Ray Rice's Week 1 Pedestrian Performance Should Not Concern Fantasy Owners

Ryan DavenportContributor ISeptember 6, 2013

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 5: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates his touchdown run in the second quarter against the Denver Broncos during the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 5, 2013 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Well, that didn't take long. 

If there was any question regarding whether Ray Rice and the Ravens would have their way with the Denver Broncos once again, the sports world got a resounding answer on Thursday night as Peyton Manning and company walked all over Baltimore, winning by a final score of 49-27 on home turf.

Though there were many Ravens standouts that disappointed in Baltimore's first game since winning the Super Bowl, Ray Rice's opening-night performance was particularly surprising. 

That's because Rice, who thoroughly dominated the Broncos defense during the Birds' postseason victory last winter, came up with just 36 yards on 12 carries, which was certainly a sizable reason why the Ravens dropped their opening game. 

But for fantasy owners, now is not the time to panic. 

Regardless of his yardage on the ground, Rice still managed 71 yards in total, and as ESPN pointed out, Rice's performance wasn't as bad as the basic numbers may suggest. That being said, this is a player that should be monitored due to the emergence of another threat in the Ravens backfield. 

Rice salvaged the day with a touchdown, and the eight receptions mean he actually had a pretty good game in PPR leagues. However, Bernard Pierce received nine carries and seemed to have a pretty big role in the offense. Rice isn't in danger of losing his job or anything like that, but Pierce's workload is something to keep an eye on.

For now, Pierce is a wild card due to his lack of experience, but even after receiving nine carries to Rice's 12, there's no doubt who the top dog in Baltimore is. 

Rice has been driving the bus (along with Joe Flacco) for the Ravens offense for more than four years, so there's no reason to think that he'll rack up anything less than four-digit rushing totals on the season. 

With four consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns, Rice has established himself as one of the game's elite running backs. Given his versatility with regards to his abilities through the air, the 26-year-old Rutgers product is guaranteed to put up more than 1,400 all-purpose yards at a minimum. 

Since the three-time Pro Bowler's breakout year in 2009, Rice has been good for at least 1,500 all-purpose yards each season, so one subpar game shouldn't (and more than likely won't) scare fantasy owners away. 

There's a reason he's considered one of the most dangerous offensive players in the game, so expect Rice to have a big day against the Cleveland Browns in Week 2.