McGahee release would add to Rice’s value

There’s a lot of uncertainty around the National Football League these days, but there’s still some stories emerging that have fantasy relevance. One of those stories is the imminent release of Willis McGahee.

The veteran out of Miami is due $6 million in 2011, which is a bit steep for a backup running back. NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reports that McGahee is not inclined to take less than that salary to remain behind Ray Rice on the Ravens depth chart, so a separation between the two sides looks likely after March 3.

That’s good news for the value of Rice.

The Rutgers product finished the 2010 campaign with a career-high 307 carries, though he did experience declines in most other statistical categories compared to the previous year’s totals. Still, the departure of McGahee will mean more goal-line work for Rice. That would clearly make him a more valuable fantasy option.

Of course, the Ravens will need to make a move to give Rice some help in the backfield. With fullback Le’Ron McClain scheduled to become a free agent, La Canfora believes little-known Jalen Parmele could see a larger role in the offense if McClain doesn’t return to the team.

“They’ll have someone like Parmele get carries,” La Canfora said. “The Ravens could draft a running back or make a play for a free agent as well, but they like Parmele. I can tell you that.”

Regardless of the scenario, it looks like Rice will be the Ravens’ bell cow in 2011.

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