Isaiah Likely is a Sneaky Late-Round Fantasy Sleeper Target, Why He Has Prime Early-Season Opportunity in Baltimore

Gloss over backup tight end Isaiah Likely all you want, that’s your loss.

Zay Flowers: Baltimore’s shiny new toy. Odell Beckham Jr.: The Ravens’ presumed veteran standout. Rashod Bateman: Baltimore’s flashy, explosive playmaker. Mark Andrews: The guy.

While Ravens fans, and a lot of the NFL, are focused on the big storylines of what’s new in Baltimore, one guy is jumping and shouting from the back row: “Hey! Remember me?”

Gloss over backup tight end Isaiah Likely all you want, that’s your loss.

Sure, there’s no question Andrews is likely (no pun intended) one of the top three tight ends off fantasy boards. But paired with Baltimore’s favorable early-season schedule and adjustment time needed for its new receiving pieces, Likely has the chance to find himself racking up scores and piling on the red zone looks.


In three games last year when Andrews was hurt or out of the lineup, Likely had 19.7, 9.4, and 18.3 PPR points, proving he is more of a receiving tight end than a blocker or second-string man. He also finished with three touchdowns on the season, one coming when Andrews was injured and the other two coming in games both played in. The three scores were also more than Bateman’s two and tied with former No. 2 receiver Devin Duvernay.

The breakdown continues with Likely getting a pivotal look in the red zone against division-rival Pittsburgh in Week 17.

Andrews was targeted nine times, and caught nine balls for 100 yards, but was not looked to for Baltimore’s only touchdown drive. Likely hauled in the 12-yard score in what ended up being a tightly contested three-point game.


If one goes back even further, the usage of the 6-foot, 4-inch tight end should not come as a shock.

In Coastal Carolina University’s breakout 2020 season, where Likely started, he ranked tenth in the FBS with 20 yards per reception (30-601) in 11 games (eight starts). His draft stock rose again in 2021 as he tied for eighth in the FBS (first among tight ends) with 12 receiving scores. His 912 receiving yards in just under 60 catches helped Coastal Carolina win its first bowl game.

Compared to Tennessee Titan legend Delanie Walker, Likely possesses the abilities to dip low or climb the ladder to make catches, sink for abrupt stops on comeback routes, and regularly stretch the field.

Likely and Andrews are separated by just one inch in height. But, Likely arguably outplays Andrews in speed and deep-ball routes. His continued ability to separate from defenders makes him a promising target in the end zone.

Now, we’re not naive. Andrews catches touchdowns. But, if you look at many of his scores, routinely, he out-works a defender to a spot instead of creating clear separation.


Will rookie Zay Flowers provide clear separation from defenders as a rookie? Will OBJ’s restructured ACL following a tear and a year off from football aid him in creating clear separation?

Baltimore also has a favorable schedule to begin the season.

At home against Houston and Indianapolis and away in Cleveland for three of the team’s first four games. Will Andrews really need the work against two teams without professional quarterback experience? Will Andrews be bottled up as the focal point of the Browns’ defense?

Regardless of the league style you play in, Likely is being overlooked and drafted in the high-teen rounds, or not at all. For a position where touchdown or bust seems to be the norm, Likely seems a little more… likable.


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