Daryl Richardson made headlines earlier in the week by tweeting that he wouldn’t start in Week 5. Now, Zac Stacy will try to earn headlines himself, though for quite a different reason, after reports surfaced that he’s being given the start for the St. Louis Rams against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
From Ian Rapoport of NFL.com:
Sources tell me #Rams will give RB Zac Stacy first crack at starting today. Tried to pick him up in my league. Someone already had him.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2013
Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union verified the report:
Zac Stacy starting at RB for #Rams so Jax native/Sandlewood HS’ Daryl Richardson is now a back-up.
— Ryan O’Halloran (@ryanohalloran) October 6, 2013
You can’t blame Rapoport for trying to add Stacy in his fantasy league. The Jaguars have leaked points against the position in fantasy football, allowing 17.5 points to opposing running backs per week in standard-scoring leagues (23rd in the NFL) and 165 rushing yards per game (worst in the NFL).
So in the short term, that makes Stacy a risky flex option in deeper leagues and a viable option for owners desperate at the running back position. But until we see how Stacy is utilized against the Jaguars—and how he performs after being given the nod at starter—it will remain difficult to project his future value.
Behind Stacy and Richardson, the team also has Benny Cunningham and Isaiah Pead, making the Rams’ backfield a muddled mess. While none of these players seems like a top-notch option for fantasy owners, at the moment Stacy now seems like the player to own.
If Stacy receives the bulk of the carries and looks good, he needs to be rostered across the board. This backfield is screaming for someone to seize the starting gig, and it may only take one decent game for a player to do so.
If Stacy ends up in a timeshare with Cunningham or Richardson but receives the higher number of carries and looks better in the process, I also think he’s worth adding next week.
But here’s where it gets tricky. Let’s say he ends up sharing time with Pead in this game, with both players receiving a relatively even amount of snaps and touches. Pead was a second-round pick and is seemingly the more explosive talent, meaning in that case, you’d probably want to stash Pead over Stacy.
And if three or four running backs pretty evenly split the work against the Jaguars, you’ll want to go ahead and avoid all of them.
Also, keep your expectations realistic with Stacy this week or whichever (if any) of these running backs seizes the starting gig. The Rams are averaging a paltry 47.3 rushing yards per game, worst in the NFL.
It’s hard to imagine any of these players suddenly turning into a midseason version of Peyton Hillis from the 2010 season.
But if you are desperate for a running back or flex this week and can add Stacy, he has just enough upside to be worth a gamble. And if nothing else, he now is being given a chance to earn himself the bulk of the carries in this offense, so stashing him could be productive down the road.
After the game against the Jaguars, we’ll have a better idea of where this Rams’ backfield stands.
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