Among all the first round fantasy football picks last summer, probably the most surprising bust was Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice. The veteran was drafted within the top-10 in nearly every format, but ended up losing more and more carries to RB Bernard Pierce as the year moved on.
Rice rushed for a meager 660 yards on 214 carries (3.1 YPC) last year to go along with an embarrassingly low four touchdowns. Rice, a former All-Pro, simply didn’t look the same last season and the offense looked much more productive with Pierce in the backfield down the stretch.
Now that Rice could be facing a multiple game suspension after the famous hotel incident, Pierce could be in line to begin the season as the staring tailback. If Piece can put together a handful of strong performances, he could end up securing the job over his troubled teammate.
Pierce weighs a thick 218 pounds and the Temple standout isn’t exactly a speedster. He lacks that home run threat and he even struggles at times to get around the edge, which makes him rather one-dimensional from a fantasy standpoint.
Pierce also had shoulder surgery in January and the back has yet to return to the field. He has been participating in some individual drills during OTAs, but he has yet fully recover and join the team. Pierce could very well steal the starting gig in Baltimore in the beginning of the year, but lingering preseason injury would certainly hinder his chances.
Pierce has the chance to begin the 2014 season as the starter with the Ravens, but if Rice returns to form after his looming suspension, it will quickly diminish Pierce’s weekly fantasy value. As a result, Pierce obviously will be a somewhat risky pick, but his potential upside makes him worth grabbing as a RB5 this summer.
Bye Week: 11
Projected Round: 12
Auction Value: $4