Fantasy Football 2013: Assessing The St. Louis Rams Backfield

By Adam Pfeifer
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports


It’s Christmas morning.

You wake up, then attempt to wake everyone in your house as well, rush down the stairs and prepare to open the glorious array of presents under the tree. You are excited, thinking about endless possibilities. Then, your entire mood swings because of what you find after opening a handful of gifts.


Clothes to kids on Christmas is exactly what a running back-by- committee approach is like for fantasy owners. And, of course, another one has found it’s way into our lives.

Going into the season, the St. Louis Rams didn’t have the most appealing backfieldby any means, but at the time, we pretty much knew what we were going to get. Isaiah Pead was suspended, Zac Stacy an unproven rookie and Daryl Richardson started the season as “the guy” to own. However, just a few weeks and a 2.7 yards per clip later, and it appears a committee approach is on the horizon.

This could get ugly.

Richardson started the season as the main back, posting 40 touches during his first two games. However, a foot injury kept him sidelined for Week 3, and now in Week 5, it appears Richardson may have lost his job. When asked on Twitter if he was starting this week, Richardson replied “not this week man.” Interesting. I mean, I’m not one to use Twitter as a very credible source unless it comes from Adam Schefter or someone along those lines, but hey, if anyone knows his status for Week 5, it’s Richardson. Of course, I’d rather take the word of head coach Jeff Fisher. When asked what the running back situation will look like on Sunday, Fisher tried to shine some light on the situation (St. Louis Dispatch).

“Haven’t decided yet,”Fisher said. “We’ll probably play most if not all the running backs who are active. The starter depends on what package we’re in, you know, when we start the game … We’ve got different things, and different style runners, and we’ve got different things for different backs.”

He’s right.

Richardson is the more versatile back of the bunch. Their best bet to catch the ball out of the backfield, and probably their most explosive runner. Pead, meanwhile, is a former second round pick, but saw Richardson leap frog ahead of him on the depth chart last season, and Pead was also a healthy scratch last week. Rookie runner Zac Stacy, who I was highest on in the offseason, won’t wow you by any means, but he can do a little bit of everything well. Finally, there’s Benny Cunningham, who has been seeing more work than Stacy and Pead lately, is a late-round flier at best, but he has been getting some work.

From a fantasy perspective, this makes for a difficult scenario. The running back position is currently very thin at the moment with injuries, underperformers, etc. Having said that, some owners, especially in deeper leagues, will have no choice but to take a shot on one of these guys. However, keep in mind that this offensive line has been pretty bad thus far, and the Rams running backs are averaging just 2.6 yards per carry. After bringing in a few weapons in the passing game, quarterback Sam Bradford has wanted to utilize them a lot, as he currently leads the league in passing attempts (182). To me, this offense has yet to find their identity, and until they begin to run the ball more (and more successfully), or until someone emerges out of this backfield, fantasy owners shouldn’t get excited at all.

Proceed with caution.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

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