Ray Rice, RB

2014 Game Stats
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Most Recent News

Cowboys running backs coach calls Darren McFadden a 'big, strong, incredibly fast, tough guy'

Saturday, May 9, 2015, 10:53am

Dallas News - [Full Article]

Cowboys RB coach Gary Brown broke down the team's backfield:

Darren McFadden:

“I just admired him from afar, watching him on tape. I think he’s big, strong, incredibly fast, tough guy. He’s buying into our system. He wants to be here. He’s doing everything I ask him to do. I’m looking forward to seeing him in pads. … I’ve been out here watching him run. He looks very fast. We’re just looking forward to seeing him in pads in our system.”

Joseph Randle:

“I think Joe really has to make sure he takes care of everything on and off the field. We want to trust Joe, we like Joe, but we want to make sure he’s going to be with us at all times. I think he’s maturing up and he’s getting better and he understands the opportunity he has in front of him and I think he’ll take full advantage. I think those days are behind him and we’re looking forward to working with Joe. … Just being around him these last few weeks, he seems to be more mature to me. He and I have sat down and had one-on-one conversations about his future and I think he wants to go in the right direction.”

Lance Dunbar:

“I envision [him getting more opportunities]. I think he’s a hell of a football player, we’ve got to try and get him more involved and I think coach Linehan is going to do a great job doing that. … [He didn’t get more carries last season] because I think the run game was so explosive and DeMarco was running so well. It’s just like anything in life, you’ve got a guy who is hot, you want to ride that guy and make sure he gets his touches and I think we did the right thing by getting him his touches. Obviously with, what was it, 1,800 yards and 13, 14 touchdowns, whatever it was, I think we made the right decision.”

Brown later said he might have been premature not also mentioning Ryan Williams with that group.

Fantasy Impact:

The soon-to-be 28-year-old McFadden hasn't cracked 3.5 YPC since the 2011 season, when he ran for 614 yards on 113 carries (5.4 YPC) in seven games. That's the rub with McFadden -- fantasy owners haven't been able to count on his durability. He has missed roughly a quarter of his team's games since entering the league. Randle averaged 6.7 YPC behind the Dallas offensive line last season, but has had a host of off-the-field issues. Dunbar is more of a third down back, while Williams is a former second round pick who has been unable to stay healthy. The team has insinuated that it still may trade for a running back or sign a free agent (like Chris Johnson or perhaps Ray Rice), so the backfield is far from settled. McFadden is currently the first Dallas running back off the board in the 7th round.

Scouting Report

Ray Rice is coming off a rough year. Not only did he finish 2013 with his worst season as a pro, only 660 yards and 4 touchdowns on a paltry 3.1 yards per carry average, but he was also arrested for an assault against his then fiancée in September. We know the impact of the arrest, a 2 game suspension to start the season. What we don’t know is if that 3.1 yards per carry was an anomaly or the start of a rapid decline for one of fantasy’s most consistent producers over the previous four seasons.

Fantasy Upside
Rice has always been versatile, and even last year he wound up catching nearly 60 balls, giving him added value in PPR leagues, and helping him stay on the field during passing downs. However, Rice’s upside really lies in two things: First, the hope that last season was an anomaly and that improvements on the O-Line (most notably from newly acquired former Buccaneers Center Jeremy Zuttah) will help; and Second, the hope that new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak can breathe life into one of last season’s worst rushing attacks in the NFL. Kubiak’s Texans were a debacle last year, but they were top ten in the league in rushing from 2010 through 2012, including ranking second in the NFL in 2011. Kubiak will bring his zone-blocking scheme he learned under Mike Shanahan with him to Baltimore, a scheme notorious for being running back friendly.

Fantasy Downside
There is always the possibility that Rice is simply done. Running backs often peak and then rapidly fizzle out (i.e. Shaun Alexander, Larry Johnson), so it wouldn’t be unheard of for this to simply be all Rice has in the tank. While only 27, Rice has carried the ball nearly 1,500 times in his career. That’s an awful lot of hits for one body to take. Additionally, backup Bernard Pierce is looming, a player who struggled heavily last year, but had success the previous season. Missing the first two games of the season is also an obvious downside to his fantasy value.

Bottom Line
In all likelihood, Rice will bounce back after he serves his suspension. While he may not reach 300 carries again this year, he will still carry the load on what will ultimately be an improved offense this year. Carries and opportunity often mean great things for running backs. Rice has too many red flags to be considered a high draft choice, but for the right value, he could be a sneaky good RB2 or RB3 who still has RB1 upside.

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