Bernard Pierce's Updated 2013 Fantasy Outlook After Week 3

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Bernard Pierce's Updated 2013 Fantasy Outlook After Week 3
Larry French/Getty Images

When Ray Rice wasn't in the lineup for the first time in 43 games, Bernard Pierce stepped up for the Baltimore Ravens in a big way.

It was the team's first game without Rice since his rookie season (2008). Pierce's overall numbers don't jump out, but the 23-year-old did just fine in his first NFL start.

Pierce ran for 65 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, and he added seven yards on two receptions. For any fantasy football owner who started him, they were pleased with his output.

Larry French/Getty Images

Since receiving more carries with a banged-up Rice the past two weeks, Pierce has run for 122 yards and two touchdowns. That's nothing spectacular, but an average of 61 yards and a score helps any fantasy football team.

So what does his performance mean for his fantasy stock? To be honest, very little.

His fantasy value is directly tied to Rice's health. If Rice misses more time with his hip injury, Pierce will continue to get the ball. 

The Ravens don't have a bye until Week 8, so Rice will have to either play through the pain or miss some time. The good news for Baltimore is it could rest Rice another week as it plays the Buffalo Bills. Buffalo is tied for 30th in the NFL in run defense, so Pierce should be able to have a strong game against the Bills.

The schedule gets tougher after next week. It would be a good idea to hold Rice out for one more week in order to have him healthy for the tougher part of the schedule.

Who should get the majority of the carries against the Buffalo Bills?

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Until Rice's status becomes clear, fantasy owners will have to be cautious with Pierce. When the two have both been healthy in the past two seasons, Pierce has received more than 10 carries only once.

The second-year back has shown the ability to pick up yards in bunches. He averaged 4.9 yards per attempt last season, so the Ravens feel comfortable with him running the football.

With Buffalo on tap, Baltimore may opt to give Pierce another start as Rice continues to recover from his hip injury. If the Ravens go with Pierce, the running back should have a big game against the Bills.

Pierce will most likely have value for fantasy owners for another week, but the Ravens won't be counting on him to carry the workload for much longer, unless Rice's injury is more serious than it is believed to be.

 

*All stats are courtesy of NFL.com.

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