Ray Rice is a great runningback and a top-three back in the NFL. But that doesn’t mean he should be a high pick this year in the first round of Fantasy Football drafts. The main reason for that is, the Baltimore Ravens like what they second from backup runningback Bernard Pierce.
Earlier in the offseason, I talked about Ravens’ runningbacks coach Wilbert Montgomery who earlier in the offseason gave high praise to Pierce comparing him to Adrian Peterson. I thought it was overstated, but it shows the type of talent the Ravens believe they have in Pierce, and he will have an expanded role in the offense after coming off a pretty good rookie season averaging 4.9 yards per-carry on 108 rushes in 2012.
Is Rice still a first-round pick in Fantasy Football? Yes, I believe he is. I just don’t think he should be among the top-five selections in the draft. I think he has good value in the back-end of a 12-team league or a 16-team league.
Pros to taking Rice High
Rice is very durable. Since Rice became the starting runningback for the Ravens in 2009, he has never missed a game. You know what you are getting in terms of receptions and rushes. He’s one of the few runningbacks in the NFL who can carry a team by himself at times.
Cons to taking Rice High
Rice, as mentioned earlier, won’t see as many carries due to Pierce being an emerging star in the Ravens’ offense. Rice was never really a big touchdown guy to begin with when you look at the 2009 and 2010 seasons where Rice only had 14 touchdowns total. His best season came in 2011 when he had 15 total touchdowns.
Rice is an excellent player, but I would be cautious with him at the end of the day.