After watching Avengers: Endgame, I couldn’t stop thinking about the multiverse. Then, my mind drifted to the Projection Machine, which acts as a fantasy football time machine. Every little tweak in the timeline of fantasy football can have a wide range of repercussions that echo across the league. So, in this series, I’ll dial up that Projection Machine to examine players who could experience big swings in fantasy value if certain things break the right way.
John Harbaugh’s Tenure
We’ll go through a bit of John Harbaugh’s tenure in this section but with a particular focus on how he used Lamar Jackson down the stretch in 2018. To be frank, the Ravens under Harbaugh have switched up their identity quite a bit. They’ve gone from a balanced attack to pass 65% of the time and back again. The hope, then, is that Harbaugh and new offensive coordinator Greg Roman1 will be able to put together a system that takes advantage of the Ravens’ offensive weapons.
A weapon is the best way to describe their now second-year QB, Lamar Jackson. Once Jackson started for the Ravens, their entire identity shifted. Their rush and pass attempts literally flipped once they inserted Jackson into the lineup.
What People Think Will Happen…
Starting at the top, we know that teams projected for 8.5 to 9 wins entering the season average about 56% passing rate. Since we know that the Ravens will likely be more run-heavy than the average team, we’ll start the team level splits a little more conservative. We will also assume that they’ll call right around league average number of plays.
Jackson is currently going as QB14 in FFPC drafts in the 10th round. Based on my floor projections, he’s priced correctly at the moment2.
What Could Happen…
We know what rushing value can do to aid a QBs range of outcomes. In most scoring setups, 40 rushing yards replaces 100 passing yards for our purposes. In the seven games he started, Jackson averaged 79.4 rushing yards and fell below 40 yards just once3.
Let’s say he keeps all of the same passing numbers from his floor projection but we give him a similar amount of rushes to Cam Newton’s record-setting season in 2015. Now we’re at just a shade under 300 points before we even touch a potential passing improvement. That point total would’ve been good for QB9 last season.
People will scoff at the idea of Jackson becoming a more polished passer but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility, as evidenced by talk out of camp. He didn’t eclipse 60% completion percentage in college but he improved each year at Louisville. Simply bumping up his completion percentage and giving him five more passing touchdowns gives him 315 points. In 2018, that would’ve been good for QB6, right behind newly retired Andrew Luck.
I’m hesitant to even call this his ceiling, as I think that there’s no real cap on Jackson’s potential. Getting the Ravens’ QB at his current price is going to be something we’re all laughing about in December.