Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fantasy Football Player Profile: Baltimore Ravens' Ray Rice

Fantasy Football Profile: Why I’m Drafting Ray Rice with Fantasy Pick Number Three
I’m well aware that I am not proving myself as some kind of soothsayer, but hear me out. Mock drafts have Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice having an ADP between 4.8 and 5.3. So you aren’t going to hear an argument from anyone about whether or not he is a first round selection. No one is going to question that he is one of the few elite backs in the fantasy football draft this year.
But this article is for those sitting with pick number three or four in their draft. This article is for the few people who are passing up on this man and letting him fall to pick five or six. I’m out to prove why Ray Rice should be… nay… must be the third running back on your fantasy football draft list.
 1) Personnel
The Baltimore Ravens have a team this year. They have potential every year, but that was mainly because they have a solid defense. This year though, the offense is going to be something to behold. They added Lee Evans, a much needed receiver to go opposite Anquan Boldin, making a receiving duo that is going to force defenses to not crowd the box, a problem that Ray Rice encountered heavily last year.
Quarterback Joe Flacco loved dropping the ball off to Ray Rice in the passing game in 2010, making Ray Rice a huge PPR league threat, not to mention the Ravens cutting ties with Todd Heap, which will likely give Rice more short looks. Raven also lost Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain, guys who would often take carries and touchdowns away from Rice. With Ricky Williams as his only prominent running back competition, Rice should see higher scoring and yardage numbers.
And probably most importantly, the Baltimore Ravens picked up fullback Vonta Leach, one of the most underrated players in the NFL. I’ve never been a big guy on blocking. I watch football for touchdowns, catches and hits. Like most Americans, if it’s not worth putting on Sportscenter, it’s not worth too much. Nobody wants to see a pancake on a highlight reel. But this guy is something special. Arian Foster came out of nowhere last year, largely in part to the lead blocking of this man. He is the best fullback in football right now and will be the plow that Ray Rice needs to get the ball to the next level.
2) Statistics
Ray Rice is 24 years old. He has been a top fantasy drafted running back for three years in a row. That’s moderately impressive, I think.
He does not get hurt. At all. 16 games in each of his past 2 seasons. 13 in his rookie year only because he wasn’t a starter yet.
Do you know how many times Ray Rice fumbled the ball last year? If you guessed zero, you are correct! Not a single turnover on more than 300 carries.
Ray Rice had 63 receptions last year, third highest of all running backs. And that was down from his 2009 numbers when he had 78 receptions! If you are in a PPR league, there is no question that he is your number three pick.
Finally, Ray Rice averaged 111 yards per game last year. Meaning that Rice was getting you 11.1 points per game last year… without counting his touchdowns or receptions.
3) Fantasy Strength of Schedule
NFL teams get a strength of schedule ever year, averaging the winning percentages of the last season of the teams they will be playing in 2011. So why not run the same statistic for fantasy football players. Rather than running the teams overall record, we will look at their NFL ranking in the particular statistic of the fantasy football player in question. Do you follow? No? It's OK, it gets easier.
In the case of Ray Rice we will look at how many rushing yards per game the teams that he will be facing this year gave up in 2010. And what do ya' know? Ray Rice has a pretty piece of cake schedule.
The Cincinnati Bengals were the 19th best defense against the run last season, the Cleveland Browns were the 5th WORST team against the run. And the Ravens will face each of those teams twice. They also face the Cardinals (ranked 30th), Colts, (ranked 25th) and Jaguars (ranked 22nd). And their NFC schedule this year pits them against the NFC West, the worst division in football.
Only five of the games that the Ravens are playing this year will be against teams that were in the top 10 in rushing yards allowed per game.
10 of the games that Rice is playing in this year are against teams that were in the bottom half in rushing yards per game allowed. Meaning that 10 of the games Rice will be playing in are against teams that gave up over 112 rushing yards per game.
And 7 of the teams that Rice and the Ravens are facing this year were in the bottom 20 in yards allowed per game.
So there you go. As if the Ravens being a good team, and Ray Rice being a phenomenal runner weren't enough to sell you on Rice as the third overall fantasy football draft pick, we can add to the equation that they are facing one of the most running back-friendly schedules in the NFL.


