Ray Rice impressed some folks in his rookie season two years ago, putting up solid numbers and displaying amazing speed and quickness.
There was only one problem. Despite gaining over 700 total yards on just 140 touches, Rice failed to get into the end zone.
As he took over the feature back role in Baltimore, this problem started to go away. However, when Rice ended the season with eight scores on over 320 total touches, it left something to be desired.
Thank Willis McGahee for that. Thank Ray Rice's deceptively small frame, too.
Rice isn't a large man, weighing at just 210 lbs and generously listed at 5'8''. True, the guy is small for a running back, but he's no pushover.
Those 210 lbs are chiseled and relentless and are exactly the reason why Rice is entering the 2010 fantasy football season as an elite option, and very arguably a top-five pick.
In fact, many would go as far to say he's the third option behind Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson.
And how can you argue against them?
Rice may not be a touchdown king (yet), but he has way too many "pro's" weighing in his favor.
McGahee may still be the front-runner for goal line and short yardage duty, but there's simply no way Rice doesn't get a few more chances to prove himself in this department. He's too strong and explosive to not start making a better impact in this aspect of his game.
Another interesting note is Rice's versatility as a receiver. After catching 78 passes for over 700 yards receiving, it's quite obvious that Rice is lethal once the ball is in his hands.
We can't even begin to predict another 78 or more balls, but the Ravens are too smart and potent on offense to not get to him through the air at least 60+ times for the second straight season.
Add in the additions of Anquan Boldin, Dante Stallworth, and new youth at tight end through the draft, and Baltimore has the makings of a rejuvenated and explosive offense.
Considering they are being backed by a 23-year-old with a tendency to break long runs and tire-out defenses, they've got a pretty good shot at surprising some people.
But NFL season predictions are for another day.
If you're drafting early this summer, start testing the waters. Use those fantasy mock drafts to gain some knowledge now: Ray Rice is an elite fantasy back , and that won't be changing anytime soon.
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