Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco will start Week 1

     by Bryce McRae on September 1, 2008 @ 13:04:39 PDT


ESPNews reports the Baltimore Ravens have named quarterback Joe Flacco the team's starter for Week 1.

Flacco, the team's first-round draft pick this year, beat out second-year quarterback Troy Smith (tonsillitis) and veteran Kyle Boller (shoulder). However, his play might not have been the only reason he won the job.

Smith has battled tonsillitis over the last week, and although he is looking better, he still needs to regain his strength - and voice - before playing. He has lost anywhere from 15 to 25 pounds, according to the Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston. Smith did not see a snap in the team's final preseason game Thursday, Aug. 28.

Boller is the victim of a partially torn labrum in his throwing shoulder that could knock him out indefinitely. He has been receiving treatment on the shoulder and plans to decide soon whether surgery is the right course for him.

Flacco had a mediocre preseason performance, though, going 35-for-67 for 284 yards and no interceptions; Smith threw the team's only touchdown pass in the preseason.

For fantasy purposes, Flacco's value should increase slightly. The team has stated only that he will start in Week 1. It is not known what kind of impact Smith will have on this battle when he returns.

The Ravens reportedly signed the recently cut Joey Harrington (Atlanta Falcons), but he's mainly there for roster depth at this point.

Owners should note the Ravens face the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1. The Bengals ranked dead last in passing yards allowed per game in the preseason; they finished 26th in the league last year with 230.4 passing yards allowed per game. This should make Flacco a decent matchup as a very weak No. 1 quarterback if you are forced to start him, but you should avoid the rookie at all costs.

Smith and Boller should both be left on the waiver wire in all single-year leagues. Harrington has no fantasy value, even if he does challenge Flacco eventually.

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About Bryce McRae

Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.

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