Sneaky pickups entering Week 11
The Baltimore Ravens are clearly having trouble running the football, so it might seem odd to recommend any of their running backs at this point. Starter Ray Rice is averaging 2.5 yards per carry, and backup Bernard Pierce is at 2.8 yards per rush, and only two teams have fewer rushing yards (the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons). Fantasy owners are mighty displeased with Rice, as the consensus top-5 pick entered Week 11 ranked in a tie for 47th in standard running back scoring, with fewer points than Jason Snelling and Chris Ogbonnaya. He's no longer even a realistic RB2 option, let alone top-10 choice. So, what does this have to do with our weekly Friday look at sneaky fantasy pickups?
Well, Rice is showing little sign of improvement, and coach John Harbaugh seems to have finally acknowledged this fact, proclaiming this week that the running back who will play for him is the one playing better. That at least opens the door for Pierce, who looked pretty good in limited Week 10 work when he carried eight times for 31 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals. He still has a mere 12 standard fantasy points over six games, but Rice has been getting most of the touches and hasn't topped six fantasy points or 45 rushing yards since Week 5. It's painful but wise to sit Rice in a fantasy league. The fact he averaged 1,266 rushing yards -- and another 610 receiving -- the past four seasons is irrelevant today, as he's on pace for a mere 800 total yards. The point here is that if Rice and Pierce are seen as competing for touches, and one of these players is owned in roughly half of ESPN's standard leagues, then there's the value.