The St. Louis Rams received some terrible news on Sunday when ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported fifth-year quarterback Sam Bradford suffered a torn ACL and would miss the 2014 season:
Rams QB Sam Bradford is out for season after MRI shows he did tear left knee ACL, per sources. Rams will announce later today. @ESPNNFL— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) August 24, 2014
So, what does this mean for second-year running back Zac Stacy's potential fantasy value? After all, his fantasy owners were already startled by the team starting Benny Cunningham in its third preseason contest. Luckily, that situation was put to rest by Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, via ESPN's Nick Wagoner:
Fisher on Cunningham starting at RB: "We just gave him a chance to run behind the first offensive line. We know what Zac can do."— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) August 24, 2014
Now, Bradford's absence brings up more concerns.
Losing a starting quarterback can be absolutely devastating on many levels to an NFL offense. Bradford showed plenty of promise when under center through his career but has fallen victim to injury on several occasions.
Last season, Bradford only played in the team's first seven contests before suffering an ACL injury, which gives us an indication of how Stacy was affected by his absence.
While it was an up-and-down season for Stacy in 2013, his production actually increased following Bradford's injury. Before the quarterback was injured—the season's first seven games—Stacy didn't receive more than 18 carries in a single contest. During the final nine games of the season, the ball-carrier surpassed that number six times.
Clearly, this is a team capable of utilizing its stout offensive line—which features first-round selection Greg Robinson this season—to lean heavily on the run in the absence of its starting quarterback.
Currently, veteran Shaun Hill is expected to take over starting responsibilities under center, but due to the time of the year, we shouldn't rule out a potential trade just yet. Speculation has already begun. Here's NFL.com's Albert Breer's take:
If there's one trade target makes sense for the Rams, if Bradford is out for any period of time, I'd say it'd be Eagles QB Mark Sanchez.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) August 24, 2014
Regardless of which quarterback sees the most time on the field for St. Louis this year, Stacy's fantasy production shouldn't be harmed. He produced nicely in this situation last year, and he should be expected to do the same in 2014.
Consider him a low-end No. 1 or high-end No. 2 option at running back going forward and start him with confidence.