One theme for the 2017 Fantasy Football season that the staff at the So-Called Fantasy Experts agrees on is that running back depth is extremely shallow this year. After the first five backs are drafted, it turns into a scramble with a lot of reaching for players you normally wouldn’t draft so early.
For example, Adrian Peterson is being drafted in Round 4 despite the fact that he’s a 32-year old back in a timeshare with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. That doesn’t seem like an ideal situation for Fantasy success.
But again, this is going to be a difficult season to find a consistent starter at running back for your team. You might just have to roll the dice more than normal.
And that leads us to Eddie Lacy.
Eddie Lacy’s Fantasy Football Value
Even with just a total of three rushing touchdowns in the past two seasons, most Fantasy players are still willing to draft him in Round 5. Some will argue he’s a steal in that round. After all, he scored 24 total touchdowns in his first two seasons with the Green Bay Packers and rushed for 2,317 yards during that same time frame.
Fantasy players are hoping head coach Pete Carroll puts a renewed focus on the ground game, allowing Lacy to be the workhorse.
But other players will point to Lacy’s weight issues, his ineffectiveness over the past two seasons, and the running back committee he may be stuck in as reasons to avoid drafting the 27-year old back.
So how can you judge his Fantasy Football value in 2017?
Whenever I make a decision about whether to draft a player, I look at three things:
- The current situation
- The future situation
- Opportunity costs
This sounds overly simplified, but this formula to judge players has helped me finish in the Top 2 in my Scout Online Championship leagues in two out of the last three seasons.
Let’s start with his current situation…
Eddie Lacy’s Current Fantasy Football Situation
As I mentioned earlier, Lacy has disappointed Fantasy owners over the last two seasons. However, he’s still being drafted in Round 5 because of what he did earlier in his career.
|Year||Games Played In||Rushing Yards||Receiving Yards||Total TDs|
Now, some of his ineffectiveness and injuries have been attributed to weight issues. He reportedly weighed nearly 270 pounds at one of his visits during free agency. In his draft profile, he was listed as 231 pounds.
As part of his contract with Seattle, Lacy has an incentive to reach a playing weight of 245 pounds.
According to ESPN, Lacy has seven weigh-ins and can earn $55,000 each time he reaches a certain target. On May 15, Lacy reached the team’s target when he weighed in at under 255 pounds. On June 12, he also reached another target when he weighed in at under 250 pounds.
If weight was the biggest reason Lacy’s Fantasy production declined, then his potential standalone Fantasy value is better than what it was in 2015 or 2016.
But that’s just the first piece of the puzzle…
Eddie Lacy’s Future Fantasy Football Situation in Seattle
According to Pro Football Focus, the offensive line for the Seahawks ranked last in the league in 2015 and 2016. The good news is that this line has nowhere to go but up. The bad news for the 27-year old back is he will be running behind a weaker offensive line than he did in Green Bay. The offensive line for the Packers ranked fifth in 2016 and third in 2015.
Aside from the line, Lacy’s value will also depend on if and how long he’s stuck in a committee.
What I found interesting was a June 15 The News Tribune report stated Lacy was on track to “share the lead running back role” with Thomas Rawls. With the lead running back role in 2014, Lynch averaged 17.5 carries per game. If the Seahawks bump up that total to 20 carries per game, that would mean Lacy and Rawls could average 10 carries per game if it was split evenly down the middle.
That’s not enough work for most backs to be Fantasy relevant.
However, there could be even fewer touches than that because second-year back C.J. Prosise is also going to be in the mix if he’s healthy. In just six games last year, he recorded an average of 5.7 yards per carry and hauled in 208 receiving yards. He averaged 34.7 receiving yards per game, which would have put him on track for 555 receiving yards if he had played a 16-game season.
He will cut into Lacy’s PPR value, but he can’t just be on the field to catch passes. Even if he only has three or four carries per game, that’s still three or four carries Lacy could have used to get his owners more Fantasy points.
And I also want Fantasy players to keep in mind that this may just be a giant competition to see who could be the real lead back. Rawls is only 23, so if he can win the starting job, that’s great for the long-term prospects of the organization. Lacy wouldn’t have been a wasted addition to the team because Seattle will know if they have what they need to win another championship.
