mixon a capable third-down back. Mixon has drawn praise for his offseason work and has the talent to take the job and run with it. He also could very easily leapfrog Jeremy Hill as the priority early-down back. Despite the Bengals’ potential problems along their offensive line, Mixon is shaping up to be a very interesting RB2 option in 2017.
4. Titans get Corey Davis on the field
The rookie first-rounder was a full participant in Tuesday’s minicamp session and claims to be 100 percent recovered from the ankle injury that sidelined him throughout the predraft process. Davis enters the NFL following a prolific college career that helped propel him to be the first wide receiver selected in April’s draft. He has the talent and physical profile to step right in as the Titans top receiver, though fantasy drafters shouldn’t consider him anything more than a WR3 option in the run-heavy Tennessee offense.
5. Should fantasy players care about Donnel Pumphrey?
Speaking of prolific college players, Pumphrey is coming off a massive career where he finished as the all-time FBS leader in yards. However, his size (5-foot-9, 180) doesn’t fit the mold of an NFL back and is a big part of why he came off the board on the third day of the NFL draft. However, word from the Philadelphia beat is that Pumphrey is getting “significant work” with the first-team offense.
For fantasy purposes, we need to keep a few things in mind here. For starters, it’s June and teams are essentially just getting started. Beyond that, the Eagles have LeGarrette Blount and Darren Sproles locked in as their top two backs. That isn’t going to change unless one of them gets injured, which means Pumphrey’s workload will be limited at best this year. Despite his size, Pumphrey has exciting potential on the football field. However, his fantasy value is extremely limited in redraft leagues. He’s better viewed as a dynasty stash as the heir to Sproles’ role in the Philadelphia offense.