The relationship between the Baltimore Ravens and “fantasy football” has been complicated throughout the years. The Ravens’ defense has typically been a pretty smart play, and their kickers have almost always been worthy of being in your starting lineup. But it has been far rarer for a Ravens offensive player to be anything more than an emergency option during bye-week hell.
At least it was that way until last year.
With Lamar Jackson and Co. taking a battle-ax to previous franchise offensive records, we figured we’d take a look at “The 15 Best Ravens Fantasy Football Performances.” We’re doing it now in part because if we wait any longer, the list might be nothing but players from 2019 and on.
Some quick notes: We used the standard version of PPR scoring — four points for touchdowns and one point for every 25 yards for quarterbacks; one point per 10 yards rushing and receiving and six points for all other offensive touchdowns, and minus-two for interceptions and lost fumbles. No yardage bonuses or decimals were considered. We also only included each player’s top overall performance so the list wasn’t just the same three players repetitively. Here they are, starting with the biggest fantasy day in team history.
1. Qadry Ismail: 49 points, Dec. 12, 1999 at Steelers
The man known as “The Missile” had the biggest fantasy day in team history by some margin. He finished with six catches, 258 yards and three touchdowns in the win. His third quarter alone that day (four catches, 220 yards, all three of his team’s touchdowns) would have tied for the most fantasy points in Ravens history. Also worth noting about that game is that Ismail had all but TEN of the team’s receiving yards.
2. Marcus Robinson: 44 points, Nov. 23, 2003 vs. Seahawks
This one is probably a bit more memorable — Robinson’s monster seven-catch, 131 yard, four-touchdown day helped the Ravens to their biggest fourth-quarter comeback ever. But the stat line doesn’t even reflect Robinson’s biggest contribution that day — a tipped ball that floated to Frank Sanders and allowed the Ravens to convert a staggering fourth-and-28.
3. Steve Smith Sr.: 43 points, Sept. 27, 2015 vs. Bengals
The veteran receiver caught 13 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns that day but unfortunately owns the distinction of having the best fantasy day ever in a Ravens loss. What would have been his 14th catch and kept the game alive was wiped off late due to a Kelechi Osemele face mask penalty.
4. Jamal Lewis: 41 points, Sept. 14, 2003 vs. Browns
Lewis’ monster 30-carry, 295-yard, two-touchdown day is the most memorable individual performance in team history and was the biggest rushing day in NFL history until Adrian Peterson broke the record four years later. Lewis also posted another 200-yard game against his future team later that season.
5. Ray Rice: 40 points, Dec. 19, 2010 vs. Saints and Oct. 18, 2009 at Vikings
Rice tallied 153 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries and five catches for 80 yards and a receiving touchdown in the win against New Orleans. In the loss at Minnesota, he had 77 yards and two touchdowns on the ground plus 10 catches for another 117 yards. And if it interests you, Rice was also responsible for the biggest fantasy day in Ravens playoff history, going for 27 points (159 yards and two touchdowns, all on the ground) against the Patriots in January 2010 — including an 83-yard touchdown scamper to start the game.
6. Anquan Boldin: 40 points, Sept. 26, 2010 vs. Browns
In his breakout game with his new team, Boldin hauled in eight catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns in a Ravens win. He actually also completed a pass that day — but it went for a loss of 6 yards so it didn’t factor in his fantasy totals.
7. Torrey Smith: 39 points, Sept. 25, 2011 at Rams
Speaking of breakout games, the then-rookie out of Maryland had been targeted just once with no catches in his first two career games. In Game 3, he led the Ravens to a blowout win with five catches for 152 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 10 yards on the ground.
8. Lamar Jackson: 36 points, Dec. 12, 2019 vs. Jets
This surprised me for two reasons. First is that when I started this exercise I assumed that one of Jackson’s five-touchdown games would have gotten him to 40 points, and second is that the Dolphins and Rams games are so much more memorable that I had honestly forgotten he threw for five against the Jets, too. He had 212 yards in the air and 86 more on the ground, which makes it his top fantasy performance … so far.
9. Mark Ingram: 35 points, Sept. 22, 2019 at Chiefs
It wasn’t enough to get the Ravens a win, but it was a lot. Ingram ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns on just 16 carries while adding four catches for 32 yards as the Ravens’ comeback effort came up just a bit short.
10. Buck Allen: 34 points, Dec. 6, 2015 at Dolphins
This is the single most stunning entry on the list. Not only is it from a completely nondescript Raven, the game is one of the most forgettable in franchise history. A 15-13 loss with Matt Schaub at quarterback dropped Baltimore to 4-8 in a year in which Joe Flacco had gotten injured. But Allen, the former USC Trojan, had 12 catches for 107 yards and a touchdown to go along with 63 rushing yards in the defeat. For the record, the franchise record for receptions in a game is 13 from Priest Holmes in 1998 — but he only finished with 24 fantasy points in the game.
11. Michael Jackson: 34 points, Dec. 22, 1996 vs. Oilers
The next two entries were difficult to consider because they occurred in Week 17, a week when you certainly shouldn’t be playing fantasy football. The late former Ravens receiver hauled in five catches for 117 yards and three scores in the final game of the franchise’s first season.
12. Willis McGahee: 34 points, Jan. 3, 2010 at Raiders
McGahee wrapped up the 2009 regular season by tallying 167 yards with three touchdowns on just 16 carries in a 21-13 win at Oakland.
13. Derrick Alexander: 32 points, Dec. 1, 1996 vs. Steelers
Joe Flacco: 32 points, Oct. 12, 2014 at Buccaneers
Justin Forsett: 32 points, Nov. 24, 2014 at Saints
Todd Heap: 32 points, Dec. 19, 2005 vs. Packers
You may remember Flacco threw all five of his touchdowns in the first half at Tampa that day and the Ravens simply coasted from there. Heap had the most fantasy points ever for a Ravens tight end when he caught nine Kyle Boller passes for 110 yards and two scores in a blowout win against Green Bay. Alexander (now the wide receivers coach at Morgan State) had his massive game in the Ravens’ first-ever win against the Steelers. Forsett’s massive night happened on “Monday Night Football.”
14. Ravens DST: 34 points, Dec. 24, 2000 vs. Jets
For the last two entries, we recognize the biggest days for the defense and for a kicker. To wrap up the regular season, the soon-to-be Super Bowl champions allowed 20 points, grabbed three interceptions and tallied a sack, a safety and a defensive touchdown. Jermaine Lewis added two punt-return scores.
15. Justin Tucker: 22 points, Dec. 16, 2013 at Lions
One of the great kicking performances in NFL history (albeit indoors in Detroit), Tucker connected on all six of his attempts, including two 50-plus yarders, worth five points each in fantasy football. Of course, we remember this game mostly for Tucker’s stunning 61-yard game-winner with 43 seconds to play, which just snuck over the crossbar and inside the upright.
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