Fantasy 5: Rawls might just hold off Lacy in Seattle
(The Fantasy 5 is a quick-hit wrap-up of some of the biggest news topics of the day for fantasy football players, giving you advice you need to improve your team.)
We made it. Football is back. With Sunday in the books, we’ve seen every NFL team at least once. Some teams have played their starters longer than others, and some haven’t played any at all, but football is officially back and we can’t wait to get more.
Week 2 of the preseason brings more snaps for starters, more big plays, and more hype. Your favorite sleeper might shoot two or three rounds up the board in ADP after this week and there’s no worse feeling. Let’s hope for your sake he doesn’t
Below, our goal is to get you thinking about a few more fantasy prospects and their current value in relation to your chances to win your league in 2017. Here’s today’s Fantasy 5:
1. The Seahawks are making Eddie Lacy earn it
Thomas Rawls worked ahead of Lacy in Seattle’s preseason opener and Lacy didn’t take a single snap with Russell Wilson. The Seahawks likely signed Lacy with the idea in mind that he would replicate some of what Marshawn Lynch added to their offense. It wasn’t too long ago that Lacy was one of the most elusive running backs in the NFL. In 2014, Lacy finished behind only Lynch in PFF’s elusive rating — a stat used to judge a runner’s impact independent of his blocking that combined forced missed tackles and yards after contact. Only Lynch and Arian Foster averaged more yards after contact than Lacy in 2014. This is a great trait for any running back to have behind Seattle’s below-average offensive line.
Of course, that was 2014. Lacy is older, he has racked up more lower-body injuries, and he just had offseason ankle surgery. There is some concern that Lacy’s frame can’t hold up on his lower body and that’s certainly why the Seahawks worked in weigh-in bonuses into Lacy’s contract. After a slow start to camp and a prolonged recovery, Lacy is losing ground to a healthy and motivated Rawls. Seattle may have signed Lacy to be their Lynch, but Pete Carroll has always coached with the mindset of letting competition play itself out and Lacy will have to fight to win the job.
2. Kenny Golladay has entered the redraft radar
Sigmund Bloom of Football Guys likes to talk about the steady drumbeat with fantasy players in the offseason. When a player continues to get buzz in OTAs during the spring, in training camp during the summer, and in the preseason games, it usually leads to something more. That has been the case with Golladay since his first practice with the Lions. It all came to a head in the Lions preseason opener when Golladay exploded for three catches, 53 yards, and two touchdowns on four targets. Golladay did all of his work with backup quarterback Jake Rudock, and we need to at least consider the meaning of that. Anecdotally speaking, backup quarterbacks develop a rapport with one receiver in practice and it leads to big performances in the preseason. Sometimes, it’s just a sign that the receiver is a real threat. Marvin Jones’ play fell off after a hot start in 2016 and things have been quiet on all fronts when it comes to his 2017 offseason so far. Jones played through and injury last season, but that doesn’t mean he’s a lock to bounce back in 2017. The Lions lost a lot of quality targets, specifically in the red zone, with the departure of Anquan Boldin. Golladay is on my late-round dart throw radar on a team with no clear-cut No. 2 option in the passing game.
3. Paul Perkins chatter has created a buy-low opportunity
Perkins was named the starter for the Giants back in May after the draft. In 2016, head coach Ben McAdoo wouldn’t even reveal to reporters who would be calling the plays — they had to wait for the Giants’ first preseason snap on offense. Then, all of a sudden, he professes his confidence in Perkins. In the face of chatter that Orleans Darkwa would form a committee with Perkins and passing-down back Shane Vereen, McAdoo proceeded to play Perkins on every snap with the first-team offense in the preseason opener, other than passing downs when Vereen was subbed in. Perkins is the same back who racked up a better elusive rating than Ezekiel Elliott in 2015 and one beat writer reporting that he hasn’t “blown anyone away” this offseason doesn’t negate Perkins’ standing the rotation or his ability to make defenders miss. My colleague Pat Thorman calls Perkins the “arbitrage Ameer Abdullah” who you can get a three-round discount on. By the time the Giants play their next preseason game next Monday to close out Week 2, you might even be able to get a four-round discount on him.
4. Dwayne Allen is starting to make noise
In 2016, Martellus Bennett racked up 55 receptions for 701 yards and 7 touchdowns as the Patriots No. 2 tight end. Of course, Bennett became the No. 1 when Rob Gronkowski got hurt, but the Patriots never made him a major focal point of the offense. The touchdowns are the focus here anyway. The Patriots may have new weapons in the passing game, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to stop utilizing 12 personnel (two tight ends) in the red zone. After a poor start in OTAs, Allen did a 180 on his offseason training and now he is drawing praise. ESPN’s Mike Reiss said Allen is noticeably better shape and he looks a lot more comfortable in the offense. The Boston Globe says Tom Brady is targeting Allen “a lot” in the red zone. With an ADP of TE24 on Fantasy Football Calculator, Allen has a chance to return excellent value at a position that has been largely driven by touchdown production.
5. Injury roundup
- Giants WR Sterling Shepard (ankle) returned to full practice Sunday for the first time since spraining his ankle Aug. 2.
- LB Denzel Perryman couldn’t put any weight on his left leg and he was carted off the field in the Chargers’ preseason opener. Adam Schefter reported Monday morning that Perryman is expected to miss 4-6 weeks, pending a Monday MRI. Perryman is expected to operate as an every-down linebacker and has serious IDP appeal. This injury should be on everyone’s radar in IDP formats.
- Washington TE Jordan Reed claims the new orthotics in his cleats have made a big difference and he expects to return to practice soon. For now, he remains on the PUP list. Reed remains one of the biggest boom-or-bust picks in any format.
- After an injury-plagued rookie season, Washington WR Josh Doctson is expected to miss another four or five days of training camp with a hamstring injury that has kept him out since Aug. 6. Doctson is losing steam as a late-round flier in a crowded offense for targets.
- Beat writers have expressed optimism for Andrew Luck’s Week 1 status, owner Jim Irsay sounded optimistic but wouldn’t confirm Luck’s Week 1 availability, and GM Chris Ballard said Luck’s arm is actually stronger after surgery. The Colts offense feels like one to fade as a whole, but it can also offer a ton of upside with Luck’s injury effectively depressing the ADP of all position players.
- Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette sat out Sunday’s practice with a foot issue. There’s nothing to worry about just yet, but it’s important to note that Fournette had foot and ankle injuries that limited him during his 2016 season at LSU.