I’m stating this right up front: there will not be any defensive players included in the list of the 12 Best Raven Fantasy Picks of All Time.
Yes, I know the image when most of us think positively of the Ravens is an intimidating defense led by All-Everything Ray Lewis with Ed Reed picking off passes behind him and the rest of a stellar defense carrying the team into the playoffs year after year.
But first off, people forget how good the Ravens offense has been, especially in the very “early years.” Secondly, IDP leagues still represent a minority of Fantasy leagues. Third, while the temptation was to include the Ravens D/ST from certain years, their reputation as a menacing defense often preceded them, leaving little value when you drafted them.
The Ravens also lack the “sample size” that some other teams have to offer as they are a relatively new team. That being said, there have still been many Fantasy stars over the years. In fact, cutting the list to just a dozen was tough.
Feel free to send me your differing opinions, but here are my 12 Best Fantasy Football picks in Baltimore Ravens history…..
12 Best Fantasy Football Picks in Baltimore Ravens History
12. Justin Tucker and Matt Stover, K
So the head honchos wanted a “no kicker” rule, but there were a number of years where the Ravens kicker WAS the entire Ravens offense. Leaving kickers off the best Ravens Fantasy picks is like talking about Joe Flacco accomplishments (who spoiler alert, is NOT on this list despite my sleeper love for him) and not talking about the postseason. Just can’t be done. So they come in at number 12.
11. LeRon McClain, RB (2008)
You might not like the kickers being on this list, but McClain deserves to be on this list because he pretty much was the Ravens offense that season. McClain managed to rumble for 902 yards and double-digit touchdowns that season, including an 82-yard scamper which was the longest run of anyone that season. There were only seven RBs that year with more rushing TDs than McLain. Additionally, the value that McClain provided might be one of the highest of anyone on this list and he absolutely makes the list 12 best Raven Fantasy picks of all time.
10. Willis McGahee, RB (2007)
Let’s keep it simple—this was McGahee’s best Fantasy season—nearly 1,440 combined rushing and receiving yards along with eight total TDs. Of course, it was the last time McGahee would start 15 games, so let’s move on….
9. Derrick Alexander, WR (1996)
I’ve been playing Fantasy Football for over 30 years and I am a longtime Ravens fan, but even I was surprised to find this gem of a season. Alexander started just two games the previous year and his stock was pretty low, but then he exploded as he turned 107 targets into nearly 1,100 receiving yards that season. Of course, he could not have done that without the help of….
8. Vinny Testaverde, QB (1996)
Vinny was thought to have washed out after an ill-fated three year run in Cleveland. Browns’ fans are probably still looking for Testaverde’s contract with the devil in Cleveland somewhere, because Vinny went on to have probably his best statistical season in that inaugural year in Baltimore. He passed for an impressive (especially for the time) 4,177 passing yards and 33 TDs, two stats that still stand as the best in Baltimore history. Even Joe Flacco has never passed for 4,000 yards or more than 27 TDs. Vinny also chipped in two rushing touchdowns that season along with an impressive 5.5 YPC.
7. Michael Jackson, WR (1996)
I promise, no “thriller” jokes. But I have to admit my memories of that season are filled with Tom Jackson crooning “hee-hee-hee” on Primetime every time they showed a Jackson TD, which was often–14 TDs that season. Not only did Jackson score an impressive 14 TDs, but he also had over 1,200 receiving yards. To put that into perspective, HOF-er Issac Bruce led the league that year with just a smidge over 1,300 yards.
6. Shannon Sharpe, TE (2000)
Any Raven fan that can legally drink remembers the 2000 season fondly, and Shannon Sharpe was part of the reason for that. Sharpe had 67 catches for 810 receiving yards and was one of the most valuable TEs that year. Yes, he had more catches and one more receiving yards the following year, but 2000 definitely tips the scale due to one less fumble, five total TDs (vs. two in 2001), and that thing called the Lombardi Trophy. The Ravens don’t win the Super Bowl without Sharpe and if you had him in your fantasy playoffs league, his 230 receiving yards and two TDs could not have hurt.
5. Priest Holmes, RB (1998)
Okay, maybe Holmes being on the list this high is a little colored by his 27 TDs as a Chief, but all of us in Baltimore “knew he was gonna be good.” Yet Holmes was an extremely “under the radar” 2nd-year player coming into the 1998 season when he rushed for over a 1,000 yards and more than the aforementioned McClain, providing extreme value.
4. Jamal Lewis, RB (2000 and 2002)
1,327 rushing yards is less than he had his rookie season, but coming off an injured 2001 season, the return you got on Lewis was probably better than the return you got in 2000. If you took a chance on a rookie RB, you were rewarded with 1,364 yards. But these seasons were near mirrors of one another and both deserve to be ranked high amongst the 12 best Raven Fantasy picks of all time.
3. Ray Rice, RB (2011)
1,364 rushing yards and 76 receptions for 704 yards and 15 combined TDs? You can’t argue with that.
2. Jamal Lewis, RB (2003)
Here’s where the argument between production and value becomes interesting, but when you rush for over 2,000 yards, production trumps value and his year was just so amazing, he is the lone player to receive two separate entries.
1. Justin Forsett, RB (2014)
This one holds a special place in my heart as I had said for years that Forsett just needed the opportunity. And boy did he run with it, literally, as he ran to the tune of 1,266 yards that year. And just for good measure, the sure-handed Forsett not only never fumbled that season but he added 44 receptions for nearly 300 yards. And remember, Forsett went very late during drafts, if not undrafted that preseason, so not only did he produce, but the value he returned was astronomical, making him clearly the best Raven fantasy pick of all time.
- Week 16 Stock Report: My Stock - December 23, 2018
- Week 15 Stock Report: Playoff Buys For Weeks 15 and 16 - December 15, 2018
- Week 14 Rookie Report: Who Is THIS Guy? - December 9, 2018