The Seahawks went from BeastMode to FeastMode with the signing of Eddie Lacy. With a one-year, $5.5 million deal with three million guaranteed, that’s a healthy contract for a running back in today’s NFL. What isn’t healthy is the weight Lacy is supposedly at this offseason (267 pounds). The way I look at it, it is never good if you have a bonus in your contract just for losing weight. That being said the Seahawks want Lacy to be big around 240 pounds, yet nimble on his feet. So the question is: Do you have faith that he will lose the weight and be a reliable fantasy running back again?
— Mitchell Renz (@MitchellRenz365) April 11, 2017
As you can see the results vary, but there is less optimism for Lacy returning to fantasy relevance. Believe me, I understand that he burned a ton of people in 2015 but was he really that bad in 2016? He only played five games due to an injured ankle, but before the injury, he was more than reliable. Sure he didn’t score any touchdowns, but that wasn’t his fault. The Packers simply called passing plays when they were in the red zone, and do you blame them with Aaron Rodgers? Last season Rodgers in the red zone had 31 touchdowns and zero interceptions. That’s just silly good. But in life and fantasy football we don’t like excuses, we want to know the truth, which is exactly why I went to the tape.
What’s On Tape
-I wanted to think of some clever food metaphor for the title of the tape, but that would have been too cheesy. In the five games of tape that I watched from 2016, it was like a buffet of goodness for Lacy. I saw a hungry and starved for success running back who just ate up yards. In fact, Lacy had the best yards per carry of his career last season with 5.1, which would have been fifth best in the NFL among qualifying running backs and better than Ezekiel Elliott, Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson.
-Now individual stats are great, but is Lacy a good fit with this Seahawks offense? Yes, he is. Last season the Seahawks ran 35 percent of their run plays out of the shotgun which compliments Lacy’s 4.6 yards per carry out of the shotgun. Also, the Seahawks like to run an inside zone with Wilson, which really allows runners to find and hit a hole and run downhill. If you don’t understand what down hill running is then watch two Eddie Lacy runs against the Giants in Week 5. On the first run, Lacy is trapped but shows great patience by finding the hole. What I love most about the run is how he finishes it, dragging defenders and refusing to go down. On the second run, the offensive line gets beat but Lacy shows great vision and how even though he is a bigger back, he is nimble enough to make guys miss, even if he gets hit in the backfield.
-Last season 59 percent of all the Seahawks running plays were in the lone setback formation. Lacy in 2016 averaged 5.2 yards per carrying out of the lone setback formation. Lacy is built to run in the lone set back formation if you don’t believe me then watch this 25 yards run against the Cowboys in Week 6. On this run he shows great vision to locate the hole, then quick feet to cut into the lane and burst to get upfield quickly.
-The argument against Lacy is that he is moving to the Seahawks and their offensive line is horrible. I won’t disagree with this point, but last season the Seahawks averaged 1.53 yards before contact for running backs which ranked 19th in the NFL. The Packers yards before contact was 0.93, which was dead last in the NFL. So the point I am trying to make is even if the Seahawks offensive line is as bad as we know it is, maybe that won’t matter as much since he has proven to be successful with a poor run blocking offensive line.
It’s a cloudy situation and there are three mouths to feed with the Seahawks running backs. That being said, Lacy could steal both meals from Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise. The Seahawks owe Rawls nothing since he was an undrafted free agent in 2015. Rawls had an impressive rookie season but has battled injuries missing 10 games his first two seasons not to mention his lackluster 3.2 yards per carry in 2016. The other running back is Prosise who is coming off an injury, which isn’t good news for a guy who struggled to stay healthy in college. Prosise is looked at as the third down back but we shouldn’t forget that Lacy can catch the ball. In fact, he has a catch rate of 75 percent for his career. Just watch this screen pass to Lacy from Week 1. What I love about this catch is that he has the awareness to snag the ball, turn his head and body quickly to punish the wimpy defender and then turn on the jets.
Work ethic and dieting will be two huge contributing factors for Lacy. I am optimistic that he still has the fire and desire to play at a high level because watching him run, he played with excitement which you can see after his runs. Also, I noticed that he ran angry and like someone stole his lunch money. That attitude is exactly what the Seahawks want and need. Before Lacy suffered his ankle injury 2016 he was on pace for 227 rushes and 1,152 yards. The tape shows it is possible for him to do that with the Seahawks.