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2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Summer Sleeper: Baltimore Ravens

We pick out a sleeper in Baltimore.

In our annual 32-part Summer Sleeper series, DLF scribes identify a lightly-touted player on each NFL roster who may be worthy of your consideration. Our subjects all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but each merits a bit of in-depth discussion.

To help everybody along, we are going to be categorizing our sleepers under one of three headings:

Super Deep Sleepers – Players who aren’t roster-worthy in 12-team leagues, but are still worth keeping an eye on.

Deep Sleepers – An end-of-the-roster player who is more often than not on the waiver wire in 12-team leagues.

Sleeper – A likely rostered player who makes for a good trade target. Their startup ADP puts them out of the top 175 or so.

Because we aren’t going to give you the likes of mainstream sleepers, most of these players will undoubtedly fizzle. All we are asking is for you to keep an open mind and perhaps be willing to make room for one of these players on your bench. You never know when the next Adam Thielen or James Robinson is going to spring up. Feel free to add your own thoughts about our choice for the designated sleeper, or nominate one of your own in the comments below.

The Baltimore Ravens had a minor identity crisis in 2021, passing for 611 attempts, the most by the team since 2016. They have been known as a run-heavy offense as long as Greg Roman and Lamar Jackson have been there.

2021 was likely an anomaly: a mixture of mass injury occurrence in the backfield as well as on the defensive end, as well as an injury to Jackson, leading to high pass volume. The expectation is that Baltimore will return to their run-heavy ways in 2022 as they return numerous defensive stars as well as multiple running backs returning from injury.

Unfortunately, due to injuries, the backfield is likely one to avoid in fantasy since it is expected to be a messy committee approach, but at cost, I like one player in particular.

Gus Edwards, RB

Category: Deep Sleeper

Production

Statistics taken from Pro Football Reference.

Edwards has always been a part of a committee, never truly being “the guy” in the backfield for extended periods of time. He is also coming off of his own ACL reconstruction, so inherently carries some risk towards production in 2022. However, when healthy, he has run admirably for the Ravens, averaging over 5.0 yards per attempt and being serviceable in short-yardage and goal-line situations.

Contract

Edwards is in his first year of a two-year extension, though he carries a $4.2 million cap saving if released next season. This could also provide more reason for the Ravens to utilize him more, as a way of eating up mileage on a potential expiring contract while preserving their young stud JK Dobbins for his continued contract into 2023. Time will tell.

Depth Chart and Challenges

Dobbins is also attempting to return from an ACL tear, so why would I be hyping up Edwards if they are both in the same situation? A couple of factors are at play here:

  1. Dobbins did not suffer an isolated ACL injury. He also suffered LCL damage, which is reported as a higher risk for re-injury as well as a lower percentage of returning to prior level of performance compared to an ACL + MCL injury. I expect Dobbins to be active for week one, but the team likely eases him in to snap percentage and overall volume (again, messy committee incoming).
  2. Edwards’ play style actually favors his ability to return from an isolated ACL injury, as he is a hard-nosed runner who does not rely on a high degree of cutting, elusiveness, and agility to win against defenders. The way a player wins matters in his ability to return to sport.
  3. I am not concerned about Mike Davis, as he has been extremely inefficient and is likely just a protection signing just in case any setback occurs for Edwards/Dobbins and the team needs an extra body.

Conclusion

This team is going to run, so you probably want to roster someone from the backfield. Your guess is as good as mine as to who will carry the most week-to-week value, but at cost, I would rather fade JK Dobbins due to his overall risk and likely production dip (I doubt Dobbins pays off at his ADP) and take the much cheaper option who has the play-style to withstand an isolated ACL and recovery 12+ months after the fact.

There is a decent chance Edwards leads this backfield, and you can draft him in the 200s in your drafts. Given the available players surrounding Edwards at ADP, he might be worth the gamble for a 2022 sleeper value this year.

2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Summer Sleeper: Baltimore Ravens
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Mark Boutot
4 months ago

He certainly hasn’t been anything special in his short career and offers next to nothing in regards to receiving but he did have a few decent games in ’20. Trying to figure out when those games might be would be difficult. You could probably do worse if you’re looking for an emergency BYE week fill-in type and he also would act as a hedge to see how the Ravens backfield shakes out. If Dobbins is slow to recover, maybe Edwards gets a little more play. However, even if the Ravens want to run more than they did last year, Lamar Jackson is always going to be there as most likely run option #1.

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