Excuse the alliteration but I couldn't help myself. Remember Ray Rice from last year? He was the guy who supposedly would start when McGahee went down but LeRon McClain was that man down the stretch. This year though, look for Ray Rice to get most of the carries for a potentially devastating running attack.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Ray Rice has lost some weight and gained some muscle. More importantly, he is taking the majority of the first-team snaps. This tells me that the team sees him as the go-to guy and they want to see if he can handle it. Keep an eye on his performance this preseason but if he continues to impress he could be a very important asset to your team.
Last year Rice caught 33 passes which matches what McGahee and McClain did combined. With Flacco needing a guy to dump off passes to, the team will want to utilize Rice's versatility in passing situations. Joe Flacco has newly acquired TE LJ Smith to take short passes but Smith is injury prone. No one else on the team can take dump-off passes like Rice can.
I predict this backfield situation to end up like Tennessee from 2008. McClain should get a lot of goal-line carries while Rice gets the touches in between the 20's. At this juncture in time, Ray Rice has outstanding upside and he needs to be on every fantasy owner's radar for the next few weeks.
Prediction for Ray Rice in 2009:
15 games, 205 carries, 900 RuYds, 45 receptions, 350 ReYds, 7 TDs
Prediction for LeRon McClain in 2009:
14 games, 104 carries, 350 RuYds, 10 receptions, 56 ReYds, 9 TDs
Prediction for Willis McGahee in 2009:
7 games, 50 carries, 190 RuYds, 1 pulled groin, 1 poked eye and a sprained MCL