Welcome to the NFL, Eddie Lacy.
After being drafted in the late second round by the Green Bay Packers, the running back recorded 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground and is probably the front-runner for NFL Rookie of the Year. He put up 100 yards rushing on four different occasions after no Green Bay RB had accomplished the feat since 2010.
He finished sixth among all running backs in total fantasy points and was one of the best value picks in retrospect with an ADP of 42, 20th amid running backs. Lacy was eons more productive than most imagined he would be as a rookie.
Unfortunately, for all that missed the Lacy train this season, he won’t come as cheap in 2014. Lacy has firmly established himself as one of the top five fantasy running backs in the league after his breakout rookie season. Finishing with more rushing touchdowns and total points than consensus no. 1 pick Adrian Peterson will earn you that type of laud.
Looking forward, assuming he can stay away from the injury bug, Lacy can really only improve on a season that saw him finish among the league’s best. After Aaron Rodgers went down with a collarbone injury in Week 9, he was forced to carry the load for QBs Seneca Wallace, Matt Flynn and practice squad addition Scott Tolzien.
These guys weren’t just not Rodgers, they were downright awful. Still, Lacy put up serious numbers even with opposing defenses routinely stacking the box against the Pack. In Rodgers’ eight-game absence, Lacy averaged 83 yards per game on the ground and scored seven times, never experiencing the drop-off that fantasy analysts predicted after Rodgers went down.
In addition to Rodgers, Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley were both injured for the vast majority of the season, limiting a usually menacing Green Bay passing attack. Lacy was forced to respond to as much adversity as one could’ve expected during the Packers’ tumultuous 2013, and I believe it only gets better for him from here.
When healthy, the Pack have the resources to put up Denver Broncos-like numbers on offense. When you note how successful a pedestrian back like Knowshon Moreno has been in that type of high-octane offense, one can only imagine what Lacy could do in it.
Even while missing two games with a concussion early in the season, Lacy was still a borderline top-five back as a rookie. Lacy, along with the entire Green Bay offense, will be stronger in 2014, so expect to see the numbers to reflect that. Lacy will improve on both his 1,178 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, and has absolutely proved himself worthy of a first-round pick in 2014.