Fantasy Dilemma: Rams RB’s
Most NFL teams have at least one fantasy relevant running back. Sometimes they can even have multiple running backs that can help out fantasy owners. This past off season there was a lot of hype surrounding the St. Louis Rams running backs. With three potential fantasy relevant running backs, and a roster bubble sleeper back, fantasy owners were primed to get some late round steals in their drafts. However, through seven weeks of NFL action, one stat stands to prove everyone wrong: the Rams are the only team in the league without a rushing touchdown.
Coming into the season, each fantasy owner seemed to have a favorite of the four St. Louis backs. In 2012 Daryl Richardson was a bit of a surprise, beating out fellow rookie Isaiah Pead for playing time. Many had Richardson pegged to take over the starting role for the Rams, while others still had hope for Pead despite him missing the first week due to suspension for substance abuse. Then you had everyone in the Zac Stacy camp. The Vanderbilt alum really built up buzz during the pre-draft process. When the Rams drafted him in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, many thought he would be the starter. Then there was chatter, mainly in dynasty circles, of the preseason dark horse Benny Cunningham. Some thought Cunningham would even leapfrog the other three backs.
The Rams offense hasn’t been completely terrible; Sam Bradford has been spreading the ball around amongst the receivers and tight ends, but for some reason the running backs just can’t get going this year. To be blunt, it has been atrocious. As stated before, the Rams are the only team without a rushing touchdown, and have a total of 457 total rushing yards among all four running backs. Stacy currently leads the Rams with 214 rushing yards, while Richardson is the leading receiver among running backs with 13 receptions for 113 yards. To put in perspective of how bleak the production has been for them, Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy surpassed both Stacy’s rushing total and Richardson’s receiving numbers in the first two games of the 2013 season.
To make matters worse, franchise quarterback Sam Bradford is now out for the season due to injury. The Rams will be forced to trot out Kellen Clemens, Brady Quinn, or Austin Davis. I think this means teams will now stack the line and dare the Rams to throw the ball. While this initially sounds bad for the running backs, I think there is a small silver lining. This will really test the running backs and force them to step their game up. Hopefully this will prove who is for real and who is not once and for all among these four. While I’m sure the other three running backs will see some playing time, right now it looks like Zac Stacy will get the majority of the workload. Stacy is a flex play at best, however this is his chance to leapfrog the other backs on the roster and cement himself as the guy for the organization. If he proves he can handle the increased playing time and be productive, we could be looking at a future starting running back for many fantasy teams in 2014.