660 yards in 15 games on 214 attempts. That's 3.1 yards per carry! Talk about mediocrity... and that's being kind. Doesn't sound like a 3 time pro bowler entering his 7th year, right? Wrong. Unfortunately for Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens, and every fantasy player whom owned #27 last year--this is exactly the outcome of the 2013-2014 season. Rice has not produced less than 1,100 yards since his rookie season, and even then he averaged 4.3 yards per carry. At least the pro bowl running back doesn't have any off the field issues. EHHH! Wrong, again. As most of you all know, last February, Ray Rice was caught dragging his unconscious fiancee' out of an Atlantic City Casino after an alleged "physical altercation." I'd be frustrated after the season I just had as well, but not to the extreme of hitting my fiancee'. A man should never be touching a woman. Period. But that is beyond the point.
The point of the matter is that Ray Rice is entering the 2014-2015 season with a whole lot of baggage. He is coming off the worst season he has had since he has entered the NFL as well as he may be facing some repercussion from the league after his actions during the offseason. By repercussion, expect Rice to be suspended for the first few games of the season.
Show Us What You're Worth
Now don't get me wrong, I used to be a huge fan of Ray Rice. Being that I am a New Jersey native and he was a star at Rutgers University, I was a big supporter. I loved Ray Rice and his value as a fantasy football running back all the way up to mid to end of last season. But the real question is, "where does he fall on the draft board this year?" There are plenty of variables that need to be considered before making the decision of adding him to your team.
One, performance. Will Rice bounce back from the previous year and prove that he is still the same back from 2009-2012? This is when he would rush for at least 1,100 yards with an average of at least 4 yards per carry.
Second, how many games is he facing for suspension? You can't risk having your starting backs out for the first few weeks of the season.
Third, will Rice stay out of trouble from this point on? Now, to play devil's advocate, this is the man's first off the field incident--at least to our public knowledge. It is not like he is off getting in trouble every offseason; so there is a chance he will stay out of the spotlight for infamy.
Also, according to Around the League Writer, Dan Hanzus, Joe Flacco has talked highly on Ray Rice's performance at Ravens' camp. Apparently Rice is running the ball well and showing explosiveness. Also, Flacco stated that Rice has dropped 20 pounds going into the season. I guess there is a little light shone on this dark mess.
Where Do You Take Rice?
Rice will have to fall significantly before I take him. Between the disastrous 2013-2014 season and the shameful fiancee' beat down, the baggage is not worth the headache. He is a talented running back, whom may very well have another pro bowl season. But I won't be the one willing to wait 2-4 games due to suspension and hope that he will perform as the running back he was two seasons ago. I have to at least have 3-4 running backs drafted before I even think of taking him.
Fortunately, I am not the only one from Lets Talk Fantasy Football to have an opinion on this matter. Listen to what my peers feel about Rice and his fantasy value on our first podcast brought to the site!
Also, tweet me your thoughts @DonC70_LTFF
If you want to find more career stats on Ray Rice, mine are courtesy of NFL.com.See Our Fantasy Player Profiles