  1. How much more do you really like Rice over Mendenhall? The strength of schedule, I'm guessing, would be about the same seeing how they both play in the AFC North and both get to play the NFC West. I just love any Steeler RB in fantasy fball because you know once they get inside the 20, they're gonna run it. The big thing that Rice does have over Mendenhall is the receptions. Just would like to get your input because some guy in my league has already offered me Rice for Mendenhall straight up and I rejected it. Am I a fool?

  2. I like Rice more. As you can plainly see. The schedule is very close to the same, so just take factor three out. But I give the advantage to Rice on numbers one and two. I see the Baltimore offense being more successful than the Steelers this year, and, while Mendenhall had a more successful 2010 season, the personnel changes listed above are why I have Rice over Mendenhall this year.

    Both have the potential to be top 3 RBs, no doubt. It's anyone's guess. I just feel that Rice has the better chance this year.

  3. rice or mccoy in ppr?

  4. In a .5 ppr league I had 6th pick and had to chose between McCoy and Charles, not even thinking charles would fall to me I never thought I would be in that scenario but I actually had to think about it for a little then obviously went with charles, right choice? And this is a little off topic, but im looking for some good bench wr's to help fill in bye weeks. What do you think of Antonio Brown, he put up good numbers in both preseason games and ive heard hes also looked great at camp. Do you think that brown will make a legitimate push to be the number 2 in pitt?

  5. Either would have been good picks. McCoy is definitely a heavy hitter in PPR. But with Charles falling that low, you almost have to take him. I like your choice.

    Brown has looked good and will definitely fly under a lot of people's radar. I think he would be a good pickup. Hard to think that he will be the number two though. He should see a good amount of playing time though. Another good choice would be whoever lands the second receiver gig in Arizona.

  6. 100% agree. I didn't realize all the starts he'd made and the 0 turnovers. nice stuff.

  7. Love the pick. Actually trying to trade Jamaal Charles for this guy, but his strength of schedule according to, is really not looking good for him.

  8. You can see my reasoning in the stats that I posted. He faces a lot of bad defenses. The reason he is likely so log on fftoolbox is that he has to face Pittsburgh twice an a handful of other strong teams. But mostly its smooth sailing for him from my perspective. Besides Pittsburgh he has had no problem running on teams in the past. Just look at his game stats from last year.

  9. Should I trade shonn greene and matt forte for rice?

  10. Who are your backup RBs?

  11. They are mendi, ingram, and javon ringer.

  12. Because you have Mendenhall, I say go for it. Mendenhall and Rice would be an unbelieveable running back combo for fantasy. You'd essentially have the number three and number 5 overall picks on your team. Do it. Absolutely

  13. He went back on his offer and wanted nicks, mike williams, and owen daniels and he was still only going to consider giving Charles. Someone offered me Aaron Rodgers, Roddy White, Steven Jackson, and Ahmad Bradshaw for Big Ben, Mike Wallace, Jamaal Charles, and Matt Forte. Do I take it?

  14. I say no. The draft happens for a reason. Trading 4 guys is crazy.

  15. Say no to which one? I already said no to the nicks and charles trade because that was crazy. However, I like the other deal with Wallace and Roddy.

  16. With the 4 man trade you'd be getting an upgrade at QB, drawing about even on WR and losing ground in RBs. I'd personally say no to it. You can try to work something else out, but a 4 for 4 is rarely a good idea.

  17. In my PPR leage I am giving serious consideration to taking Ray Rice number 2.

  18. Go for it. Foster's hamstring issue is even more reason to take Rice at number 2 in PPR leagues. I recently posted the first round results of a fantasy website league that I am in and the first pick of the draft went to Rice. He's a solid option in 2011