An ankle injury ended Lacy's 2016 season in Week 6 and also spelled the end of his time in Green Bay, as the team let him walk without much of a fight in the offseason. Before he was hurt he appeared to be the same power back he'd always been, using his strength, size and surprising agility to run around and through would-be tacklers, but the Packers were tired of his fluctuating waistline. Seattle quickly inked him to a one-year deal in the hopes he can provide them with the physical presence they lacked last year after Marshawn Lynch retired. The Seahawks still have Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise around to provide a change of pace, so Lacy may not see a Beast Mode-like workload, but if he comes back from ankle surgery healthy he could return to the form that saw him average more than 1,100 rushing yards and 10 TDs in his first two years.
Eddie, are you OK? Are you okay? Are you OK, Eddie? OK, let's cut to the chase —how's the health, Eddie? Where's the waistline at? Lacy finished as the No. 6 overall back in basic scoring for his first two years in the league, but he tumbled out of the top 20 last year — undone by an unfit body. Although no one knows for sure, Lacy was suspected to be playing in the 250-260 pound range, and he looked the part on tape. Slow to hit the hole, check. Unlikely to break long runs, check. Fatigued easily, check. Through his first eight games, he was sitting on 400 total yards, two scores and 3.7 YPA. Not what we signed up for. To be fair to Lacy, he wasn't the only Green Bay skill player who struggled last year. And the entire offense seemed to hit a hiccup without Jordy Nelson. Lacy didn't take the league by storm in the second half, but he improved: 4.3 YPC, three scores, 546 total yards. He went for 6.3 a tote in the playoffs. At press time, the Packers were delighted that Lacy apparently dropped 15 or more pounds in the offseason. Laugh all you want at the "best shape of his life" meme, but Lacy is someone who desperately needs to play at a lighter weight. We're all for putting a carrot in front of Lacy —so long as there isn't a big old bowl of ranch dip to the side. Look for a notable bounce back, and enjoy the moderate discount.
Lacy's second season in the NFL built well on his rookie success, as he improved his efficiency, saw more targets and stayed on the field for a full 16 games. A prototypical power back at 5-11, 230, Lacy has patience and burst through the hole, but it's the sheer difficulty in bringing him down that's his standout skill. He runs with power and a low pad level, but also has surprising agility and athleticism, allowing him to break through arm tackles and dance around (or even over) unprepared defenders. The combination helped him finish second in yards after contact and third in broken tackles. He was just as elusive in the open field, averaging 10.9 yards after the catch (3rd) to finish sixth in receiving yards among running backs. The Packers' reputation as a pass-heavy offense began to shift in 2014 as the team tried to save some wear and tear on Aaron Rodgers, ranking 22nd in pass-play percentage, down from 11th the year before. With an increased focus on the running game, and no real competition on the depth chart for even the third-down role, Lacy figures to have his most productive season yet in 2015.
A speedy, yet powerful runner at 5-11 and 230, Lacy's final numbers last season were depressed by a concussion that essentially cost him two games. Project his production from Week 3 on over 16 games, and Lacy would have collected more than 1,600 total yards.
But that's not even his ceiling. Fully healthy after suffering a minor ankle injury at the end of last season, Lacy should see every-down work, further marginalizing the fantasy value of backup James Starks. The Packers are also returning superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who missed seven games last year with a broken collarbone, setting them up to have a productive offense that affords Lacy plenty of snaps and goal-line touches. He received 14 touches inside the five last year – a number that should only rise.
While Lacy managed only a modest boost in PPR formats last year, he showed good hands and has elusiveness in space, meaning he's sure to see plenty of dump-offs from Rodgers this season. All the ingredients are here for a big breakout.
At 6-0, 220, Lacy is a bull of a runner with the footwork, elusiveness and power to earn the majority of early down work and potentially dominate the goal-line carries for one of the NFL's elite offenses.
The Packers' second-round pick, Lacy averaged 6.5 YPC and posted 17 touchdowns running behind Alabama's mammoth line last year. While he won't see the same holes at the NFL level, he does have the benefit of Aaron Rodgers' arm keeping defenses on their heels.
Lingering hamstring and turf toe injuries hurt Lacy's draft stock, and perhaps those injury concerns are why the Packers drafted another running back, UCLA's all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin two rounds later. With DuJuan Harris on IR, Lacy looks poised to start the season as the Packers' top back, as long as he can remain healthy.