If Lacy becomes the clear-cut starter, the organization could ride him to a 2017 Super Bowl and decide what to do with him from there. And if either player becomes hurt or is ineffective, the Seahawks will have a better idea if Prosise is just a pass-catching back or if he could be an every-down back.
I don’t like Lacy’s future prospects. He will be stuck in a timeshare early, and he will have to have an incredible season to become the main back.
But we need to take this a step further and look at the other players being drafted around the same time as Lacy to judge if has more upside than your other options…
What You’re Missing If You Draft Eddie Lacy in 2017 Fantasy Football Leagues
An opportunity cost is a potential gain you could be missing out on by making a certain decision. For example, drafting Aaron Rodgers in Round 3 is an opportunity cost. You may feel that drafting Rodgers will give you such an edge that he’s worth drafting over running backs and wide receivers in that round.
For PPR leagues, the opportunity cost of drafting Lacy at 5.03 is missing out on wide receivers with upside. For example, Martavis Bryant is being drafted at the start of Round 5. He’s risky, and that’s a discussion for another day. But if I’m willing to take a chance, I’d rather own Bryant than Lacy in PPR leagues.
He scored 14 touchdowns in just 21 games, and Bryant had five 100-yard performances in those 21 games. If I’m going for safety, I would rather draft Julian Edelman in a PPR draft over Lacy. Some players are worried the addition of Brandin Cooks and a healthy Rob Gronkowski will decrease Edelman’s 2017 Fantasy value.
Players are also worried about drafting Edelman because he only hauled in three touchdowns in 2017. But despite the concerns, the 31-year old receiver is still worth drafting in Round 5. Even though he’s 5-foot-10, Edelman is still one of Tom Brady’s favorite red-zone targets.
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In 2017, Edelman led the Patriots with 15 targets. Even though he only played in nine games in 2015, he still finished with 17 red-zone targets, the second-most targets on the team. And in 2014, Edelman once again finished with the most red-zone targets (22) for New England.
Even if he does record fewer receptions because of Cooks and Gronk, he has enough red-zone targets to compensate for a loss in receptions if he can convert more of his red-zone targets into touchdowns. And if he still catches over 90 passes like he did last season and increases his touchdown totals, he could be a Top 15 receiver.
Edelman was the 19th-highest scoring receiver in PPR leagues last year with 198.6 Fantasy points. If he had caught just three more touchdowns, he would have been a Top 15 receiver in 2016.
For the backs being drafted near Lacy, they have similar upside and downside. C.J. Anderson is in a crowded backfield and has dealt with injuries and ineffectiveness, and Mike Gillislee is in a very crowded backfield. But if you’re going to draft a back in Round 5, I like Ameer Abdullah.
Abullah has struggled with injuries in the past two seasons, but this could be the year that he becomes worth starting in your Fantasy league. He’s receiving rave reviews right now, and he has much more upside in PPR leagues than Lacy, even with Theo Riddick still on the roster.
Riddick posted a 5-63-1 stat line in Week 1 last year, but Abdullah still had plenty of work as a receiver with a 5-57-1 stat line. He also added 63 rushing yards to his totals, while Riddick rushed for 45 yards. Even with the split, Abdullah still scored 23 Fantasy points in PPR leagues.
Yes, I know that this is still a committee like in Seattle. However, Abdullah and Riddick have shown an early example of how they each could be Fantasy relevant. We have no idea if the same thing will happen for Lacy, Rawls, and Prosise.
Lacy is reaching his weight targets, which could help increase his Fantasy production. But because of the crowded backfield and the weakness of the offensive line, the risk in drafting Lacy outweighs any potential reward. I would only consider adding him in Round 7 or later. If you really want Lacy, I would make sure to handcuff him with Rawls to hedge your bet. However, the best strategy for less risk and more reward is to draft Rawls in Round 9.
If he becomes the starter, you landed a starting running at a cheaper price tag. If he’s stuck in a committee or Lacy becomes the workhorse, you drafted him so late that it shouldn’t make or break your season. You have to take some risks in your draft, but you have to know what risks are worth taking. Drafting Lacy is not worth rolling the dice on in 2017 Fantasy Football drafts.
If you want to see more on the Eddie Lacy debate, make sure to check out the video below. And if you want to see my Fantasy breakdowns for each team, make sure to check out my newest ebook.
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