No fly zone
"It doesn't do anything really to me," Flacco said. "You love those guys when they are here. It's pretty easy to realize the fact that they're not here, so what are you going to do about it? You have to move on. We have a lot of talented players out there, and we feel good about what we have the ability to do. We're just excited to go do it."
Commendable attitude. And I believe everything he said ... except for the last sentence.
Look, if you removed two of the top three receiving yardage leaders from any NFL roster, there is no denying that a negative impact will be felt. Especially since the Ravens didn't really hit the free agency market hard to bolster those areas, because they felt as if they didn't need to. But the departures are going to hurt the fantasy value of a number of Ravens in 2013.
It's easy to assume that Torrey Smith who, in 2012, was second on the team in receiving yards (855) and first in TDs (8) will simply step up and assume the role of WR1. The problem is he really isn't that type of receiver. Anquan Boldin's presence commanded a great deal of attention by the defense, which therefore created a good amount of the opportunities Smith took advantage of. Defenses now won't have to worry about Boldin, and with Dennis Pitta also done for the season, you're kidding yourself if you don't think the Ravens passing game is going to regress in 2013. Not that Flacco was an elite fantasy option to begin with, but I'd say it's a fair guess he'll finish somewhere in the bottom third of passing yardage and TDs among all starters.
Running backs are the lifeblood of fantasy football, and if you're looking for one who will outperform his ADP in a big way, well, here you go. It's difficult to describe how excited I am about Jackson's fantasy potential in 2013. He's rushed for over 1,000 yards every year of his career outside of his rookie season back in 2004, and the majority of the time, he did it with absolutely no threat of a receiving game to keep defenses honest. In other words, defenses keyed on stopping Jackson, and he was still able to do his thing and do it well.
Despite having a reputaton for being oft-injured, Jackson has been fairly durable throughout his career, having played in 14 or more games in all but two seasons. And now he's set to join an offense which has Roddy White and Julio Jones. Are you kidding me? It's hard to imagine many weeks where the Falcons offense doesn't score in the high 20s.
The only thing really lacking from Jackson's résumé is touchdown production. His best year came in 2006 when he racked up 13 of them on the ground and three in the air. I don't think he'll match those numbers this year, but I do expect around 1,200 yards and 7-10 scores on the ground as his floor. His ADP is around 30. If you can snag a top-flight RB and WR with your first two picks before getting Jackson on the way back in the third, you will be a happy fantasy camper.
» Three wide receivers all went down for the season within 24 hours of each other, all of them with torn ACLs. Arrelious Benn, Danario Alexander and Joe Morgan will spend the next 6-9 months rehabbing instead of playing. Ironically, all three were in similar sleeper positions where their teams had good reason to be optimistic each one could become important contributors to the offense. Whether it was possible or just wishful thinking, it doesn't really matter now. What does matter is each of those teams are going to have to look at their own WR scrap heaps and try to find other gems. With three of them trying the same strategy, I think it'll work out for one of them. You've all seen players who went undrafted, then seem to come out of nowhere and have productive seasons. I'll take a guess and say a productive wide receiver of that caliber will come from either the Eagles, Chargers or Saints. Keep an eye on those teams as preseason rolls on.
» If you want a more graphic description of how the Bills plan to use C.J. Spiller heavily this year, click the link. If you're the queasy type, all you need to know is the Bills essentially plan to run Spiller as much as possible. That's both good and bad news for his owners. Spiller averaged an absolutely absurd 6.01 yards per carry last season, but only averaged about 77 yards per game on the ground. More carries is certainly a good thing since he'll have a better shot at developing some kind of consistency -- Spiller's 2012 numbers were wildly erratic if you look at his production as a whole. The bad news is more carries also means a higher likelihood of picking up some kind of injury. In other words, don't make plans to break up with Fred Jackson just yet.