Ray Rice Too Risky to Play in Fantasy with Questionable Status

Tyler Brooke@TylerDBrookeSenior Analyst IISeptember 27, 2013

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 5: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens warms up prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 5, 2013 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Ray Rice may be able to play against the Buffalo Bills this Sunday, but he's too big of a risk to start this week in fantasy football.

After not playing in Week 3 against the Houston Texans due to a hip injury, Rice has been working to get ready to play this week against the Bills, practicing on a limited basis throughout the week. According to the Baltimore Ravens official Twitter account, Rice believes there's a chance that he plays on Sunday.

Even if Rice has a chance to get in the game, he isn't worth the risk of putting him in your starting lineup.

We've seen situations like this a few times already this season regarding big fantasy names that were questionable entering their games, and most of them have been pretty disappointing when they've been out there.

Larry Fitzgerald was questionable to play in each of his last two games with a hamstring injury. He had just 33 yards on two catches against the Detroit Lions, then came back and had just 64 yards on five receptions the next week against the New Orleans Saints.

Roddy White has been hobbled over the past few weeks with an ankle sprain. He's been unable to put up solid numbers so far this year, grabbing just seven receptions for 56 yards and zero touchdowns. He tweeted out after the season opener against the Saints, telling fantasy owners why they shouldn't start him.

The same case could be made about being limited in practice.

Even when Rice has played this year, it hasn't been very impressive. He's ran for 72 yards and a touchdown in two games, but he's also averaged just 2.9 yards per carry and lost a fumble.

No matter which way you put it, that's not good.

The issue, even if Rice plays, is that he will be splitting carries with Bernard Pierce, perhaps even getting fewer carries than his backup, because they want to ease him back into game situations.  

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 Pen
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Unfortunately, even Pierce's numbers haven't been very good. He has 144 yards and two touchdowns on the year, averaging 2.8 yards per carry. He had 65 yards and a score on 24 carries last week, and the offense still looks rather weak.

Rice won't get anywhere near 24 carries this week if he's able to suit up and get out there. The Bills may not have the strongest defense, but the Ravens' offensive line seems incapable of opening up holes. At 2.6 yards per carry as a team, they rank 30th in the NFL, behind only the St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Hip injuries are no joke, and there's always the risk of re-injuring the hip when Rice is out there. If you're a fantasy owner, keep Rice out of your starting lineup this week and wait until the reports are much more optimistic about his participation in practice before you think about starting him once again.