2010 Fantasy Football Stock Watch: Ray Rice is Back
A consensus top five pick in almost every fantasy football draft, much was expected of Baltimore’s Ray Rice coming into the 2010 season. Due to various reasons, including the Baltimore Ravens trying to establish new wide receiver Anquan Boldin, Rice struggled to perform like an elite running back throughout the first four games of the season. Much like last season, however, Rice seems to be coming on strong when it matters most.
Before the season started Rice was considered a top three running back and week five finally showed why. Against the Denver Broncos, Rice exploded for 133 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries. It’s important to note that both of Rice’s touchdowns came on goal-line carries, showing Baltimore is committed to the third year running back as a short-yardage back. Interestingly, Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain have clearly taken a back seat to Rice in this area, and much like last year, he should continue to thrive as Baltimore’s feature back. Re-establishing himself as Baltimore’s true workhorse, Rice is primed to be a top-10 overall performer the rest of the way for the 2010 fantasy football season.
In 2009, Rice finished the season with 1,339 yards and seven touchdowns. Despite a relatively slow start to the 2010 campaign, Rice’s numbers should approach or exceed those of last season, as he got off to an equally slow start in 2009, and still finished with huge numbers. While Baltimore has many weapons at their disposal, Rice is clearly their go-to-guy and will carry the offense on its back.
Rice’s next three games include a road trip to New England, followed by home games against Buffalo and Miami. For fantasy purposes, Rice should be considered an elite #1 RB option in all fantasy formats for each of those games, with the potential to be the top overall player for at least the next month.
During the 2009 season, Ray Rice established himself as one of the top five running backs in the entire NFL. Despite starting out slow, he ended up 6th in the league in rushing while also grabbing 78 receptions. Much like last year, Rice began 2010 struggling to establish his role in Baltimore’s offense. Also like 2010, however, Rice is quickly asserting himself as the Raven’s top option and will produce numbers much like 2009 for the rest of the season. Needless to say, you should feel more than safe with Rice as your top fantasy back, and you can start putting all of those “Sell High” thoughts to rest.
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