When you go to pick in the first round of your fantasy draft, there’s a good chance you’ll be selecting a running back.
According to the ADP of players thus far, the first six picks of your fantasy draft will include:Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Jamaal Charles, Doug Martin, C.J Spiller and Marshawn Lynch. In fact, nine out of the top 10 players with the highest ADP are running backs, making the running back talent past the first round very slim.
This makes your first choice of running back by far the most important of your draft. In this edition of Draft Decision, we will be looking at the perspective of having to decide between Trent Richardson and Ray Rice as a late first-round pick.
If you have ever owned Ray Rice in fantasy, you know exactly what to expect from the soon-to-be six-year veteran. In Rice’s four seasons as the starter for the Baltimore Ravens, he has averaged 1,266 rushing yards with eight rushing touchdowns per year.
But it is not just the rushing stats that gives Rice his high value in fantasy draft rooms, but rather his ability to catch the ball. Rice has averaged just fewer than 70 receptions a season as the starter, giving him a high ceiling in PPR formats.
While the numbers are quite impressive, he is coming off his worst statistical season of his career since becoming the starter. To make matters worse, he will be losing carries to fellow running back Bernard Pierce. But despite losing over 100 carries to Pierce last year, Rice was still the fourth-best running back in PPR formats, making him one of the “safest” picks in the draft.
If you took a chance on Richardson last year, then you were highly rewarded and probably made it deep in your fantasy leagues.
Richardson was one of the three rookie running backs to go berserk in fantasy last season. Trent finished with 12 total touchdowns, had over 50 receptions and fell just 50 yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark, all while playing with broken ribs throughout the season and playing on the anemic Cleveland Browns offense.
To bring an even bigger spark than Trent has already ignited in offense, the Browns brought in Norv Turner as offense coordinator. Turner famously coached running back legends Emmitt Smith and LaDainian Tomlinson, and will surely be leaning on Trent for a big load. Turner has already been quoted saying that he expects Richardson to have 300 carries and 60 receptions.
Draft Decision: It is a tough pick as Trent is the bell cow in that offense, where Rice is clearly in a timeshare situation. Trent may be the sexier pick here, but I would have to go Ray Rice. Rice may be losing touches to Pierce, but with losses of Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta, Rice will likely be the focal point of the Ravens’ offense.
The Ravens also won’t struggle as much as the Browns to find the endzone, making a repeat of Richardson’s 12 total touchdowns very unlikely.