Schottenheimer says there is "competition" for Rams starting RB

As a rookie last season, Rams running back Zac Stacy emerged as the team's workhorse back with 249 carries in the final 12 games last year. Over that stretch, Stacy rushed for 969 yards (3.89 per carry) and seven touchdowns while adding 26 receptions for 141 yards and a score.

Rk Player G Att Yds Y/A TD
1 Zac Stacy 12 249 969 3.89 7
2 Eddie Lacy 12 246 1028 4.18 10
3 LeSean McCoy 12 236 1139 4.83 7
4 Le'Veon Bell 12 228 803 3.52 6
5 Marshawn Lynch 12 222 949 4.27 9

No running back had more carries in his team's final 12 games than Stacy had last season (see table).

Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said today, however, that there is "competition" for "who's the starter" at running back.

“Well right now, competition is for who’s the starter," Schottenheimer said, per ESPN's Nick Wagoner. "We’re just going to let them all roll and see what happens. You saw some guys that worked with the young guys today. Zac’s obviously a really, really good player, but we’re going to create competition for all the guys. That’s a long way off, but we know we have a good stable group of backs and they all have different skill sets, which we’ll try to use throughout the course of the year."

While all coaches preach competition, especially with training camp more than a month away, it would be a huge surprise if Stacy isn't the featured back in 2014. Even though I'd be surprised if Stacy repeats his average of 22.92 touches per game that he had as a starter last year, my full-season fantasy projections have him getting 313 touches (282 carries and 31 receptions) or 19.56 per game. (Only three RBs are projected for more carries and only seven RBs are projected to have more touches.)

Meanwhile, Tre Mason, the 75th overall pick in this year's draft, will more than likely serve as a change-of-pace back to Stacy with Benny Cunningham and Isaiah Pead getting a few touches as well.

In my fantasy football running back rankings, Stacy, Mason and Cunningham are my 12th-, 50th- and 88th-ranked running backs, respectively.

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