After the St. Louis Rams drafted running back Todd Gurley in Round 1 of the 2015 NFL Draft, Zac Stacy knew he was buried on the depth chart.
After a promising rookie season of 973 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns, Stacy completely disappeared from the Rams’ offense in 2014, with 293 rushing yards and one touchdown. With Tre Mason handling the majority of the Rams’ rushing workload, and running back Benny Cunningham hauling in 352 receiving yards, Stacy would have a very hard time carving out a role for himself in 2015. With the addition of Gurley, he knew he had to leave.
Stacy was generally a third-round pick on FantasyFootballCalculator.com in 2014, and he obviously disappointed his owners. Even with a new team, he is joining another crowded backfield. What is Stacy’s outlook for the 2015 Fantasy Football season?
Zac Stacy and the New York Jets
OFFICIAL: We traded our 7th (224) to STL for RB Zac Stacy. pic.twitter.com/T2K29ivQEd
— New York Jets (@nyjets) May 2, 2015
Here is the current running back roster for the New York Jets Chris Ivory Stevan Ridley Zac Stacy Bilal Powell Daryl Richardson This is a mess in terms of Fantasy Football. Should you focus on any running back from the Jets in your 2015 Fantasy Football leagues, or is it best to just avoid the entire situation?
Jets RB depth chart: Early Down A: Chris Ivory Early Down B: Stevan Ridley Passing Down: Bilal Powell 4. Zac Stacy FB. Tommy Bohanon — Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) May 2, 2015
The new regime in New York is apparently not big fans of Ivory, so that is one of the reasons Ridley was brought into the mix. While not a superstar in the Fantasy Football world, he is a decent pick in later rounds who has averaged 826.5 rushing yards and 4.5 rushing touchdowns in the past two seasons.
Ivory just turned 27 in March, and he is set to be a free agent in 2016. While he may receive a few initial carries to start the season, I have the feeling that Ivory will be phased out of the offense.
Fumbling issues and injuries have prevented Ridley from regaining the momentum from his 2012 campaign of 1,263 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Ridley is returning from an ACL injury, however, and he wasn’t very coveted as a free agent. He also has even less of a presence in the passing game than Ivory. Ridley may only need a fresh start, but he has competition in finding a meaningful role for Fantasy Football players.
Powell was mainly used as a pass-catching back, as Ivory was used mostly for the rushing attack. It seems like it would benefit the Jets to find one back who can rush and catch passes, but the organization seems to like the committee approach. He was wildly underused, however, as he finished 2014 with 141 rushing yards and 92 receiving yards.
Richardson will have a hard time making the final roster, and shouldn’t have a Fantasy impact in 2015.
So that brings us to Mr. Stacy. He isn’t really a pass-catching back either, so his value will be limited to his rushing performances. It takes the big man a decent amount of carries to get going, and that could be a problem with the amount of backs who could potentially touch the ball.
The one advantage I find that Stacy has is the fact that he just turned 24 in April. Ivory will begin to see wear from the five seasons under his belt, and Ridley is just returning from his ACL injury.
Zac Stacy: 2015 Fantasy Football
“Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.” -Warren Buffett
I think this situation is tricky, and I can see why some Fantasy Football players would want to avoid adding running backs from the New York Jets onto their teams. Having said that, I think the Jets’ offense will continue to feature a heavy rushing attack, so its’ valuable to identify the backs who will see the most playing time.
I’m not a huge believer in handcuffing running backs, but last season, I did that with Stacy and Mason on one of my teams. I didn’t have to pay a huge price tag for Mason, and when it became evident that Stacy was not going to be a reliable option in Fantasy, Mason was able to take his spot. I spot an early-round pick on Stacy, but I wasn’t completely screwed.
Ivory is currently a seventh-round pick, while Ridley is being selected in Round 12 on FantasyFootballCalculator.com. If you plan on using the Zero RB Theory, you look for running backs in the later part of your draft, where Ivory, Ridley and Stacy are currently available. To learn more about this strategy, you can purchase my ebook, The Zero RB Theory.
One way to capitalize on the run-heavy Jets will be to draft Ivory in Round 7, and then draft Ridley in Round 12. That way, you have a good shot at owning the most relevant running back on the Jets. A second strategy would be to draft Stacy and Ridley late in the draft, and just see who gets the majority of touches. You might have to stash them on your bench for a little bit, but if you can land them in Round 12 and later, that won’t be a huge cost. I wouldn’t recommend drafting all three, as you will give up a huge amount of space on your roster to find one player who may only act as an RB3 or flex option.
For me personally, I would just draft Stacy and stash him on my bench. I just have to have the patience to realize that it may take a few games for him to find a routine, and if doesn’t have a regular role on the offense, I can drop him. If he earns a major role and ends up as a top-20 back, you look like a genius for having drafted him after Round 10. If he doesn’t do anything, it’s not like he cost you a lot to find out what he could do in 2015 Fantasy Football leagues.
While everyone else is fearful of this situation, I think it’s time to be greedy.