Fantasy Football 2011: Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice to Be Unleashed

Alex SandersonCorrespondent IIIAugust 12, 2011

OWINGS MILLS, MD - JULY 29:  Running back Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens walks onto the field during training camp on July 29, 2011 in Owings Mills, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The offseason for the overall 2011 fantasy outlook of Ravens star running back Ray Rice has fluctuated quite a bit, albeit by small margins.

A claim made by offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Thursday may finally put that to rest, however.

Cameron proclaimed that even with the addition of Ricky Williams, who was supposed to take over Willis McGahee's role in short-yardage and goal-line situations, Ray Rice would actually be the goal-line back this season.

When McGahee was released shortly after the NFL lockout was lifted, many thought that Rice would get that chance, but that was soon taken away after they signed Williams.

The news has the most impact on non-PPR leagues. Rice has always been better in PPR leagues because of his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield along with all the touches he accrues.

Rice scored just a combined six touchdowns last year but was still among the best fantasy running backs. Assuming he can handle the goal-line work, he should easily be able to score in the double digits.

The only real risk with Rice is the possibility of being overworked or getting injured in the short-yardage situations. But that risk is well worth the reward if he keeps the goal-line job.

Luckily Williams is a quality guy that the Ravens can turn to for short spells here and there to keep their star guy fresh.

It would be not too far of a stretch to think that Rice could end up being the best overall fantasy running back in 2011. He should flirt with 2,000 total yards from scrimmage and 12 to 15 touchdowns.

I know I would take Rice over Arian Foster, for example, as many signs point to him having a hard time repeating what he did last season. Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Chris Johnson all seem like pretty safe top picks, but don't be surprised if Rice outperforms all four of them.