The NFL Draft starts Thursday, and there is plenty of buzz leading up to the event, especially with the two trades at the top of the first round. The Rams, Eagles, Titans and Browns have made the pre-draft hype interesting and put the spotlight even more on quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz.
We'll break down what happens with the draft next week so we can get you ready for the upcoming season -- and Fantasy drafts. But another trending topic should be interesting to Fantasy owners, and that's Eddie Lacy finally getting into shape.
Following the season, Packers coach Mike McCarthy called out Lacy and said "he cannot play at the weight he played at" in 2015, and reports are he weighed in the 260s despite being listed at 234. Instead of sulking, Lacy started working out with P90X founder Tony Horton, and the results have been impressive.
A recent report from ESPN said Lacy has already lost between 15-18 pounds, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Lacy "looked good" at the start of Green Bay's offseason program. McCarthy told Lacy to lose 30 pounds, so he's already on his way.
Last year was the worst year of Lacy's career when he had career lows in carries (187), rushing yards (758), rushing touchdowns (three), receptions (20) and receiving yards (188). He shared playing time with James Starks, and Lacy was among the biggest busts in 2015.
But in each of his first three seasons, we saw Lacy gain at least 1,400 total yards each year with at least 11 touchdowns. He has never been in great shape, as we're all aware, but he was at least productive at a high level when his conditioning wasn't out of control as it appeared in 2015.
Lacy should be considered a great bounce-back candidate this season, and he should be available to you in Round 3 in the majority of leagues. That's tremendous value for a running back who could gain 1,400 total yards and score 11 touchdowns in a potent offense. Let's just hope Lacy stays on his current conditioning program and proves to McCarthy -- and Fantasy owners -- that he's ready to go this season.
As for this week's #fantasymail, let's get to it (and check the video above if your question made it there). Remember, you can send in your offseason questions to me on Twitter @jameyeisenberg and on my Facebook page. Just please use that hashtag.
This week, we'll cover the following topics:
- Expectations for Jeremy Hill in 2016
- Is Eric Ebron better than Gary Barnidge?
- Can you draft the entire Packers offense?
- Thomas Rawls vs. Keenan Allen in PPR
- Matt Jones vs. Duke Johnson vs. Buck Allen in PPR
- Keeper decision: Andrew Luck vs. Mark Ingram
From Twitter ...
Like Lacy, Hill was considered a bust in 2015 when he had 223 carries for 794 yards and 11 touchdowns and 15 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. If he didn't score, you were in trouble because he had no games with 100 rushing yards and just two above 63 yards. But he did manage seven games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league, and hopefully he runs like he did in 2014 when he had 222 carries for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns. The good thing for Hill is he will continue to work at the goal line, so double digits in touchdowns is a strong possibility. And if he can get back to being a 1,000-yard rusher, he'll be a great value pick in Round 4 or 5 in the majority of leagues. He'll still share touches with Giovani Bernard, but you have to like a running back who should get around 240 total touches, which Hill has done each of the past two seasons. I'll still buy Hill at the right price on Draft Day this season.
I have Ebron listed as a sleeper, and Barnidge is listed as a bust in my first version of each column. But you have to put each guy in perspective. I agree with everything you said about Barnidge's quarterback situation being a concern, especially if Robert Griffin III wins the job since he has a terrible history of leaning on his tight ends. Things would change if Josh McCown is the starter because that's who Barnidge had his most success with in 2015, but it would be a surprise if McCown wins the job. As for Ebron, the talent is there, and now the role should be as well with Calvin Johnson retired, but he still has to prove himself after two shaky seasons in the NFL. What I would do is pass on Barnidge, who will likely be drafted with a mid-round pick, and then draft Ebron with a late-round selection. If Ebron stinks, you just start streaming the position, but hopefully this is the year he puts it all together.
Based on your Twitter handle, I'm guessing there's some bias here with the team you root for, but I love this discussion of hitching your wagon to one team. It could work in certain circumstances, like the Cardinals last year with Carson Palmer, David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Michael Floyd. Or the Broncos in 2013 with Peyton Manning, Knowshon Moreno, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Julius Thomas. There are plenty of other positive examples we can list, but the Packers last year gave you an example of when this fails, depending on when you drafted, given Jordy Nelson's ACL injury. Without him, Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb were mediocre, and we know what happened with Lacy. If you wanted to do it this season, you could draft Nelson in Round 1, Rodgers in Round 2, Lacy in Round 3 and Cobb in Round 4. I'm not sure Jared Cook is the answer at tight end, but I can see that foursome being great if everyone is healthy. It's just a risky strategy when there's a key injury involved.
You sent me two questions, with one just about Allen's outlook for this season. I'm expecting a big year for him, and all the reports are he should be 100 percent recovered from last year's kidney injury. Prior to getting hurt, Allen was on his way toward a monster campaign of 134 catches for 1,450 yards and eight touchdowns if you project his stats over 16 games. That said, I would keep Jeffery and Rawls over him unless the Seahawks add another running back in the NFL Draft. Jeffery has a higher ceiling than Allen coming into the year, and Rawls has the chance to be a No. 1 Fantasy running back as the starter for Seattle. You can definitely go with Jeffery and Allen to lock up your receiving corps, and then go heavy on running back in the draft, but I think Allen is a close third of this trio.
David Johnson is the best player here, so he's an easy keeper choice. And I would lean toward Doug Baldwin as the second option with the hope he plays like he did in last year's breakout campaign. The third choice is tough without knowing what the Redskins will do in the NFL Draft, but if Jones is the starter, I would keep him. Allen is also an option, but it appears like the Ravens will use him in tandem with Justin Forsett. If Allen were named the starter in Baltimore, then I would take him over Jones, but we won't know that until training camp.
From Facebook ...
Joe Capalbo wants to know: Keeper problems, no fancy rules, just straight keeper. 10 team league. Ingram or Luck or Wilson? #fantasymail
If you only have one choice here, I'm going with Ingram over Luck and Russell Wilson. While those are two of the best quarterbacks coming into the season, Ingram can still be a No. 1 Fantasy running back this year for the Saints. He was having a tremendous season in 2015 before a shoulder injury ended his year in Week 13. He finished with 166 carries for 769 yards and six touchdowns and 50 catches for 405 yards. Before getting hurt, he had double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in seven of 12 games and had fewer than nine points just once. I can find a quarterback in a 10-team league, but Ingram is the better option based on the position he plays.