Pressing fantasy questions for the AFC North
As we do every July during the run-up to NFL training camp, we are taking a spin around the league to ask and answer a pressing fantasy question for each team. The AFC North faces the NFC North and the AFC South. While their schedules appear to be mostly smooth roads, the inter-divisional games feature three quality defenses and an up-and-coming Browns team. Add in the Texans, Jaguars, and Vikings, and there will still be some potholes along the way.
Can Danny Woodhead handle the barrage of targets headed his way?
The Ravens had the highest rate of passes over the middle of the field last year, and the now-released Dennis Pitta saw 92 of his 116 targets aimed within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. Steve Smith had a nice amount of those as well (69). Departed pass-catching fullback Kyle Juszczyk saw 40 of his 42 targets aimed within five yards of the line of scrimmage. In fact, there are 195 available targets from 2016 that were aimed five yards or less downfield – with Kenneth Dixon’s four-game suspension temporarily freeing up another 38 such looks. Whether by design, or due to how poorly he handles a pass rush, Joe Flacco got rid of the ball quickly and not very far downfield (7.1-yard aDOT).