A consensus top four pick in almost every fantasy football draft this year, Ray Rice is one of the most electrifying running backs in the entire NFL. As a top fantasy pick, however, expectations are enormous for the third year running back out of Rutgers.
Due to a combination of many factors, including a knee contusion suffered last week against the Cleveland Browns, Rice has struggled throughout the first three games of the season. Through three games, Rice is averaging just 70 yards rushing with zero touchdowns, numbers lower than fantasy owners expected.
It is still extremely early in the season, however, and Rice remains the same elite fantasy running back he was before the season started. While it might not get much easier for Rice right away, as Baltimore travels to Pittsburgh in week 4, he should still be considered a top-5 fantasy running back going forward for the rest of the season. After Pittsburgh, Rice’s schedule gets much easier with home games against Denver and Buffalo sandwiched with a road game at New England. None of those teams are particularly good at stopping the run, meaning Rice should be considered a top fantasy player overall for those weeks.
While the saying is rather cliché, the fantasy football season is a marathon; not a sprint, and while Ray Rice has struggled coming out of the gate, he is a proven commodity in the world of uncertainty that is fantasy football.
Ray Rice was drafted at the beginning of your fantasy draft for a reason. Rice remains an elite option on a team that looks to be one of the best in the NFL. While his upside might be just short of that of Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson, he has more upside than just about anyone else. If you were fortunate enough to draft Rice in your fantasy league, be patient with him and he will pay off big for you, especially in weeks 5-7.