For my 5th pick in fantasy drafts this year I’m going to go with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. At first I was even higher on Rice this year with Willis McGahee’s departure to Denver and dreamt of the possibilities of the kind of numbers he could put up with no one to vulture away his redzone carries. Then with the news that Ricky Williams would be joining the backfield, I had to temper those expectations a bit. Despite that Rice is still a top 5 fantasy pick.
He is one of the best receiving backs in the league and as such is targeted like one. Flacco looks to him often and targeted him 82 times last year for 63 catches, third most among running backs in both categories. The previous year he was the leader of the pack in each of those categories. In PPR leagues you may even want to have him higher on your draft boards because there’s no reason he shouldn’t finish at or near the top in those categories again this year.
Despite all of his receiving prowess, he is still a running back and should run the ball over 300 times this year. In the past two years as a starter, he has rushed for at least 1,200 yards and 5 touchdowns each season without missing a game. Those were both seasons with Willis McGahee and without Vonta Leach. This year he has traded McGahee for a 34 year old Ricky Williams, a slight upgrade in the eye of Rice owners, and has gained one elite fullback in Vonta Leach. Last year you may remember that Leach was part of the rushing attack that made Arian Foster’s 2010 season one for the ages. He’ll be trying his best to do the same for Ray Rice this year.