During his short career in the NFL, Baltimore Ravens running back Bernard Pierce has been one of the few running backs who seems to be appealing to fantasy football general managers even though he is technically not the starter for his team. Even though Pierce’s career numbers don’t pop off the page, many fantasy general managers have still seen that when Pierce has stepped in for Ray Rice, at certain times it appears that he could be a serviceable starting running back in the NFL.
Most teams prefer to roll with at least two running backs in their backfields to preserve both players for a longer amount of time. New Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has already told the media that Baltimore will definitely be using the two-back system next season. He also mentioned that the team will shift to the zone-blocking schemes that Kubiak used while he was the head coach for the Houston Texans.
The use of zone-blocking will have a benefit for Pierce, as he has been compared to have similar one-cut ability like Texans running back Arian Foster. So with a new offensive scheme being implemented to better suit his style of play and Ray Rice looking like a shell of his former self last year paired with his off-the-field issues, does that leave room for Pierce to make his mark in 2014?
Fantasy owners would love to see Pierce have a breakout year, because he is viewed as a lesser fantasy option. Owners can think about taking him with a very low draft pick or even off the waiver wire at the start of the season. In two seasons he has averaged 3.7 yards per carry on 260 rushing attempts and three touchdowns. As mentioned before, these numbers aren’t astounding, but the value of having running back depth or even depth at the FLEX position can make or break a fantasy season.
In 2014, Pierce should have his best fantasy season yet due to the fact that the Ravens will look to utilize him more to preserve the future of Rice a little bit longer. Fantasy owners shouldn’t hesitate to take Pierce with a late-round selection. It will be a forward thinking decision that will pay off in the late stretch of the fantasy season.