The Seahawks Flock
It’s no secret that one of the most confusing backfields going into the 2017 is that of the Seattle Seahawks. It should be obvious at this point that they will not have a three-down back. There has been a lot of hype surrounding second-year RB C.J. Prosise, and there should be. He is an outstanding pass-catcher out of the backfield and plays a key role in the Seahawks offense. After that, things get a little tricky, because lots of people still believe in UDFA Thomas Rawls as their early down back. Meanwhile, the Seahawks signed former Packer Eddie Lacy on a one-year $5.5 million dollar contract (including bonuses). For those not keeping track, that’s enough money (without future bonuses) to be the 16th highest-paid running back in average guaranteed money on a contract. The Seahawks are paying Eddie Lacy to be the RB1 on their roster. And based on some of the numbers I have looked at while comparing Lacy and Rawls, I tend to agree with the Seahawks organization.
Why the Contract Matters
Taking one more look at the incentives on Eddie Lacy’s contract, it seems fairly clear in my mind that they want him to take the reigns in this backfield. He gets non-accumulating yardage bonuses starting at 800 yards, going all the way up to 1,200 yards. These are fairly common for contracts given to a team’s leading rusher. Also, how can I forget about big Eddie Lacy’s weight bonuses? Let’s skip all the easy jokes at this point. Eddie had three stipulations for his weigh-in bonuses: 255 for May, 250 for June/August, and 240 for September/October/November/December. He has already passed two weigh-ins and appears to be taking his conditioning seriously. In my opinion, it’s time to take Eddie Lacy seriously again.
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Taking a look at the current ADPs from FantasyFootballCalculator.com, we see that Eddie Lacy is currently much pricier than Rawls is, as he should be. However, Lacy has been slowly dipping in ADP, with reports of a shared backfield coming out from beat reporters. This could introduce an opportunity in which Eddie Lacy falls to the late fourth or possibly even fifth round, where he should be snagged immediately.
We know that Eddie Lacy came over from the Green Bay Packers. So the question is, will he be a fit for Seattle’s run game? Well, both the Packers and the Seahawks utilize a zone blocking scheme with their offensive lines, so as far as conforming to a new offense goes, Lacy should not have much of a problem. Also it should be noted that Lacy has a tremendous amount of tread left; with his time playing for the Packers, Lacy accumulated only 788 rushing attempts. This might seem like a lot, but considering that running backs typically reach their fantasy cliff at or around 1,800 carries, you can bet that 26 year old Eddie Lacy still has a lot of football left to play.
Seattle Offensive Line Situation
I know, I know. Lots of you are reading this article and thinking to yourselves, “There is no way I’m touching Lacy OR Rawls, that O-line is garbage!” Well, last year they were garbage. I won’t deny that. With that being said, I believe there is promise for the O-line to be at least decent. Enough to warrant using one of their running backs. They brought in former second overall pick Luke Joeckel to boost their line, in addition to drafting the O-line Swiss army knife Ethan Pocic. Also, Germain Ifedi looks to grow into his role as a second year player in a (hopefully) more stable situation. They still have a top-10 center in Justin Britt as well. By no means do I expect this O-line to be top 10, but they have an inside chance to be decent enough to support a running back for fantasy.
Why not Rawls?
Thomas Rawls is exciting, I’ll give you that. He runs with a head full of steam, and his wild flailing can confuse the defense from time to time. Or he just straight headbutts people like this:
And while Rawls can make the 32nd-ranked run defense in 2015 look bad, his running style is seriously flawed and dangerous. He strikes me more as a limited opportunity home run hitter than anything else, like a poor man’s Tevin Coleman. In addition to that, Thomas Rawls has minimal chops in the pass-catching game. I know I said that was Prosise’s wheelhouse earlier, but I believe the Seahawks would benefit more from a versatile running back like Eddie Lacy as their early down back. In his two years for the Seahawks, Thomas Rawls only has a combined 28 targets and 22 receptions. Meanwhile, Lacy has averaged 33.5 targets and 25.25 receptions per season with the Packers.
What Eddie Lacy Brings to the Table
The spin move!
Ok, but seriously… Lacy is still a good running back. Before his injury last year, he was averaging 72 yards per game with a 5.1 yards per carry average. I’ll save you the calculator work: he was on pace for a 1,152 yard season. Yes, as “fat” Lacy. If Eddie dedicates himself to his health for this season (and for his career, at this point) then you can look forward to the 2013-2014 version of Lacy tearing it up once again. Even though he didn’t have any touchdowns in his five games last year, they were bound to come eventually in a high-powered Packer offense. Seattle is no laughing matter when it comes to offense and scoring chances either.
Additionally, Eddie Lacy has a nose for the end zone. Even with his 2016 season included, Lacy has a career 33.3% TD rate inside the 10 yard line. He’s a shifty power back that excels in scoring touchdowns. Thomas Rawls had zero TDs starting from not just inside the 10 yard line, but even inside the red zone last year. Christine Michael had four from the red zone. The Seahawks are dying to have a goal line back to use, and Lacy is that guy.
I think if head coach Pete Carroll gives him the opportunity early, Lacy will run away with the job. Literally. He is a far more consistent runner than Thomas Rawls and his pass-catching skills are a cherry on top. He could potentially be a 10-plus touchdown scorer for an offense that is already efficient. With Eddie Lacy’s ADP dropping slowly as we get closer to draft season, I suggest keeping him in your back pocket as a late-fourth round or early-fifth round steal in standard leagues. In PPR, Lacy is legitimately undervalued as a sixth round option, in my opinion. Keep your eye on Eddie Lacy, he could end up being this year’s version of DeMarco Murray. Lacy is currently being drafted as the RB21, but his opportunity could easily land him in the top 10 or better!