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  • IDP Fantasy Football for 2022: Baltimore Ravens Safeties

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    How fantasy football players should approach a historically IDP-friendly Ravens secondary: now featuring Notre Dame's Kyle Hamilton.

    Kyle Hamilton, the next big IDP defensive back asset, didn’t hear his name called in the top-10. However, his loss proved to be the Baltimore Ravens’ gain.

    Team Needs and Outlook

    Safety was not a big need for Baltimore. However, a talent like Hamilton changes plans when he’s suddenly available. Snap count distribution is going to be an interesting conundrum for the coaching staff to figure out. Between Hamilton, $70 million free agent Marcus Williams, and reliable incumbent Chuck Clark, this will be an interesting, and formidable, rotation.

    With former defensive coordinator Don Martindale now coaching up the New York Giants, there’s some change at the top. 34-year-old Mike Macdonald is taking over as Baltimore’s new defensive coordinator. Macdonald spent the year prior coaching Michigan’s defense, a unit that produced two 2022 first-round picks in Aidan Hutchinson (No. 2) and Daxton Hill (No. 31).

    So, for a college head like Macdonald, it’s safe to say he’s familiar with Hamilton out of Notre Dame.

    Kyle Hamilton + Chuck Clark

    It’s naive to assume that a new coach — albeit one with seven years of defensive coaching experience with Baltimore prior to the Michigan stint — had the final say in drafting the Notre Dame product. But it’s equally ignorant to assume that things will be exactly like they were last year.

    Hamilton will play in the box more, relegating Clark to coverage and thus more opportunities at cornerback. That will drastically hurt his IDP value as less time in the middle means less chance for tackles. Clark has never been a turnover machine. He has just four interceptions in his last 44 starts. So then his best route to fantasy relevance is through trade. Although, with his team-friendly cap hit of $2.75 million a trade seems unlikely.

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    That leaves Hamilton roaming the secondary and in the box. Macdonald has said he wants to carry over the aggressive mindset that his predecessor instilled. This means plenty of blitzes to keep Hamilton on the IDP upswing.

    Outlook, Projections, and Scheme

    Only five teams had a higher blitz percentage than the Ravens did in 2021 (31.1%). While that number should drop slightly under Macdonald, there should still be plenty to go around. This unit lost several pieces of the secondary in free agency — Tavon Young, DeShon Elliott, and Anthony Averett. Creative blitzes can hide holes. It helps to have a great coverage safety in Williams patrolling the secondary.

    Expect Hamilton to be used across the field from nickel to middle linebacker to safety. Which should lead to an abundance of tackle opportunities along the way. Macdonald utilized Daxton Hill in multiple different presets at Michigan. Hamilton is a much different player, but it exemplifies the type of versatility Macdonald expects of his defense.

    Expecting triple-digit tackles from Hamilton might be a bit optimistic for his first year. Still, 80-90 tackles plus 5-7 tackles for a loss is well within the realm of outcomes. Then add a couple of turnovers, and 2022 should serve as a promising start to a long career for Hamilton.


    Marcus Williams

    That leaves Marcus Williams, whose coverage skills will likely leave him as the odd man out for IDP fantasy purposes. He won't be too close to the line of scrimmage, which drastically limits his upside.

    Pencil in around 60 tackles and 2-3 interceptions for the former Saint. He should provide a much-needed boost to a weak Ravens secondary, but not one that results in wins for IDP fantasy owners.

    The murkiness around Clark and the Baltimore safety situation might be intimidating to some. However, the ADP around Kyle Hamilton — who is going off the board as one of the top DBs — justifies the hype. Redraft or dynasty he deserves the investment, regardless of Clark’s past success.

    Thank you for checking out my article! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys' author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @Michael__Sicoli and @IDPGuys (we have offense too) and please check out our website at idpguys.org.

    Michael Sicoli

    A dynasty enthusiast and fantasy football addict, there's not much more I'd prefer to write about. I'm a New Yorker at a Connecticut university -- Quinnipiac -- who's a firm believer that the NFL doesn't have an offseason.
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