Green Bay Packers star running back Eddie Lacy made a huge impact as a rookie with 1,178 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on 284 carries, but he should put up even bigger numbers next season. He benefited from Aaron Rodgers’s injury (when Matt Flynn was starting, he was essentially the offense) last year, and the additions of talented pass-catching rookies and possible vulture carries from James Starks seemingly hurt Lacy’s numbers on the surface. But Lacy should be an even bigger fantasy beast due to the volume of the Packers snaps on offense (they are going to move even faster next year) and his own improvement as a rusher.
Even without Evan Dietrich-Smith at center, Lacy should still improve his rushing average from 4.1. Not only will the passing offense open up more space for him (Flynn didn’t exactly keep defenses honest against the run), but players as young as Lacy improve from year to year.
According to ESPN NFL Nation’s Rob Demovsky, the Packers are going to give Lacy more snaps and touches, meaning that they are going to get him involved more often in the passing game. Lacy flashed in that area with a solid 35 receptions as a rookie, and I would be surprised if that number doesn’t increase. The Packers will run more plays next year, and they’ll run more passing plays with Lacy on the field. He might not get more than 284 carries, but that’s fine. It will keep him fresh as a rusher and better optimize his carries; the main difference will be how things look in the passing game.
Offensive coordinator Tom Clements said, “We want to get him touches, trying to get him more involved in all aspects of the game, but Eddie was a workhorse for us last year. And then when James got in there last year, he ran very hard. That was a great one-two punch. Now you factor in DuJuan and the other guys, it’s going to be interesting to see how that plays out.”
Starks is still going to get some carries, and DuJuan Harris should also see some touches sprinkled him for him. But at the end of the day, Lacy is the workhorse, and the Packers no-huddle offense isn’t going to sub players between snaps as frequently. That will make Lacy a three-down beast, and it will be interesting to see how he does as a pass blocker and pass-catcher in his second season. I have the Packers offense tabbed as the best in the league, because they have an elite RB, talent behind that workhorse, great coaching, the best quarterback in the game (he’s right in his prime, too), and an even deeper group of pass-catching weapons.