The Baltimore Ravens got great news today, as the NFL handed down a relatively minor two-game suspension to running back Ray Rice for beating his wife. Rice was expected to get a suspension more in the four-to-six game area, which had previously prompted fantasy football experts to drop him down their rankings for 2014.
Bernard Pierce became a hot commodity as Rice’s early season replacement, while Rice’s fantasy value took a staggering dive into round six of drafts, if not later. With just two missed games to start the season, though, a reportedly trimmed down and “lighter on his feet” Rice is shaping up as one of the better value bargain buys of fantasy drafts. Obviously him skating by with a short suspension is a joke in regards to how the league punishes offences, but for fantasy football, the news couldn’t have been better.
While Rice experienced a pretty sharp drop-off in fantasy production a year ago, it was pretty safe to say no one in Baltimore looked or played good in 2013. With a hopefully revived offense around him and Rice potentially healthier and in much better shape than he was a year ago, the 27-year old could easily experience a big bounce-back season.
He’s still a highly versatile weapon and is technically still very much in his prime, so there’s a chance he could really shock people with a big year. He could also blow up in everyone’s face, but at his current ADP, he’s worth the risk. That ADP should steadily climb now, but two missed games is still two missed games. Look for Rice’s average position in drafts to still remain outside of round three, if not in round four or five still. People still don’t trust him after the egg he laid a year ago (3.1 yards per carry).