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Ravens high on Bernard Pierce, emerging as elite backup in fantasy

It's probably a good idea to draft Bernard Pierce - USA TODAY Sports

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that the Ravens "love" Bernard Pierce and could use Ray Rice at receiver. Fantasy owners may want to take notice.

The Ravens "love" running back Bernard Pierce and have been shifting Ray Rice to wide receiver, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen on NFL Insiders. Pierce has been turning heads throughout training camp and is locked in as Ray Rice's backup.

Pierce's snaps and touches were on the rise last year and he averaged 10 touches per game in the postseason even with the offense healthy. During the season, he had a sterling 4.9 yards per carry and finished 2012 with 532 rushing yards and one TD.

Fantasy impact: While Rice getting snaps at receiver does help his already elite PPR value since he ranked second among running backs in receptions, the big story here is Pierce. The Ravens are running out of offensive weapons with Dennis Pitta out for the year, Ed Dickson dealing with a hamstring tear and Anquan Boldin heading to San Francisco, so they're looking to address this by spreading out their strength at back to other areas. The second-year back would also become a top-10 back should Rice miss time. Pierce ranks in the top 30 for PPR and standard leagues in our running back rankings, which will be released Thursday morning.

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