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Here at RotoBaller, we're looking back at the seasons from some of the league's under-the-radar rookies. Today, I'm discussing Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews.

Andrews caught 34 passes during the 2018 season, finishing with 552 yards and three touchdowns. He finished fourth on the team in receiving yards despite starting just three games and only receiving five or more targets in three games. Andrews fought through a crowded tight end field in Baltimore to emerge as the team's top weapon at the position by the end of the season.

Let's talk about what Andrews did last year, what the presence of Hayden Hurst means for him, and what to think about Andrews moving forward in fantasy football and dynasty.

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Team: Baltimore Ravens
College: Oklahoma
Height/Weight: 6'5'', 256 lbs.
2018 NFL Draft: 3rd round, 86th overall


Mark Andrews' Rookie Campaign

The Ravens tight end situation was one of the league's murkiest heading into 2018, with Andrews, fellow rookie Hayden Hurst, Maxx Williams, and Nick Boyle. Andrews opened the season third on the depth chart at the position, and in Week 1 he saw 22 offensive snaps to Boyle's 54 and Williams's 44. Despite the Ravens' interest in double tight end sets. Per Sharp Football, the Ravens ran 25 percent of their plays last year from 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends, two receivers), a mark that ranked fifth in the NFL for most plays run out of that personnel grouping. Baltimore was in '11' personnel (one-tight end, three-receivers) for 54 percent of their snaps, ahead of just the 49ers. This is a team that wants to use their tight ends.

And Andrews did get used, even though it was inconsistent. He never had a single-game snap percentage above 44.3, and he only reached the 40s twice. While the Ravens liked to play multiple tight ends, it was Boyle who consistently operated as the tight end who saw the field the most thanks to his ability as a blocker. Williams and Hurst also saw snap percentages in the 20s and 30s.

Still, Andrews did emerge as the most prolific receiver of the four, even if some of the others proved to be more useful in Baltimore's run-oriented offense at times. While he wasn't a threat in the red zone and was targeted just six times inside the 20 out of his 50 total targets, he had eight receptions of at least 20 yards, including this 68-yard touchdown catch against the Chargers. Andrews shows off his speed on that play, grabbing the ball at the 41 with a pair of defenders right there with him and then avoiding the tackle and sprinting those final 41 yards for the score. Andrews is among the league's quickest tight ends, ranking in the 78th percentile at the position in the 40, and he was second among tight ends in yards per target. Andrews flashed an ability to make big yardage plays as a rookie, something that's likely to come in handy as Lamar Jackson refines with throws and is able to hit the deep ball with a little more accuracy.


What About Hayden Hurst?

It's not every day that an NFL team goes into the draft and selects two tight ends early, but that's just what Baltimore did this past season when they took Hayden Hurst in the first round and Mark Andrews in the third. Just based on draft position alone, you'd expect Hurst to be the main guy for the Ravens moving forward, right?

A foot injury held Hurst out for four games last year, and Andrews wound up with 50 targets to 23 for Hurst. In the short term battle for playing time and usage, Andrews pulled ahead. But will things stay that way?

Andrews has a few things going for him over Hurst, especially when it comes to fantasy production. Andrews is three years younger and is a former wide receiver, and a lot of his early production feels like it can be attributed to having spent some time at that position. The age thing matters a lot, too -- that it was the younger of the two that already looked pro-ready suggests to me that Andrews has more potential at this point than Hurst in terms of becoming Lamar Jackson's weapon of choice. There's also the obvious point that Andrews's age is an advantage in dynasty leagues, when you want to have a guy for a long time.

I think Hurst can be the better blocker, but right now Andrews is far enough ahead in the other areas that I struggle to envision a short term scenario where Hurst is more valuable than him.


The Fantasy Future

Let's assume the Ravens move on from Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams at this point and let the Andrews/Hurst duo be the tight end rotation of the present and the future. What's the value of Mark Andrews?

Here are some things we know about the Ravens offense:

  • Lamar Jackson is the quarterback, and he'll presumably be the quarterback for at least three or four more years, if not much, much longer. What does Lamar Jackson like to do? Run. This offense is going to be very run-based moving forward, and what we saw late in the season with Jackson and Gus Edwards could be a slightly more run-heavy version of this team next year. Yes, Jackson's going to throw more next season, but the Ravens will still be one of the league's run-centric squads in the future.
  • The receiving corps is tricky to figure out. John Brown is a free agent, and the fact that he might have been a better fit with Joe Flacco than with Jackson means we don't know if Baltimore brings him back. Michael Crabtree has two years left on his current deal, but Baltimore can get out of it with a relatively small cap hit after the 2019 season. Willie Snead and Chris Moore are on the last years of their deals and aren't going to move the needle. All of this means that Baltimore is almost certainly going to draft a receiver this year, and who that is and what his role becomes is going to influence a lot about how we feel about Andrews.
  • Again, Hayden Hurst isn't as far along as Andrews, but he'll get targets.

All of this adds to a murky picture. Andrews has the skill to be somewhere in the TE10 - TE15 range, but having Hurst there and being in an offense where his production is limited by the run game, I'd put Andrews closer to the TE20 spot in dynasty, with potential to wind up in the top-15 if things break the right way. I love what I've seen from Andrews and his big-play ability is definitely going to lead to some weeks where he finishes among the top of his position, but overall I don't see the consistency being there next year, and I don't see things changing enough for me to confidently predict future success either.

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