Since Week 6, St. Louis Rams rookie Zac Stacy has been a top-5 rusher among running backs. This once backup running back has also been a top-10 fantasy running back in that same time. And yet, paradoxically, his outlook for the fantasy playoffs is poor.
It was not until Week 6 did the Rams move Stacy from the pine to the field as their starting running back. Since then, he has exceeded all reasonable expectations, and has entrenched himself atop the Rams’ depth chart
For the season, Stacy has rushed 141 times for 627 yards and four touchdowns. He has also racked up 16 receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown.
Even more impressive, since becoming the feature back for St. Louis in Week 6, Stacy has rushed for 545 yards on 126 carries. Only three running backs have rushed for more since that time: Alfred Morris (674 yards), Eddie Lacy (656 yards) and Adrian Peterson (576 yards).
From the fantasy football perspective, Stacy has been the seventh-highest scoring running back since Week 6 with 95.2 standard-scoring points. Even more impressive, Stacy has scored double-digit fantasy points in his previous five games. He is not only a high-scoring fantasy running back, but he is also a very consistent one.
Unfortunately for Stacy, he was pulled from Week 12’s game due to concussion-like symptoms and was later officially diagnosed with a concussion. His status for Week 13’s game is still questionable at this time.
Nevertheless, Stacy will almost certainly be back playing during the standard fantasy football playoff weeks (Week 14-17). However, his matchups look grim.
The Rams’ final four games of the season are against teams in the top half of the league for rushing defense in yards allowed per game: at Arizona (2nd), New Orleans (15th), Tampa Bay (9th) and at Seattle (16th).
What’s even more unappealing about Stacy’s final four opponents are their rankings for fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs per game. Three of the defenses are in the top-eight stingiest: Arizona (1st), Tampa Bay (7th) and Seattle (8th).
On another note, following this most recent concussion, Stacy is also at a higher risk of suffering another one this season. The research has shown that the more recent a player has had a concussion, the higher his chance of recurrence.
Due to his unfavorable upcoming schedule and increased risk for getting another concussion, Stacy’s outlook for the fantasy playoffs is poor. Running backs with better fantasy value for the final four NFL regular season games can be found here.
All aforementioned statistics are courtesy of Pro Football Focus (subscription required) and ESPN.com’s fantasy football statistics.