There was worry about the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the Rams’ backfield before the season started, and I did my best to read the tea leaves and make sense of things. Rumor around camp was that Zac Stacy (physically, a veritable Ray Rice clone) was excelling in close quarters and was in line for goal line work. Now it seems that he’s wrested the starting gig from Daryl Richardson, completely leaving Isaiah Pead and Benny Cunningham in the dust.
While every starting running back in the NFL automatically merits fantasy roster consideration by virtue of their workload, should Zac Stacy be on your radar? The only logical way to make this determination is obviously to see how he stacks up to the original Zack Attack lead singer and star of Saved by the Bell, Zack Morris.
From his business selling “Buddy Bands”, which were nothing more than friendship bracelets, to the creation of his “Zit-Off” zit cream, Zack Morris was always scheming and finding a way to get ahead and get his hustle on. Sure, the zit cream may result in facial discoloration that will make you look like a racist wearing blackface, but hey, that’s the cost of doing business, right?
Zac Stacy entered the season as many fantasy owner's third-favorite Rams running back, and now finds himself in the driver’s seat. No one is saying he was scheming behind the scenes to leapfrog Richardson and Pead, but who knows… While Zack Morris was good at building get rich quick businesses, Zac Stacy is taking the smarter route of playing well and shooting for that starting running back money. A slow play perhaps, but a solid plan nonetheless.
Advantage: Zac Stacy
Breaking Down Barriers
Zack Morris never shied away from breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly with the audience. Whether he was introducing a new episode or taking a “Time Out” to break down a situation, he was never afraid to keep it real and eschew the standard rules of sitcoms.
Stacy doesn’t do much speaking, but he definitely lets his feet do all of the talking. His average of 4.9 yards per rush attempt puts him well ahead of his teammates, none of which surpass 3.0 yards per rush:
|Player||Rush Attempts||Rush Yards||Yards/Rush||Touchdowns|
Looking at the numbers, it may be hard to determine whether this is more of a case of a spork being the best fork in a drawer full of spoons. One look at the touchdowns column will tell you all you need to know about the ability of the St. Louis running game to break through that goal line wall thus far. At only 33 rushing attempts so far, this may just be an artifact of his limited opportunities, but that remains to be seen.
Advantage: Zack Morris
Net Expected Points
Zack Morris participated in basketball, cross-country, and track, but was largely in the shadow of one A.C. Slater when it comes to athletic prowess at Bayside High. No one bothered to analyze his play and calculate meaningful statistics, but it’s pretty safe to say that his blonde pompadour had no business underneath a football helmet.
On the other hand, Zac Stacy’s true promise as a rising running back star is revealed as we peer into the numbers that he’s put up so far this year. In comparing his 2013 NEP ranks to other running backs with at least 20 carries up to this point, he not only blows away his only teammate with more than 20 carries in Daryl Richardson, but he actually is among the best in all of the league!
|Player||NEP||NEP Rank||NEP/Play||NEP/Play Rank|
|Zac Stacy||3.37||12th of 60||0.10||9th of 60|
|Daryl Richardson||-10.19||48th of 60||-0.18||51st of 60|
Advantage: Zac Stacy
And the Verdict is…
Zac Stacy definitely stacks up to the great Zack Morris and the numbers suggest that he should definitely be on your fantasy radar beyond the default of being the starting running back of an NFL team. He may not be able to stop time and he may not be a small business aficionado, but Zac Stacy definitely shows up where it counts on the football field and should hold onto the starting job in St. Louis for the foreseeable future.
The touchdowns may not yet be there, but it’s probably a good idea to play the numbers game and assume that as his carries increase and his redzone attempts increase, so will his touchdown totals. After all, the concern at the beginning of the season was that Stacy would vulture scores from Richardson, so it seems a safe bet that Stacy will stay on the field to reap the fruits of his labor. Here’s hoping that things end better for Stacy than they did for Morris, which should be a certainty given the very low likelihood of something called “St. Louis Rams: The College Years”.