Can Eddie Lacy Be Trusted in the Fantasy Football Playoffs?

Lacy has been a notoriously slow starter. Is he finally gearing up for fantasy football success?

After finishing as the RB6 in standard scoring fantasy football leagues in each of his first two NFL seasons, Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy is currently the RB27 through 14 weeks.

Touted by some as the safest running back at the top of fantasy drafts, Lacy was a top-four pick off the board in fantasy drafts, per  MyFantasyLeague average draft position data.

Without question, Lacy has disappointed fantasy owners. But then again, so have many of the first- and second-round selections from August.

However, unlike injured stars such as Le'Veon Bell and Jamaal Charles, Lacy could potentially still make a difference in the fantasy playoffs for those fantasy owners whose teams he didn’t sink.

With three 100-yard performances in his last four games, is Lacy just getting going, or is he luring fantasy owners into a fantasy playoff trap?

Slow Starts in 2013 and 2014

Slow starts are nothing new for Lacy, who has worried fantasy owners in all three of his NFL seasons.

In Week 2 of his 2013 rookie season, he sustained a concussion early in a matchup with Washington, which kept him out for the rest of that game and one more before returning in Week 5 after Green Bay’s bye week.

He proceeded to top 80 rushing yards in each of his next five games and scored a total of 11 touchdowns on the year.

In 2014, he averaged 3.3 or fewer yards per carry in each of his first four games. With the first three of those four games coming against stout run defenses in Seattle, the Jets, and Detroit, it wasn’t the biggest of shocks.

Lacy would ultimately surpass 1,100 rushing yards and score 13 total touchdowns.

From a Net Expected Points (NEP) standpoint, Lacy established himself as a good-not-great back.

Year Rushes Rush NEP Rank Rush NEP/P Rank Successes Success Rate
2013 285 2.32 12/35 0.01 12/35 121 42.46%
2014 246 -7.76 19/32 -0.03 16/32 104 42.28%

In 2013 and 2014, finishing in the middle of the pack in both Rushing NEP and Rushing NEP per rush, Lacy built his fantasy football reputation on volume and goal-line opportunities, as he was never one of the NFL's most efficient runners.

Slow Start to 2015

Through Week 10, Lacy did not look right.

He had battled through ankle and groin injuries for parts of the season, and there was also questions as to whether he was overweight.

Lacy Rushes Rush NEP Rank Rush NEP/P Rank Successes Success Rate
Week 1-10 83 -4.4 26/46 -0.05 31/46 35 42.17%

His -0.05 Rushing NEP per carry was a career-worst and had him on track for a career-worst Rushing NEP total. After being targeted 99 times in his first two seasons, he had only 15 targets on the 2015 season. However, his 42.17% Success Rate was in line with his career numbers.

Despite the struggles, we should still note Lacy's ranks among running backs with at least 60 carries. He still managed to be in the about average, despite posting some of the worst numbers of his career.

The Sign of a Turnaround?

With the exception of the Thursday game against Detroit, during which he was benched, Lacy has rebounded since Week 11.

Lacy Carries Yards TD Rush NEP Rush NEP/P Rush Success Rate
Week 11 22 100 0 -0.07 0 54.55%
Week 12 17 105 0 -2.07 -0.12 47.06%
Week 13 5 4 0 -2.2 -0.44 0%
Week 14 24 124 1 3.78 0.16 62.50%
Totals 68 333 1 -0.56 -0.01 51.47%

In addition to better metrics, he reached the 100-yard mark in bouts with Minnesota, Chicago, and Dallas and found the end zone against the latter.

Better yet, Lacy’s metrics were better aligned with his career figures, as his -0.01 Rushing NEP per carry was within just a few decimal places of his -0.01 average between 2013 and 2014.

Interestingly enough, his 51.5% Success Rate, a phenomenal number that would be the best of the 2015 crop of running backs, outpaced his career 42.4% rate by a fair margin.

Given the volatility Lacy has displayed throughout his career and propensity to heat up in November and December, I'm inclined to take this potential revival seriously.


While the targets haven’t picked up recently (he has only nine in the four-game stretch), it appears as though Lacy’s statline will look eerily similar from a metrics point-of-view. Here is his 2015 to-date compared with 2013 and 2014.

Year Rushes Rush NEP Rank Rush NEP/P Rank Successes Success Rate
2013 285 2.32 12/35 0.01 12/35 121 42.46%
2014 246 -7.76 19/32 -0.03 16/32 104 42.28%
2015 151 -5.09 20/40 -0.03 22/40 70 46.36%

His Rushing NEP per rush is already on par with his 2014 rate, meaning that on average, he has contributed the same number of NEP to the Packers this season as he did last year when running the ball. (For context, the league-average Rushing NEP per carry of high-volume backs is generally -0.02.)

So even though it might not seem like it, Lacy is "back."

As far as Week 15 goes, yes, you can trust him. He is our fifth-ranked running back in standard scoring projections, with estimates of 60.14 rushing yards and 0.60 rushing touchdowns.