Looking ahead to the 2013 NFL season, Matt Vensel over the next few days will break down the five Ravens players worth drafting in your fantasy league and when you should draft them. Though they are worth picking up, he did not include the Baltimore D/ST or kicker Justin Tucker because they should go in the final two rounds.
In his first two seasons in the NFL, Torrey Smith proved himself as one of the league's top deep threats. He caught 99 passes and averaged an impressive 17.1 yards on those catches. He also scored 15 total touchdowns.
But so far in his young career, he hasn’t been much more than that, which can be maddening to fantasy owners.
Smith had six games with double-digit fantasy points last season. But he also had six games in which he produced three fantasy points or fewer, including five in the final seven weeks of the season, when much was at stake for fantasy owners.
Still, the 24-year-old is one of the NFL’s most promising young receivers and the team is counting on him to becoming their No. 1 wide receiver now that Anquan Boldin is in San Francisco. The new role will bring Smith more pressure from fans and attention from opposing DBs, but it should also mean more targets and potentially more fantasy points.
2012 STATS: 49 receptions on 110 targets, 855 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Nine rushing yards. No fumbles lost.
2012 FANTASY RANKING: 23rd among wide receivers in scoring with 134.40 points, based on NFL.com’s standard scoring.
THE SKINNY: Smith set a new career high with 855 receiving yards in 2012 and led the Ravens with eight touchdown grabs. With Boldin gone, he should face more double teams, but the burner was already going up against them fairly often in his first couple of seasons. Improving on that touchdown total will be challenging, but he should see more passes thrown his way, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him top 60 receptions and 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, especially if the Ravens continue to open up their offense.
BURNING QUESTION: Can Smith become a complete wide receiver? The Ravens believe he is capable of becoming one, and the fact that they traded Boldin suggests they think he will become one sooner rather than later. His deep speed keeps defenders on their heels, and if he has improved his route-running, he should be in position to make plenty of easy catches on short and intermediate throws underneath the coverage this season. With Boldin gone, someone will have to pick up the slack when it comes to moving the chains. Will it be Smith?
WHEN TO PICK HIM: After the truly elite wide receivers -- guys like Detroit's Calvin Johnson, Cincinnati's A.J. Green and Chicago's Brandon Marshall -- there is a large cluster of wide receivers who should be valued similarly. In that case, picking wide receivers might come down to personal preference for fantasy owners. Smith’s average draft position in ESPN mock drafts right now is 70.3, so if Smith is one receiver you covet, you should be able to hold off until the sixth or seventh round. I wouldn’t recommend drafting him before then, though.