Jeremy Maclin's fantasy football stock improves slightly by joining Ravens

Jeremy Maclin will look to rebound from a disappointing season by joining the league's most pass-happy offense from 2016. Scott Winters/ICON Sportswire

Jeremy Maclin was a surprise cut by the Chiefs earlier this month, but it didn't take the veteran long to find a new home. On Monday, Maclin signed a two-year deal with the Ravens.

Maclin is only 29 years old, but he's coming off what was easily the worst season of his career. He caught 44 of 75 targets for 536 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. That came after he posted at least 85 receptions, 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns each of the previous two seasons.

Maclin's efficiency was down quite a bit in 2016. He dropped three balls and averaged a career-low 3.0 yards after the catch, which ranked in the 12th percentile at the position. After missing four games with a groin injury last season, Maclin has now been out of action for at least one game during six of his eight seasons in the NFL.

Maclin heads to Baltimore, where he's a decent bet to take over for the retired Steve Smith Sr. as Joe Flacco's top target. Maclin lined up in the slot on 45 percent of his routes last season, which isn't far off Smith's 35 percent rate in his final season. Smith averaged roughly 20 percent of the team's targets when active, which is a number Maclin can easily match (he's averaged at least a 19 percent target share during the seven seasons he's played at least one snap).

Mike Wallace will remain heavily involved opposite Maclin but stands to lose a handful of targets as a result of the signing. Breshad Perriman's value takes the biggest hit, as the third-year wideout is now best viewed as no more than a late-round lottery ticket. Expect Wallace (19 percent slot last season) and Perriman (12 percent) to work the perimeter, with Maclin in the slot, when the Ravens have three wide receivers on the field.

Looking back at my projections from May 30, I had Maclin projected for 111 targets, 70 receptions, 812 yards and 4.1 touchdowns with the Chiefs. My initial projection for Maclin with the Ravens is similar, but better, at 119 targets, 76 receptions, 924 yards and 3.9 touchdowns. I have the Ravens projected for more passing and roughly six more offensive snaps per game than the conservative Chiefs, but I also don't expect the Ravens to improve more than slightly on their underwhelming touchdown production from the past four years (they've averaged fewer than 1.9 offensive touchdowns per game three of those four years).

Maclin is best viewed as a flex option, but he's certainly in the WR3 discussion. Wallace has finished as a top-24 fantasy receiver during six of the past seven seasons, but his efficiency is likely to return closer to his career norms during his age-31 campaign. He's a back-end flex option. The signing helps make quarterback Joe Flacco's job easier, but he's never finished better than 10th at the position in fantasy points, and even that came way back in 2010. Flacco remains no more than a matchup-dependent streaming option.