With Eddie Lacy, It's Time to Be Patient and Buy Low

Eddie Lacy has had a rough start to his 2014 NFL season, but hang tough, it'll all be over soon.

Ahh, football is back. It’s Week 2 and we’ve already experienced the ups and downs, the stress and relief and the exuberance and heartache of the NFL. But the most common thing we’re experiencing is observing and overreacting – a trait us fake footballers know all too well.

I’m here to tell you: stop! It’s Week 2, people. I, just as you, love to get caught up in the moment. It’s what makes the sport fun and exciting. However, come Monday morning, no matter how slighted or mad you feel, you must forgive and forget if the occasion calls. Treat the next day as if it were the morning after a night out with your boys or girls; there are just some things you want and need to forget.

I wholeheartedly believe Eddie Lacy is an occasion that warrants forgiveness and patience.

Don't Panic on the Packer

Eddie Lacy is my biggest buy-low candidate so far this season. He’s accrued the perfect storm for you to take advantage of a panicky owner – mediocre stats and a Week 1 concussion.

Through two games, Lacy has rushed for an average of 38.5 yards on only 12.5 carries per game. These numbers are not very 2013 Lacy-like and could, rightfully so, become causes for concern. That is until you look a little deeper into Lacy’s slow start.

Lacy had the honors of playing the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1.

"Hey Eddie, all you have to do is go into Seattle during the NFL's opening night against the defending Super Bowl champions, and in front of a crowd that doesn’t usually need extra motivation to be pumped up. Go have yourself a day. Sound good? Good."

Fast forward 60 (football) minutes and the Pack got trounced 36-16, with Lacy leaving early due to a concussion after only carrying the ball 12 times. The Packers were down early and had to play catch-up the whole game, which we all know resulted in the Packers throwing the ball more. They had a pass-to-run ratio of 1.57 compared to their 1.34 ratio in 2013. Even if the Packers were in a situation which called for more run plays, the Seahawks ranked eighth in Adjusted Defensive Rushing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play in 2013.

The story was the same in Week 2 when the Packers hosted the New York Jets. Green Bay trailed in this game for about 37 minutes, more than half the game. This two-and-a half-quarter, uphill battle resulted in Eddie Lacy only receiving 13 carries, and the Packers having a pass-to run ratio of 1.90. And again, the Packers faced an elite run defense in the Jets, who ranked fifth in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play. Had they even wanted to run the ball, it would have been a tough task to do so.

Things look to get a bit worse before the light at the end of the tunnel appears (Hang in there with me, I’m getting to the positives). The Packers face the Detroit Lions in Week 3 – a team that ranked second against the run according to our metrics a year ago. This looks to still be true, as the Lions have only surrendered a total of 87 rushing yards to running backs in their first two games combined.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Lions also have a high-powered offense centered around the passing game. The over/under for this game is 53 points, the highest of any matchup in Week 3. This games looks to be a shootout, and we shouldn’t expect a huge increase in carries for Lacy. However, there is good news – The Lions have given up a rushing touchdown in each of their first two games against the New York Giants and the Carolina Panthers. Lacy most likely won’t rack up a ton of yards, but in this supposed high-scoring game, a touchdown could save his day.

The Grass Gets Greener in Lambeau

Now for the positive news. Lacy’s outlook is bright after his hellish first three weeks. After the Packers’ game against Detroit, 9 of their remaining 13 games are against teams that ranked in the bottom half of the league in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play in 2013. Of which, five are against teams that ranked in the bottom five in defensive rushing efficiency, including the Chicago Bears, who were ranked last, twice.

I also don’t expect them to be in many more shootouts this year.

TeamOff. Plays in 2013 (Rank)Pass-to-Run Ratio (Rank)
Tampa Bay (Week 16)1074 (23rd)1.34 (20th)
Chicago (Weeks 4 & 10)1066 (24th)1.52 (11th)
Minnesota (Week 5 & 12)1065 (25th)1.39 (18th)
Miami (Week 6)1047 (T-27th)1.88 (3rd)
Carolina (Week 7)1047 (T-27th)1.07 (28th)

Half of Green Bay’s remaining games are against teams who were in the bottom 10 of the league in terms of plays run last year. Three of these five teams also had a bottom-half ranking in pass-to-run ratio, meaning these teams didn’t pass a whole lot. The lone team in this group cracking the top 10 was the Miami Dolphins, who had a pass-to-run ratio that ranked third, at 1.88.

However, just because they passed a lot doesn’t necessarily mean they were good at it. The Dolphins ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in Adjusted Passing NEP per play. I think this bodes well for Lacy, as the Packers’ chances of getting into a high-scoring, aerial-style shootout are limited throughout the season.

If you’re an Eddie Lacy owner, don’t overreact. What’s going on now is just a storm you’re going to have to weather, given the player you drafted. I can guarantee you’d rather have this gauntlet of a schedule in Weeks 1, 2 and 3 rather than Weeks 14, 15 and 16.

And if you’re not an Eddie Lacy owner, find someone who is, hope they didn’t read this and make their overreaction your gain. This is one of those moves that could win you your league; Lacy’s stock is at an all-time low right now, and you need to strike while the iron is hot. Sure, his game against Detroit could lower it even more, but I’m not so sure the wait is worth the risk of missing out on him. He’s an excellent value and come playoff time, when you have a bona fide RB1 in your lineup, you’ll be happy you grabbed him.