It took less than two weeks for Jeremy Maclin to find a new home after the Kansas City Chiefs dumped him June 2. The 29-year-old wide receiver has signed a two-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens.
A groin injury cost Maclin four games last year. So, his fantasy football owners weren’t thrilled with a final line of 44 receptions (76 targets), 536 receiving yards and two touchdowns. However, what Maclin achieved the previous two seasons is remarkable. Chip Kelly screwed up early and often as the Eagles head coach, but Maclin racked up 1,318 yards and scored 10 touchdowns in 2014 with a combination of Nick Foles and Mark Sanchez behind center. After he relocated to K.C. in 2015, Maclin became the first Chiefs receiver since 2010 (Bowe) to finish with 1,000 or more receiving yards and eight or more touchdowns. Since the merger, Maclin is one of only four Chiefs receivers to reach those marks.
In other words, Maclin has been known to make chicken soup out of chicken droppings.
Targets are up for grabs with Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta gone
If not for injury, Steve Smith would have most-likely led the Ravens in targets last season. He finished with 103 behind Mike Wallace (117) and Dennis Pitta (119). Smith is retired, and Pitta was released last week after reinjuring his bothersome hip. That means 222 targets are up for grabs heading into 2017. Maclin averaged 116 targets per season through his first six years in the league (missed 2013, ACL).
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Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman will take a hit
Wallace scored three touchdowns through the first two weeks of the 2016 season, then scored just one more time over the next 15 weeks. So he was ranked WR-20 through the first eight weeks (15.1 PPG / PPR) and WR-42 the second half of the season through Week 16 (11.2 PPG / PPR). It’s hard to have a lot of faith in Wallace at this point in his career and with him on the wrong side of 30 years old.
Breshad Perriman had a nice stretch in the middle of the 2016 season, when he scored three times in four games, but he never finished a game with more than 62 receiving yards. His breakout was projected to come in 2017 and still could, but the arrival of Maclin will rescind some of those expected targets.
This doesn't help Danny Woodhead
When all fantasy football owners needed to contend with was the deep-route duo of Wallace and Perriman, I had very high hopes for Danny Woodhead underneath and in the flat. Some of that undervalued buzz has worn off with the arrival of Maclin. However, Woodhead’s MFL ADP is currently RB-41 in PPR leagues. He’s still a bargain.
Super Bowl rings vs. fantasy relevancy
Joe Flacco has won in the NFL but hasn't done much to seduce fantasy football owners over the years. As Mike Clay noted, Flacco has finished outside the top 12 fantasy quarterbacks in all but one season since 2008. Over the past three seasons, Flacco ranks 18th in touchdown passes (61), seventh in interceptions (39) and, ugh, 24th in yards per attempt (6.8). These tidbits are not a ringing endorsement to run out and draft Maclin in the fifth round. However ...
At the end of the day ...
Maclin's mid-June, pre-Ravens average draft position is WR-60, a.k.a WR-5 on a depth chart. Regardless of roster -- Chiefs or Ravens -- I still think he's a late-round veteran receiver to consider. If he can make it work with Foles, Sanchez and Alex Smith in the past, I think Maclin could find a home between WR-25 and WR-36 with Flacco behind center.