Bernard Pierce and the Importance of Vonta Leach
Though Houston only got a little better in terms of Adj RNEP/Play ranking pre- to post-Leach (18th to 14th), Baltimore got significantly better, going from the 25th ranked rushing team to the 10th. Perhaps the slight jump in Houston was due to Leach’s lack of experience, too. In 2011, when Leach joined the Ravens, he was coming off a Pro Bowl season and was clearly one of the (if not the) best fullbacks in the league. It’s clear that he was an influence on the team.
Since winning the Super Bowl in February, the Ravens have been in NFL headlines mostly for cleaning house on their roster. However in a change of pace, the Ravens just signed Vonta Leach to a two year contract after releasing him earlier in this year. In an analysis of Vonta Leach‘s impact on team’s rushing stats, J.J. Zachariason shows how Leach has vaulted teams into the top half of the NFL with his hole making abilities. Even more, guys like Steve Slayton, Ron Dayne, and Ryan Moats (remember them?) all ran behind Vonta Leach during their one-hit wonder rushing seasons. The signing is huge (no pun intended) news for the Ravens fans, but more importantly, should bring a smile to the faces of all of the running backs in Baltimore. And while this clearly solidifies Ray Rice as a top pick in all 2013 fantasy drafts, fantasy owners should be even more excited for Bernard Pierce. Check out this RotoViz profile comparing Pierce’s college rushing statistics to Adrian Peterson. Furthermore, you can check out Davis Mattek’s piece on why Pierce is an essential handicap for the 2013 season, and Charles Kleinheksel’s analysis on why Pierce is no fool’s gold.