While many fantasy football players were trying to understand the reason for the decline in Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice‘s performance in 2013, his weight may have never even been evaluated as a factor.
Rice was said to have weighed at least 225 pounds at the end of the regular season, but he is reportedly 215 pounds at this very moment. Rice’s trainer and Jim Harbaugh both have expressed a desire for him to lose weight before the start of the 2014 season, and the goal for him is apparently to take the field at a solid 205 pounds. He appears well on his way of reaching this goal, but could this help to explain the poor fantasy season for Rice?
If weight was the only reason for the struggles of Rice in 2013, then it would at least explain some of his rushing totals. The fact that he only averaged 3.1 yards a carry, the worst of his career, shows that he was not as explosive as he was in previous seasons. Weight would have a clear connection with a decline in yards per carry. Rice also only averaged 44 rushing yards per game, which was his lowest since his rookie season.
His weight could have also hurt him in his receiving yard totals. Rice could normally turn little dump off passes into big gains, but if he was too heavy, he would not have been able to find the burst he needed. The reception totals Rice had in 2013 were similar to previous years, but he once again saw a decline in his receiving yards.
The important question for fantasy football players to ask is whether or not his weight was the only reason for a disappointing year. The Ravens really struggled creating holes for Rice, and the offensive line was often mentioned throughout the year as one of the reasons that Baltimore ranked 30th in rushing yards. Rice also was battling a hip injury for several weeks, and he is closer to 30 than 20.
While there could be several reasons for the struggles of Rice in 2013, his weight appears to help complete a better picture for the issues surrounding him. Fantasy players will want to monitor him throughout the summer, but Rice could very well be on the road to a comeback in the 2014 fantasy football season.