A look at three questionable fantasy figures heading into Week 1 of the 2016 NFL season.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
Age-wise, Eddie Lacy should be entering his prime as an NFL player. He’s just 26-years-old and is entering his fourth season in the league. Fair or not, Lacy’s weight issues were the first thing people pointed to when they saw Lacy’s numbers fall off a cliff last season. In fact, Lacy’s numbers have declined the past three seasons. He went from 1,178 yards in just 15 games in 2015 to 1,139 yards in 16 games in 2014. His touchdown total fell from 11 to 9 as well. Then came the ugly numbers from 2015: 15 games, 187 carries, 758 yards, 3 touchdowns.
Cause for alarm? Nope.
Last year was the ultimate aberration for the Packers’ offense as Jordy Nelson did not play a down and Aaron Rodgers was beat up for most of the year. With defenses again having to focus primarily on Nelson and Rodgers – look for Lacy to see more space. He’s also reportedly shed more than a few pounds and he faces a so-so Jaguars rush defense in Week 1 (Jacksonville averaged just 106.8 yards per game in 2015).
Verdict: Definite start
Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers
Gordon was a huge disappointment last season, but it’s important to remember that he was only a rookie. San Diego has an improved interior line this season and Gordon showed flashes of brilliance during the preseason. On just 13 rushing attempts in August, Gordon racked up 81 yards and a touchdown. He also caught two passes for 49 yards and a touchdown.
Kansas City, the Chargers’ Week 1 opponent, was strong against the run last year – allowing the seventh fewest yards-per-game average in the league (98.2). But expect Gordon to get his in Week 1.
Verdict: Definite start
Chris Hogan, WR, Patriots
Hogan was a chic pick in many a draft because of how he looked in the preseason and because of how he reminded many people of Wes Welker in that the Patriots picked him up after he had had success against them. Week 1 might be ugly for people banking on strong numbers from Hogan, however. Jimmy Garoppolo will be going up against an excellent Cardinals defense, one that includes a revenge-minded Chandler Jones and New England’s weakness is still its offensive line. Garoppolo will have to rely on stars Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman to bail him out. In addition, Danny Amendola is expected to play against the Cards after not playing one live snap during the preseason. Hogan might catch a few balls but expect Garoppolo to spread the wealth.