Fantasy Coin Flip: Ray Rice or Julius Jones?

Kyle WinslowCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2009

BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 27:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates his first career touchdown against the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium on September 27, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Browns 34-3. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

Every week fantasy managers have to make tough decisions about their fantasy roster. 

The plethora of temptations to start weak players with great matchups and sit superstars with nagging minor injuries is ubiquitous.  We all check start'em sit'em articles to double-check our own opinions, but what do you do when both of your options are on the same side of those lists?

Just ask John Lorge and Kyle Winslow.  Send us an email with your toughest fantasy coin-flips to or tweet John @JohnLorge.

This weeks' fantasy coin-flip was sent via twitter from Jets Featured Columnist David Wyatt, who has to start either Ray Rice or Julius Jones.  Rice faces a resurgent Bengals defense, while Julius Jones goes up against the Jacksonville Jaguars.


John Lorge

At first glance most fantasy owners would pick the hot name, Ray Rice, over Julius Jones in a heartbeat. Rice is the eighth leading rusher in the NFL (Jones is 15th), and he has more than doubled Jones’ receiving yards.

While Rice is a yardage monster, he only has one career touchdown and he is not the Ravens red zone back. Jones hasn’t been a scoring machine but he does have three scores this year including two through the air. Touchdowns matter.

Both the Jags and Bengals are giving up about 100 rushing YPG and both have surrendered three rushing touchdowns. The main difference I see between these two defenses is that the Jags have forced a league-high five fumbles on rushers and the Bengals have only forced one. Neither Rice nor Jones has fumbled this year.

The deciding factor for me is that the Seahawks offensive line is among the worst in the NFL right now while the Ravens are moving the ball up the field with ease. There is a good chance Rice will get his second career TD against Cinci.


Kyle Winslow

When you look at the names Ray Rice and Julius Jones, you instantly think "start Rice." But when you look at the matchups, Julius Jones appears to have the edge.  However,  perception differs a bit from the numbers; the Bengals defense isn't actually much different than Jacksonville's versus running backs.

The Bengals D has been hyped as the main reason for the team's 3-1 start, but Jacksonville's defense is actually statistically better versus the run, although the difference is only 17 total yards through four games.

Since both running backs are very active pass-catchers out the backfield, perhaps a more important matchup measurement is how teams have fared on check-down passes to running backs against these two defenses. 

Again, the two defenses are strikingly close.  Jacksonville has given up 118 yards on 17 passes to running backs so far this season, whereas Cincinnati has given up 114 yards on 15 passes to running backs.

When the matchups are close, go with the better player on the better offense. Baltimore is third in the league in both total yardage and scoring.  Seattle struggles scoring in the red zone, and they are likely to pass down the field more with Matthew Hasselbeck returning to action.

Verdict: Start Ray Rice

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