Following a true breakout season in 2014 with the Philadelphia Eagles, wide receiver Jeremy Maclin moved on to rejoin his former head coach, Andy Reid, in Kansas City. As a Chief in 2015, Maclin didn’t disappoint, landing 87 receptions for 1,088 yards and eight scores for what is an otherwise anemic aerial attack.
Last season saw the veteran play only 12 games due to injury, and Maclin wasn’t particularly effective in those contests. He posted the statistically worst season of his entire career with 44 grabs, 536 yards and a pair of scores.
Maclin was considered a potential rebound candidate until the Chiefs gave him the boot in early June. Few teams showed interest, per reports, which resulted in the 29-year-old selecting the Baltimore Ravens.
Steve Smith is long retired, and what appeared to already be among the weakest passing offenses in the NFL suffered a major blow when tight end Dennis Pitta dislocated his hip for the third time in organized team activities. He has since been released with an injury waiver.
The Ravens were largely counting on third-year receiver Breshad Perriman and veteran Mike Wallace to carry the aerial game. Look for Maclin to play from the slot most of the time in Baltimore. He ran nearly 50 percent of his 2016 snaps from there, and neither of the other top Ravens receivers have games designed to play inside. Even out of the slot, though, Maclin could lead the Ravens’ passing assets in targets and, in theory, statistical contributions to fantasy owners.
Baltimore threw an insane 672 times last year, which cannot happen again if this team wishes to field a winner. Of those attempts, 170 were divvied up among running backs alone! Wallace and Smith led the Ravens wideouts with 7.3 targets apiece per game. Perriman attracted 4.4 balls, on average.
Related content: Danny Woodhead analysis
The Ravens combined for an average of 22 targets (11th) at the position and 22.5 fantasy points (16th) in standard scoring. The top receivers in the league averaged 10 targets by themselves. The addition of running back Danny Woodhead will absorb some targets, mainly from what would have gone to Pitta.
Fantasy football takeaway
The offense will attempt to be far more balanced than what was the most pass-heavy attack in the league last year. Sustaining a running game and playing better defense will be instrumental in achieving said goal, but there is only one direction the Ravens can go in this category.
That said, Baltimore’s clearest path to points is at wide receiver, so being more efficient will go a long way. The Ravens now have two competent receivers and whatever Perriman grows into in this being really just his second year on the field.
Considering Maclin has averaged per-game figures that extrapolate to a No. 2 fantasy receiver line of 74-1,003-7 in his career, owners should consider stats in that area a win. More realistically, factoring a likelihood for injury, in addition to being in yet another cold-weather city with a different quarterback, Maclin is looking at WR3 stats. He still has a hint of upside, despite joining a division with two of the top three defenses against wideouts from a year ago. Add Maclin as a limited-risk No. 3 in point-per-reception leagues.