There’s no debate that Ray Rice was the most disappointing player to own in fantasy football in 2013. He was drafted as a top-five running back after the year he had in 2012. However, Rice ended the season as the 30th-best fantasy back in ESPN.com standard leagues. He had 660 yards and four touchdowns, the lowest since his rookie season in 2008. About 20 percent of his rushing yards came in Week 11.
The Baltimore Ravens made a big change to their offensive staff. Gary Kubiak was hired as the offensive coordinator and the fantasy world rejoiced. We all know the success Kubiak had with Arian Foster toting the ball.
In 2012, Foster’s last full season, the Houston Texans had 554 pass and 508 rushing attempts. Foster rushed the ball 351 times, 33 percent of the total offensive plays. From 2010 to 2012, Foster ran for 4,264 yards and crossed the goal line 41 times.
Looking at the Ravens’ 2013 play-calling. Joe Flacco threw the ball 614 times. Ravens running backs rushed a combined 423 times. Rice had only 214 carries, about 21 percent of all plays. Rice is the best player on the team and needs to have a much bigger presence on offense.
With the signing of Kubiak, Rice’s rushing attempts will see a big increase. The return of Dennis Pitta will also help Rice in the rushing game. The Ravens also need to fix the offensive line troubles and create openings for Rice. All of this, with the addition of Rice being fully healthy, can make Rice a top-10 rusher once again.
Until that happens, Rice should be drafted as an RB2. Many experts say he’s on the decline after his performance in 2013 and some owners will agree and pass on him in 2014. If Rice falls to round three or four, grab him. You drafted a LeSean McCoy or Matt Forte in the first round, a top-tier wide receiver in the second, drafting Rice next is a reasonable option.