by Ray Kuhn
Entering the 2017 season the buzz in Baltimore is going to be surrounding Breshad Perriman. That hype is warranted as Perriman is a dynamic, young talent, but we also shouldn’t ignore their late addition this off-season in Jeremy Maclin.
The release of Maclin by the Chiefs, which came earlier in June, took a lot of observers by surprise. He struggled through most of last season, but at 29 I would wait before officially writing him off from fantasy relevance.
That conclusion is based on a piece of information we learned from Maclin during his appearance on Adam Schefter’s podcast. We knew that Maclin was injured last season, he was on the field for just two snaps in Week 9 prior to leaving the game, and he then didn’t appear again until Week 14.
Maclin had just one catch for 16 yards in that game, and he performed to mixed results for the rest of the season. The receiver did catch six passes for 82 yards in one game, but then he followed that up with three catches for nine yards before closing out the season with 53 yards on four catches. It wasn’t a perfect stretch, but not enough to consider Maclin to be done. That is especially the case after the admission that the injury in question, was a torn groin.
A season after catching 87 passes for 1,088 and eight touchdowns, Maclin scored just twice last season while gaining 536 yards on 44 receptions. Obviously it was a disappointing season as a whole, but he is still just one season away from being a legitimate fantasy asset. I’m not sure that we can expect another 80-plus catch season, but it certainly is possible if he is back to full health.
While we are still a month away from Training Camps, the initial expectation is that Maclin will be lined up in the slot. It will be the perfect role as he will have Perriman and deep threat Mike Wallace on the outside to stretch the field. It also doesn’t hurt that, in Joe Flacco, he has a quarterback who will be able to get the ball downfield.
With Dennis Pitta no longer in the fold there is an even greater need for production in the slot for Baltimore, and with six of his eight touchdowns in 2015 coming in the role Maclin is the perfect man for the job. Not only is Pitta out of the picture, but other slot threats Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken also will not be calling Baltimore home.
In signing with Baltimore, Maclin reunites with his offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg from his time in Philadelphia. That should assist in Maclin’s adjustment period, and Mornhingweg had this to say about his new weapon:
“First of all, he’s gifted,” Mornhinweg said. “He’s talented. He’s smart. He’s natural. He’s smooth. He has outstanding hands. He’s tough, so he’s got a lot of great, great qualities. The one that popped into my mind first was consistency. He plays at a high level on a consistent basis. He plays like a Raven. That’s the way we want to play.”
Currently being selected as the 44th wide receiver in PPR leagues, according to the data on Fantasy Pros, Maclin is the perfect fourth receiver. You should be able to feel comfortable starting him each week as I would expect him to have a consistent role in Baltimore’s offense.
Make sure to check out our early 2017 Rankings: