2014 Fantasy Football Keeper Profile: Johnathan Franklin
The Green Bay Packers refurbished their running back depth chart during the 2013 NFL Draft, using two of their first five selections on Eddie Lacy (second round-61st overall) and Johnathan Franklin (fourth round-125th overall). Lacy is an Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate after finishing the regular season with 284 carries for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Franklin had just 19 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown in 11 games played before missing essentially the final six games due to a concussion.
Lacy looks like a legitimate top-tier running back for fantasy football owners for many years to come, but does Franklin have some value going forward as well?
Lacy missed a game in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals with a concussion of his own and James Starks went down with a knee injury during the game, which gave Franklin an opportunity to shine and he made the most of it with 13 carries for 103 yards and touchdown along with three catches for 23 yards. But that would prove to be by far Franklin’s most extensive action of the season, and his offensive role diminished completely by the time he was injured on the opening kickoff against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12.
Lacy has been bothered by an ankle injury late in the season, so he may carry some durability concerns with him into his second season, however minimal. Starks is headed for free agency this offseason, and it’s far from certain he’ll be back with the Packers next year if another team can offer the potential of more playing time. So Franklin has a good chance to move up the depth chart and become Lacy’s primary backup, and that could equal a more consistent role in 2014.
Lacy would have to miss multiple games for Franklin to have much value in the majority of fantasy leagues next year, but he has solid upside as a roster stash in deep dynasty leagues until further notice.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.