If you’re interested in this article, first please read my take on the offensive identities of all the teams in 2015. That will explain some of the stats in this article, which I will not explain here. You can also refer to the preseason article on the Ravens.
Going into Week 6 and another offensive coordinator gets fired. Marc Trestman is out in Baltimore and Marty Mornhinweg is in. The Ravens have a decent (3-2) record although they've lost their last two. They were 19th in offensive yardage and tied for 24th in scoring, so while not good, those stats weren't in the bottom quartile. However, they only had 8 TDs, less than any team except Houston so it's not entirely surprising that the team wanted to improve on offense.
Of course, it remains to be seen if new OC Mornhinweg will be any better.
He's a long-time NFL coordinator, going back to the late '90s when he was the hot young coaching prospect as OC of the 49ers under Steve Mariucci. His reputation in that job got him a hired as the Lions HC in 2001 and five wins total in two seasons with Detroit got him fired. His decision to take the wind in an OT game in 2002 made him something of a laughingstock and his public reputation has never recovered. He spent three years working as an assistant on Andy Reid's staff in Philadelphia, then was promoted to OC in 2006. He held that job until Reid was fired in 2012, but didn't follow Reid to KC. Instead, Mornhinweg moved to NY and was Rex Ryan's OC in 2013-2014. He left with Rex and landed as Baltimore's QB coach last year. John Harbaugh promoted him to OC this week.
In this article, I'm going look at Marc Trestman's offense in previous years compared to his 2016 edition and then look at Mornhinweg's history to see how things might change in Baltimore the rest of the year, especially for fantasy purposes.
Let's start with a W-L perspective:
MT = Marc Trestman's offense
MM = Marty Mornhinweg's offense
NFL = league average
Totals from the 2016 Ravens and NFL have been pro-rated to 16 games throughout this article.
Trestman has usually OC'd for losing teams (going back to 2002; my offensive identity data base only goes back that far, the year the league expanded to 32 teams. Mornhinweg had a good run in the mid-'00s with Reid but mostly has been around mediocre to poor teams since 2011.
The Offense Overall
Total plays – the sum of rushing and passing plays.
Trestman's offense has been inconsistent in the number of plays it has run, but the last two years it has been well above the league average. Mornhinweg's teams typically have been slightly uptempo, with more plays than the NFL average, but less than the 2015-2016 Ravens' pace. I'd expect a decrease the rest of the year for Baltimore, taking away some fantasy opportunity, but still an above average fantasy environment in terms of total plays.
Rush % - the percentage of total plays devoted to running the ball.
Trestman has always been pass-happy but this year he's run the ball on less than 35% of his plays. That is extremely unusual for a winning team. Offenses that run less than 35% of the time win an average of fewer than 6 games a year. Only the 2011 Lions and 2008 Cards won over 8 games with such a high percentage of passing plays.
Mornhinweg usually runs less than the league average (except when he worked for Rex Ryan), but I'd expect at least something closer to 40% rushing plays. That means fewer passes for Joe Flacco and fewer targets for his receiving corps.
The high volume of plays combined with the high percentage of them being passes to put the Ravens on a path to 700+ passing attempts. Unless the team loses a lot the rest of the way, that won't happen. They will probably end up with something like 650 passing attempts. The total amount of rushes wasn't as low as the % rushes would indicate, just because there were so many plays. While the percentage of rushing plays will go up, in a slower tempo offense there will not be that great a jump in total rushes.
MT F1 – Marc Trestman's top fantasy scorer at this position; 25 yds = 1 FP; td pass = 4 FP
MM F1 – Marty Mornhinweg's top fantasy scorer at this position
Trestman had produced a couple of starting-quality fantasy QBs, but he had not done so with Joe Flacco – although Flacco got hurt last year. But Flacco in 2016 was barely at fantasy backup level.
Mornhinweg had consistent fantasy production from his QBs in Philadelphia, but never (since 2002) when he wasn't working for Andy Reid. His Jets' QBs suffered from both a run-heavy offense and a lack of talent. Even if he gets more out of Flacco than Trestman, an expected drop in passing under Mornhinweg probably means Flacco will at best be a backup for fantasy.
Rush % RB1 – RB1 is defined as the RB on the team who got the largest number of carries. The Rush % RB1 is the percentage of the team’s total RB rushes claimed by its RB1.
Trestman seemed to settle on Terrance West as his RB1 and gave him a decent share of carries this year. That was more in keeping with his seasons in Chicago (2013-2014) than in Oakland (2002-2003).
Mornhinweg generally gives his lead back around 70% of the carries. West could see an increase in carries or rookie RB Kenneth Dixon could take over as lead back and see a healthy workload. But I think we'll see more of a commitment to the run, and to one back, than was true under Trestman (not all of which may have been his fault but he got the blame). So at least on the ground, fantasy scoring for the lead back in Baltimore could pick up.
Target % - the percentage of the total targets thrown to each position group.
Trestman has been known for his heavy usage of RBs in the passing game. It was down a bit this year in total numbers as the percentage of total targets directed to RBs dropped to close to the NFL average. Only the sheer volume of passes was keep the target totals up.
While Mornhinweg has given his RBs a high percentage of targets, his record has trended toward less use of them in the passing game – more around or just below league average. Since he was more pass-heavy than most OCs, the total RB targets were slower in dropping to the league norm, but the last couple of seasons they were below average.
So there is a chance that the new OC will throw to his backs as often as Trestman, but I think he will not. Raven RBs will probably be at or below the NFL average in targets the rest of the way, hurting their value in PPR formats.
