Took some fantasy football questions from the Twitterverse....
I'm not saying Eddie Lacy will suffer a sophomore slump or anything, but I'd think last year sets a fine precedent even if he hovers in place, don't you think? A full season of Aaron Rodgers would help, despite fleeting concerns about how he'll steal one or two rushing touchdowns.
Lacy great holding the leather
The 24-year-old shifty bruiser takes the baton from a franchise, elite quarterback and chews up yardage behind a capable, if not top-shelf, line. Heck, Mike McCarthy and company revamped their blocking specifically for Lacy last season. He's also poised for three-down work. Catching something near the 35 passes he corralled last year would keep him in the top-10 running back camp.
I see better than that, frankly. Lacy went nuts, overall, when Rodgers was hurt, with 4.4 yards per carry, 21 receptions and seven scores from Weeks 9 through 16. (I'm counting Week 9 because Rodgers left early in that affair after only attempting two passes.) He was somewhat worse in the eight games before that with a 4.0 rushing average and three scores, but I'll chalk that up to rookie woes and an offensive line trying to adapt to a new scheme.
All in all, I'd take Lacy as a top-five fantasy selection, probably as the fourth back behind LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles and Adrian Peterson. And that's settling for basically a repeat of last season, give or take a touchdown or two.
I'll have a more voluminous article coming out on this next week, but I'll tease you with three of my favorites:
- RB Toby Gerhart, Jacksonville Jaguars: Majority workload, revamped offensive line, plenty of reasons to avoid the QB position, which will do just enough to keep defenses guessing.
- QB Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: Any modicum of improvement on the offensive line and the arrival of Bill Lazor, a Chip Kelly disciple, will make the most of this vertical game. Mike Wallace will finally be used properly, and Tannehill, in his third year, is poised to take a big step forward. He's a backup I'm targeting nearly everywhere.
- WR Rueben Randle, New York Giants: I dig the new offense, via Ben McAdoo of Green Bay Packers descent. Randle could be like James Jones, except much more consistent. Eli Manning gravitated toward him, especially in the red zone, as 2013 wore on.
Understandably, this could change if the early positive physical signs continue through August. Of course, if that happens, his price will skyrocket. I still see a big gap between Jimmy Graham and the field, but I'd be more inclined to take peg Julius Thomas as the second tight end, thanks to the departure of Eric Decker.
Vernon Davis and Jason Witten, as of now, are my Nos. 3 and 4 at the position. Gronk is fifth with the potential to move up.
Many factors go into determining the proper place for him. Does your lineup only require two RB and WR or not have a flex? This places more value in grabbing a noteworthy TE. Some scoring systems even increase the value of TE receptions.
Right now, I can't see myself considering him before Round 4 in most games. There are plenty of breakthrough candidates at the position (Kyle Rudolph, Zach Ertz among them) that can be had for a much cheaper investment. I for one tend to play matchups with midrange options; I don't like such a huge investment for a position whose replacement value for the top tier hardly would cover a loss to injury. And we know Gronk's medical history is quite long.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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