The Baltimore Ravens had Super Bowl aspirations coming into the 2015 season, but they sit at the bottom of the AFC North after a disappointing 0-2 start. Fortunately for fantasy owners relying on the offensive playmakers like Joe Flacco, Steve Smith Sr. and Crockett Gillmore, the win-loss record doesn’t matter as much as the stats.
Baltimore fell behind the Oakland Raiders early during Sunday’s 37-33 loss, which means Flacco aired it out in a comeback effort. Here is a look at the final numbers from the passing attack:
Flacco and Smith are proven commodities, but Gillmore is not quite a household name at this point. He will be if he continues to make plays like this, from the NFL:
It is important to note before fantasy owners overreact to Gillmore’s performance (and Flacco’s and Smith’s) that Oakland was dead last in the league in scoring defense in 2014 and allowed 33 points in each of the first two games this year. Offenses should rack up plenty of fantasy points against the group if Sunday’s contest was any indication.
Still, Gillmore is already shedding questions about his pass-catching abilities in his second season after he tallied a whopping 121 receiving yards in 15 games in 2014. Clifton Brown of CSN suggested as much during Sunday’s showing:
Tight end is not a loaded position in fantasy circles, but owners need to see more before they simply hand a starting spot to Gillmore. If he turns in a couple more impressive outings like Sunday’s against defenses that are better than Oakland’s, you can start to consider him a starting option.
As for Smith Sr., the track record is impossible to ignore, especially since Torrey Smith is no longer there to siphon targets. Smith is the clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver, and he boasts eight seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards in his career. He also had 73 career touchdown catches coming into Sunday’s contest against the Raiders.
Perhaps most impressively, Smith played at least 14 games every year of his career except for 2004. Considering this is his 15th season in the league, that is a testament to his durability and fitness level at age 36.
If the past is any indication, Smith will be healthy and productive throughout the 2015 campaign. Make sure he is in your lineup.
Smith will also be receiving passes from Flacco, who is more than just a former Super Bowl winner. The quarterback boasts six straight seasons with more than 3,600 passing yards and had 148 touchdowns coming into Sunday’s contest.
His performance was critical Sunday for confidence purposes because he struggled in the opening week this year against the Denver Broncos with 117 yards, no touchdowns and two picks.
Normally a poor performance and an excellent performance in the first two weeks means you should wait a couple of games to see which one is the true indicator. However, Flacco is a proven playmaker who consistently racks up yardage and touchdowns. His showing Sunday is more in line with what you should expect the rest of the season.
Feel comfortable playing him every week.
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