The Lede: Kenneth Dixon Out for Season

By Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]

Don’t have time to read through 1,000 words, but need some informed betting tips? Here’s a quick rundown on today’s biggest sports story (as adjudged by me) and how it impacts the way you should bet.

Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon to Miss all of 2017 Season

Entering the season, Ravens back Kenneth Dixon was the subject of a lot of hype. Many pundits had labeled Dixon a breakout candidate heading into his second year. There was foundation for the optimism: Pro Football Focus ranked Dixon the seventh-best RB when running the ball last season, and had him second in their “elusive” rating (a stat that considers missed tackles and yardage after contact). But that was all for nothing, as the 23-year-old underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus yesterday and will miss the entire 2017 season.

Baltimore was expected to employ a three-headed attack out of their backfield, with Dixon and Terrance West eating up the majority of the early-down work, and Danny Woodhead acting as a third-down back and general utility player. Without Dixon in the mix, the workloads for both West and Woodhead will increase dramatically; each one becomes a top-30 RB in fantasy, with Woodhead piquing my interest.

The Ravens had their struggles running the ball last season, ranking 21st in rushing DVOA, and will be without premier right tackle Ricky Wagner this season (after he signed with Detroit in free agency). But Dixon wasn’t going to resurrect the Ravens’ ground game on his own. John Harbaugh knows running the ball efficiently is part of the recipe to a winning football team, and I expect Baltimore to focus heavily on pounding the rock, regardless of who’s in the backfield.

Basically, the fantasy implications of Dixon’s injury are much greater than the implications for the Ravens as a team. I still like Baltimore to push Pittsburgh for the division title, but ultimately finish second in the AFC North. If you want further perspective, consult our AFC North preview.