Last year, Mark Andrews exhibited a solid sophomore season. After leading all rookie tight ends in receiving yardage in 2018, Andrews followed it up with an improved statistical season. What makes his fantasy success truly impressive is that he attained it despite playing in the NFL deepest TE rotation. It will be interesting to see if the Ravens continue their rushing success next season while expanding Andrews’ role as a receiving tight end.
Similar to the rest of his teammates, Andrews went from an under the radar fantasy player to a fantasy stud who maximized his opportunities. Despite ranking 67th in snap share amongst all TEs according to playerprofiler.com, Andrews was a top-five fantasy TE. As a whole, Mark finished the season with 98 targets, 64 catches, 852 yards, and 207.2 fantasy points. A huge aspect of Andrews’ success was due to his presence in the end-zone, where he found paydirt a whopping ten times.
Mark Andrews’ touchdown success is hardly surprising given that the Baltimore Ravens ranked first in points per game during 2019 season. In fact, it signals that Andrews’ touchdown numbers will likely come back down the Earth next season. However, with Andrews’ former teammate, TE Hayden Hurst, traded to Atlanta this off-season, Andrews should be in line for more targets and receiving yards.
Auction Value: $15
Given that tight ends have less fantasy value than other positional groups, you would be wise to wait until the sixth round to draft Mark Andrews. Given that he’s more under the radar than guys like Kelce, Kittle, and Ertz, you can afford to wait for him until then. Also, this year’s fantasy drafts have a lot of depth at TE, with guys like Darren Waller, Austin Hooper, and Hunter Henry. Therefore, you can replace Andrews if he does get poached early. Since he is a safer fantasy option compared to guys like Evan Engram, his auction value is a good deal for prospective fantasy owners.
The biggest factor that will likely limit Andrews’ fantasy production is the Ravens run-heavy scheme. The Baltimore Ravens run the ball nearly 54% of the time, which is head and shoulders above the rest of the NFL. As a result, Ravens QB, Lamar Jackson, ranked just 22nd in the league for passing yardage.
These numbers signal that the Ravens pass way less frequently than the average NFL offense. Therefore, there will be a lower cap on the receiving yards that Andrews can generate compared to tight ends like Travis Kelce. If the Ravens continue their rushing emphasis but witness significant scoring regression, then Mark Andrews’ value could dramatically fall to low-end tier 2 status.
In 2019, the Ravens were the league’s most potent offense, especially on the ground. As a result of their rushing efficiency, opportunities opened up for Mark Andrews in the play-action game. This was especially true in the red zone, where both Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews led their positional groups in terms of passing and receiving TDs, respectively. If the Ravens can stay within the top seven for points, while increasing their passing yardage, then Andrews should witness modest improvement.
I believe that Andrews is more likely to play towards his ceiling than his floor in 2020 for two reasons. First, he and ranked in the top three for both target share and hog rate despite recording a low snap share. Consequently, he is one of the most utilized and efficient TEs in the NFL. Yet even more enticing, Andrews had more deep-targets than all tight ends in the league last season. This is critical because it signals that Andrews can create big plays to bolster fantasy teams better than any other TE. As a result, Andrews’ ceiling is currently a reliable tier 1 TE.
Baltimore Ravens Offense
As mentioned earlier, Ravens’ OC, Greg Roman, utilizes a pistol system to open up all facets of the run game; inside/outside-zone, option plays, power running, etc. This creative scheme maximized their 2019 rushing production and opened up RPOs and bootlegs for Andrews. Obviously, the Ravens will alter their offense to establish a more versatile offense to confuse defensive coordinators. Still, they will most likely find innovative ways to get Andrews open for a high number of targets.
Since arriving in Baltimore in 2018, Andrews has served as the Ravens’ primary receiving tight end. Due to his stellar route running, he was able to edge out TEs Hayden Hurst and Nick Boyle and lead the Ravens in targets. Heading into 2020, the Ravens have already told Andrews that his receiving role will likely expand with the departure of Hayden Hurst. As a result, he will serve as more than just Lamar Jackson’s safety valve, and make a big jump in usage rate.
Strength of Schedule
After battling through a tough schedule in 2019, the Ravens schedule will be remarkably easier in 2020. Heading into 2019, their opponents posted a 110-97-1 record the year before. Although in 2020, their opponents totaled a 96-112 record in 2019. Likewise, Andrews’ fantasy schedule should also be relatively easy next season.
As of right now, the Ravens are slated to play eight games against teams that ranked in the bottom ten for restricting tight end fantasy points. Andrews’ easiest matchups are projected to be against the Titans, Giants, and Texans since they rank in the bottom ten for restricting TE fantasy points and passing yards. In those games, Andrews will be a must-start, but fantasy owners should also play him against the Redskins.
Conversely, Baltimore will only play two games against teams that were stingy against fantasy TE points. These games will come against the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. When it comes to their divisional matchups, the Steelers will be difficult for Andrews because they excel at defending the pass. The Browns is a toss-up since they also defend the pass well but still surrendered the most TDs to tight ends last season.
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