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Can Lacy, Gerhart carry the load for fantasy teams?

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With Aaron Rodgers at 100 percent and that Packers passing game, should I be nervous about drafting Eddie Lacy? I kinda am. -- @chillrays (via Fantasy Genius)

Marcas Grant: Don't be. Yes, the pass-happy Packers will be back in effect this season, but it might not be all about Rodgers' right arm. Mike McCarthy has said for years that the team needs to run the football more. Now they have a running back who can carry the load -- and do it effectively. Lacy also won't have to look over his shoulder since neither James Starks nor DuJuan Harris are likely to challenge him for carries. And one more thing ... both Rodgers and McCarthy say they'd like to average 75 plays per game. For context, the Broncos ran about 72 plays per game last season. Even if Green Bay gets close to its goal, that means plenty of chances for the offense as a whole. So if Eddie Lacy falls into your lap, don't fear. In fact, I'd rather you just say thank you and go on your way.

Is Bishop Sankey worthy of RB2 status? Does he have the skills like Lacy did, so that he can produce? -- @jmrising19 (via Twitter)

M.G.: I wouldn't go that far, but then again, I'm also a fantasy skeptic. Sankey has many of the same skills as Lacy, although he might not be as powerful between the tackles. But Sankey's success won't have as much to do with his ability as it will with the offense around him. The good news is that the Titans have made efforts to upgrade their offensive line. Still, Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson are a much better trio to play alongside than Jake Locker, Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter. It's worth taking a chance on Sankey this season, but making him your second running back is a little optimistic.

Will Toby Gerhart or Andre Ellington be solid RBs this season? And are they worth being starters on a fantasy team? -- @PaulTattoofaces (via Twitter)

M.G.: Yes, yes and yes. One caveat: neither one is worthy of being a No. 1 running back. I'd like to see some actual on-field success before I can count on someone as my primary rusher. I like Gerhart a little more this year. How can you not be a little excited when Gus Bradley says the Jaguars would like to use Gerhart in a Marshawn Lynch-type role? Well, I guess you couldn't be if you're a linebacker tasked with trying to tackle someone built like a small sedan. But that doesn't apply to most of us. As for Ellington, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians says he'd like to find one workhorse back, and it appears that the second-year man from Clemson will be tapped for the job. Of course, Arians said the same thing last season but ended up going with a two-headed attack of Ellington and Rashard Mendenhall. Fool me once, shame on you...

We all know Cordarrelle Patterson is a beast, but do we change our outlook on him if Teddy Bridgewater doesn't win the job? -- @JGribbs15 (via Twitter)

M.G.: No, we do not. The biggest reason to be excited about Patterson this year has nothing to do with the quarterback. It has everything to do with the offensive coordinator. Norv Turner's track record as a coach is pretty spotty, but it's hard to argue with his success as a coordinator. Whether it's Bridgewater, Matt Cassel, Christian Ponder or Gus Frerotte under center, Turner will find ways to get the ball to Patterson. After Adrian Peterson, Patterson is likely to be Minnesota's second option in the offense. While the guy slinging the rock is important, the man calling the plays will be the difference-maker.

Will Jordan Cameron be a top five tight end this year? -- @Ricjbrown (via Twitter)

M.G.: Considering he finished fifth at the position last season, the better question is: "Will Jordan Cameron be a top-three tight end this year?" When you look at Cameron's peers, there's certainly a chance for the Browns tight end to make the leap. Jimmy Graham seems a lock to retain the top spot, but Cameron fits in with a group that includes Rob Gronkowski, Vernon Davis and Julius Thomas. Gronk's injury history is cause for concern, and Davis could hold out this season. Combine that with Cleveland potentially losing Josh Gordon for the season and Cameron should see quite a few more targets in 2014.

Who has more value in a PPR league -- Darren Sproles, Alfred Morris or Trent Richardson? -- @JohnnyEuroMan (via Twitter)

M.G.: Catching the football matters a lot in PPR leagues, but I want the guy who will produce regardless of the method. Morris is that guy. He has said that he wants to be a bigger part of Washington's passing game this season. I remain fairly dubious about that statement, as it comes from a player who has caught 50 total passes in six seasons dating back to his time at Florida Atlantic. Nonetheless, Morris should see more total touches than both Sproles and Richardson this season. You might not get the added points for receptions, but chances are good that Morris will outscore those other two, anyway.

Is it crazy to think my draft strategy in the first two rounds is WR-WR at 11/12 spot in a non-PPR league? -- @grady787 (via Twitter)

M.G.: That's a bold strategy, Cotton. I might be more willing to consider that approach in a PPR league. But in a standard scoring league, it's hard to advocate passing on running backs with your first two picks. Drafting that late means you're very likely going to be left with a player in a timeshare, but at least you'll have your pick of that litter. Eschew drafting a running back in the first two rounds and it will be slim pickings the next time your turn comes around. If you're selecting at the end of the first round, it's no crime to take a WR. But you'll definitely want to snag a RB with your next pick.

I was just offered Antonio Brown and Arian Foster for Matt Forte and Larry Fitzgerald. Good or bad? -- @oo75 (via Fantasy Genius)


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M.G.: It's a fairly even deal, but I'd put you slightly ahead. I have my reservations about Foster this year -- especially because I'm high on Forte -- but as long as Foster is healthy, he's in line for a big season. Brown is certainly an upgrade over Fitzgerald, since the latter is no longer the undisputed top target in the Cardinals offense. If the goal was to upgrade at WR, good job. If not, well, you're not too bad off.

Of my four RBs, who should I trade -- Matt Forte, Le'Veon Bell, Zac Stacy or Alfred Morris? -- @ltran57 (via Fantasy Genius)

M.G.: Out of that group, Stacy is the one to deal. With Sam Bradford back in action, the Rams are likely to throw the football more -- bad news for Stacy. Forte and Bell are featured backs with little to no competition, and Morris is still likely to see a heavy load in Jay Gruden and Sean McVay's offense. If that's not enough, there's a chance that Tre Mason could see some work on third downs for St. Louis, meaning Stacy could find himself off the field for stretches at a time.

This was just proposed to me -- I send Cam Newton and Jimmy Graham and they send Matthew Stafford and Jordan Cameron. -- @nfox580 (via Fantasy Genius)

M.G.: Put the mouse down and step away from the computer. Don't do it! I know what I wrote about Cameron earlier in this column ... but he's no Jimmy Graham. Similarly, Stafford is a nice fantasy quarterback, but Newton has never finished worse than fourth at his position in his three NFL seasons. Newton will most likely face a decline this year as he breaks in a new group of receivers, but he should still be on par with Stafford. Stick with who you've got.

Bonus question: Whatcha got coming up? -- @Joshiebayy (via Twitter)

M.G.: Not much. Catching up on a few comics, maybe checking out a movie. Maybe a little time on the beach. It's hard living in Southern California. What's up with you?


Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who enjoys the beach -- from La Jolla to Leo Carrillo and up to Pismo. Tweet him about fantasy futbol and fantasy football at @MarcasG.

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