Fantasy Football: Is It Safe To Bench Ray Rice?

By Matthew Wood
Ray Rice
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes time to discuss the biggest busts of the 2013 fantasy football season, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice will be on the short list of most disappointing running backs in the league.

The consensus top-five pick has shown nary a spark of the production that led owners to confidently make him one of the safest selection in most drafts. The numbers don’t lie: He has not topped 75 yards in any game this year and scored only three touchdowns. If you throw out his two-touchdown game in Week 5 against the Miami Dolphins, Rice has scored a total of 27 standard league points the entire season.

What has been the problem? Well, the fact that the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens are a mere shell of last year’s team doesn’t help. But, it also looks like Rice just doesn’t have the burst of speed we’ve grown accustomed to in watching him pile up four straight 1,000-yard seasons. He’s not getting yards after contact (less than 10 in each of his last two games); he’s not finding holes — and when he does, he’s not breaking away like he’s done in the past.

Case in point: His longest run of the season is 14 yards. What?

So, what do we do about it? Admittedly, it’s hard to bench a guy you’ve invested so much of your fantasy squad on, and there would have to be a viable option in order to sit him. Unfortunately, those options are becoming more and more viable. This week’s matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals is a rough one, and he’s ranked 20th in ESPN’s running back list and out of the top-20 from CBS.

If you have a Lamar Miller, Giovani Bernard or even Danny Woodhead, they should all be considered better plays this week. The odds are that Rice breaks out at some point this season. The question is how long you can wait until that happens?

Matthew Wood is a fantasy football writer for Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.

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