Zac Stacy is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
He’s the greatest thing since Nintendo. He’s the greatest thing since the internet, noise-cancelling headphones and the yellow line that helps viewers know where the first down marker is.
Stacy is the greatest thing– ever.
Okay, all bias aside, Stacy is not the greatest thing ever, but there aren’t many fantasy running backs greater than him. In fact, according to my personal rankings, there are only six. I touted Stacy for a while, and leading up to the draft, I was enamored with the kid, saying he’d be this year’s version of Alfred Morris. A few months later, and Stacy finished 159 fantasy points, 18th among running backs, despite not starting the first four games. Those days are long gone, however, as the Rams realize that they have an absolute workhorse in their backfield, and already stated that he’s going to get more carries in year two. That’s very exciting, especially when you consider that his 250 in 11 starts was good for the 11th-most in the NFL. He was incredible all season long, but after the Rams drafted Tre Mason in the third round of this month’s draft, many fantasy owners are suddenly hesitant to draft the Rams featured back. To that, I deliver a message…
Stacy in 2013
As I already stated, once Stacy was given the keys to the backfield, he was an elite fantasy running back. Not bad, not good. But elite.
Not only was he very good, but he was consistent. Only two weeks did Stacy not finish as an RB2, while he posted six games where he finished as a top-12 fantasy back. During this same span, Stacy was the league’s 7th-leading rusher, and he was an absolute workhorse, averaging 22.2 carries per game. This, all coming from a guy drafted on average with the 198th overall pick in ESPN leagues, also known as the third-to-last pick of the draft. Any player who comes in, as a middle-round rookie who wasn’t even planned to be the starter, and makes that big of an impact deserves more looks, not less.
Luckily, head coach Jeff Fisher may be the only person that loves Stacy more than I do.
Fisher recently said that he envisions Stacy as a guy that will see 70 percent of the carries for the Rams going forward. That bodes well for Stacy when you consider that Fisher has always been a run-first coach. According to RotoWorld, during his time with the Titans, Chris Johnson saw 925 of 1,413 attempts under Fisher from 2008-10. That number translates to about 65 percent, and if it weren’t for Vince Young running with the ball a little bit, it would probably be hovering around 70. And Fisher loves to run the ball, folks.
Those are some pretty promising numbers, and when you take into account that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was the offensive coordinator for the ground-and-pound Jets from 2006-2011, you feel even better. During those seasons, the Jets ranked 10th, 12th, 18th, 1st, 2nd and 17th in rushing attempts per game. The two most important offensive pieces on the sideline both love to run the football. Stacy is coming off a 250-carry season in which he didn’t start four games. Yep, sounds good to me.
And to make Stacy’s 2013 campaign even more impressive, the Rams dealt with a banged up offensive line last year. However, an interesting note is that with the second overall pick of Greg Robinson, it makes it a first for Fisher– the first time in 18 seasons as a head coach that he selected an offensive lineman in the first round. This pleases me, as he knows it’s the right pick to help his stud rusher, and it also solidifies that he wants to run the heck out of the football, especially considering Sam Bradford’s struggles under center.
Look, is Tre Mason a talented running back? Of course he is. However, I’m not ready to jump ship on Stacy now (or ever) because of his presence. He still has to jump a guy like Benny Cunningham, who averaged 5.6 YPC last season, for the number two spot. I’m not saying Mason won’t be a factor at all in 2014, but not nearly enough to threaten Stacy.