The Target % for RB1 is the share of the targets to his position group.
All is not lost for the Ravens' RB1, however. Trestman wasn't targeting him much anyhow and Mornhinweg most season, except when working for Ryan, gave his RB1 an above average target share and total. So whichever RB emerges as the lead ballcarrier should get more than typical RB1 targets. I don't expect him to be the new Brian Westbrook, but it should boost his fantasy production. Unfortunately, I don't know if this will be West or Dixon.
The overall below average number of RB targets combined with an above average focus of those targets on the RB1 means I do not expect the Ravens to have a pass-catching back of any fantasy value.
MT F1 – Marc Trestman's top fantasy scorer at this position; PPR scoring
MM F1 – Marty Mornhinweg's top fantasy scorer at this position
Trestman had great fantasy production with Matt Forte in Chicago but not so much with the backs in Baltimore. They were fantasy RB3s; this may have been because Trestman's offense wasn't very good or because they weren't very good.
Mornhinweg has produced some fantasy RB1s, but just like Trestman they seemed to basically be one guy, not the system itself. If West is the lead back, a change in OC and usage could bump him into RB2 territory but probably won't make him a stud. If Dixon becomes the RB1, there is more upside. This can be a good system for RBs, but isn't necessarily so.
Trestman's WRs got a below average share of targets most years and that was true in Baltimore. However, the 2015-2016 Ravens passed so much that the receivers had well above average target totals.
Mornhinweg is likely to increase the WR target share. But he will throw so much less (unless the Ravens are really bad the rest of the way) that their target totals will drop as well as their fantasy numbers. The only caveat to this is if the team is more efficient in scoring TDs, which are the least predictable aspect of WR scoring.
WR1 is defined as the team’s WR who got the most targets. The Target % for WR1 is the share of the targets to his position group.
Neither Trestman (in Baltimore) nor Mornhinweg have a history of heavy WR1 use. Don't expect big fantasy production from the WR1 here.
Trestman actually had a decent track record of his top WR being a fantasy WR1. This has not been true of Mornhinweg. His best WR has been a fantasy WR3 over half the time. That's where the top Baltimore WR is now and that's where he's likely to stay.
Now WHO that top WR is could change. The injury to Steve Smith and the new OC open up different possibilities, at least in the short term. It has been Smith – although Mike Wallace has been more productive for fantasy. But a good number of targets could end up with a different WR: maybe Wallace or Breshad Perriman. Or Kamar Aiken or Chris Moore could emerge as the inheritor of Smith's workload. Just remember, whoever you bet on is likely to be a WR3 for fantasy.
MT F2 – Marc Trestman's 2nd highest fantasy scorer at this position, PPR scoring
MM F2 – Marty Morhinweg's 2nd highest fantasy scorer at this position, PPR scoring
Trestman's 2nd best WR was also usually a fantasy WR3 or WR4, as has been Mornhinweg's, at least in Philadelphia. That tempers the risk of guessing who the top WR will be – chances are if he only is the 2nd best WR in this offense his fantasy production won't be that much less.
MT F3 – Marc Trestman's 3rd highest fantasy scorer at this position, PPR scoring
MM F3 – Marty Morhinweg's 3rd highest fantasy scorer at this position, PPR scoring
Neither OC has ever gotten much fantasy value out of his #3 WR – several times they didn't even crack 5 FP/G to get on the graph above.
Both Trestman and Mornhinweg gives their TEs an average share of targets. In Trestman's extremely pass-heavy offense, that could mean an above average number of TE targets. But Mornhinweg's TEs are only going to see about an average total number of targets.
Trestman had decent TE production the last few years, and Dennis Pitta was putting up starting fantasy TE numbers this year. Mornhinweg almost never gets that kind of production out of his tight ends. That's not to say Pitta won't keep scoring this year, but you're counting on his chemistry with Flacco, not the identity of the offense to do it.
Overall, expect fewer plays and more running from Mornhinweg than from Trestman. The new OC has enough history that you can find examples of him being very run-heavy but I expect he will lean to passing the ball more than average, just not as much as Trestman did. And I'd think that Harbaugh wants more running. To summarize my comments from above:
Expect a decrease in total plays the rest of the year for Baltimore, taking away some fantasy opportunity, but still an above average fantasy environment in terms of total plays.
Something close to 40% of all plays will be runs.
Flacco will continue to be at best a backup for fantasy.
This can be a good system for RBs, but isn't necessarily so.
Mornhinweg's lead back usually gets around 70% of the carries, an increase from what he has been seeing.
The RB that emerges as the lead ballcarrier should get more than typical RB1 targets.
Do not expect the Ravens to have a pass-catching back of any fantasy value.
Don't expect more than RB2 fantasy numbers; Dixon has more upside than West but it's unclear who the lead back will be.
WR target totals will drop.
The top WR probably will be a WR3 for fantasy.
The #2 WR could also put up fantasy relevant totals in the WR3/4 range.
The #3 WR has no fantasy value.
Mornhinweg's TEs are only going to see about an average total number of targets.
His TE's are usually not fantasy starters; you're counting on Pitta's chemistry with Flacco if you expect TE1 production the rest of the way.
The difficulty with this offense for fantasy ultimately comes down to the fact that it is hard to know who the RB1 and WR1 are going to be. This was my problem when I wrote about the Ravens in the preseason and it's only a little less unclear now – at least Justin Forsett is out of the picture and Buck Allen seems to be well behind West and Dixon. Picking the right WR is a complete crapshoot to me at this point with Smith hurt. Someone here can help your fantasy team but I don't think an offensive identity analysis can tell you who.