Every week, I take a look at the Ravens' fantasy options and predict how they will do on a fantasy scale against their upcoming opponent. With the arrival of the bye week, I thought this would be a good time to recap how each player has performed so far this season.
Quarterback: I had Steve McNair at No. 18 in my preseason quarterback rankings. He's currently the 26th-ranked fantasy QB. And look at some of the names ahead of him: Damon Huard, Charlie Frye and J.P. Losman. Ouch. McNair's thrown for less than 200 yards in four of five games (not counting last week) and has tossed seven interceptions to go along with five touchdowns.
The outlook: Get rid of him if you haven't already (unless you think the Ravens offense is going to improve miraculously with the departure of Jim Fassel). Baltimore will have to rely on defense and McNair's ability in the clutch to have success the rest of the way.
Running backs: Jamal Lewis wants the ball more. And his fantasy owners want him to get the ball more. The problem is he's not doing much when he has the ball. Lewis played better in the Ravens' loss to the Panthers, but the numbers still weren't there (nine carries, 41 yards). He hasn't scored since week one and has posted less than 45 yards in three straight games. I had Lewis as the No. 23 running back in the preseason. He's ranked 35th right now.
The outlook: I wouldn't give up on Lewis just yet. He's not worth starting, but it's possible he could get going as the season continues. Musa Smith and Mike Anderson have flashed potential at times, but neither is worth owning. At best, they will be splitting carries with Lewis.
Wide receivers: Derrick Mason has been a serious disappointment this season. Like many others, I thought he would have a big year being reunited with McNair, but it hasn't happened. The veteran wideout has seven total catches in the last three games and has yet to find the end zone this season. Meanwhile, Mark Clayton didn't do much over the first five games, but put up 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Panthers. Give him credit for making the most out of his opportunities last weekend, but those catches did come off of deflected passes.
The outlook: Put these two in the same boat as Lewis. I would hold on to them if your roster allows it, but they shouldn't be in your starting lineup. If the Ravens offensive line and McNair play better, they are capable of putting up solid numbers.
Tight end: Todd Heap has been the one bright spot on the Ravens offense. He leads all tight ends with four touchdowns, and I think most Ravens fans would agree that Heap still isn't being used enough.
The outlook: He has 27 catches for 235 yards on the season and is a must-start every week. Expect great production from him in the red zone, and Heap's chemistry with McNair can only improve as the season goes on.
Kicker: Matt Stover has made the most of his opportunities. The problem is there haven't been many opportunities. Stover is the No. 9 fantasy kicker this season, having converted on all 10 of his field goal tries. I like going with kickers that are on teams with more high-powered offenses. Stover has just one field goal in the last three weeks.
Defense: The Bears took over as fantasy's No. 1 defense with their three touchdown performance on Monday night against the Cardinals. But the Ravens are right behind them. Baltimore is second in the AFC with 19 sacks and leads the NFL with 11 interceptions. This unit is a lock to be a top-five fantasy defense. If it stops giving up big pass plays, it can be No. 1.