Along with the Cowboys, Baltimore will have the most potent and evenly distributed three-pronged rushing attack in the NFL this season. They are also likely the once again lead the NFL in rush attempts, which means even with a crowded backfield there could be fantasy value from multiple backs.
The veteran of the group is Willis McGahee. At 27 years old he could still have some good years left, but he is a holdover from the previous coaching regime which means there may not be much loyalty from the front office; rumors over the off-season said if it were not for the huge cap-penalty McGahee might have been released. His career average of just 3.9 yards per carry and pedestrian receiving skills may put him on the back burner.
In just his second year in the league bruising fullback Le'Ron McClain burst onto the scene, totaling over 1,000 yards and 11 scores. The loss of Lorenzo Neal and his all-time great blocking ability hurts McClain more than the other backs because he will be asked to block much more often than a year ago. However, from a fantasy perspective McClain's numbers are the easiest to project because at 260 pounds he is assured short-yardage duties and the 10+ touchdowns that will result.
As far as potential goes, second-year man Ray Rice leads the group. He is entrenched as the receiving threat and his speed gives him greater potential for big plays than his counterparts. His workload should increase as the season progresses and, if he becomes the true feature-back, fantasy owners that grab him at his current ADP of 79 will have a nice bargain.
With a reduced role as a ball-carrier, McClain projects to around 600 rushing yards to go with his double-digit touchdowns. The remaining balance of rushing yardage will depend of the preseason performances of Rice and McGahee. My feeling is that the coaching staff will give the younger and more skilled Rice every oppurtunity to seize the most playing time, but watch McGahee closely. If they split time evenly neither has much fantasy value, but if Rice breaks-out he and McClain could produce Chris Johnson/LenDale White-type numbers.