UCLA Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Johnathan Franklin Is Running Back To Own For Fantasy


If you’re a Dynasty fantasy football league player, you’ve probably wiped the drool off the corners of your mouth by now and are champing at the bit for your annual rookie league draft.

But before you lock in your rankings, let me make one final plea for slotting Johnathan Franklin ahead of Eddie Lacy in the Green Bay Packers‘ backfield.

On the surface, Lacy looks like the slam dunk pick for not only the first Packers selected, but the first player selected over the likes of Tavon Austin, Giovani Bernard, Le’Veon Bell and Montee Ball. Lacy should get more touches per game than Austin or Bell. And Green Bay’s offense is much more dynamic than the one Bell plays for in Pittsburgh.

I question Ball’s effectiveness in the NFL as well. Lacy is a 230-pound monster that beat up on SEC defenses on a weekly basis. The Ex-Badger Ball ran through holes the size of dairy farms at Wisconsin. They won’t be as big on the pro level.

And as much as I like Lacy, I think there are significant advantages to owning Franklin in fantasy as opposed to him. For one, unless you flipped an aging star for an additional first round pick this year, you probably won’t have a chance at both backs.

According to Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC) high-stakes dynasty fantasy football drafts, Lacy has been going a few picks higher on average than Franklin. And given that Lacy was drafted in the second round of the NFL Draft, as opposed to the fourth where Franklin was picked, that makes sense.

But Packers GM Ted Thompson traded up to get Franklin. He gave up both a fifth and a sixth round selection to make sure Franklin was wearing the Green and Gold. And while Lacy was selected higher, he simply fell to the Packers. Thompson did not feel the same inclination to trade up to snag the ‘Bama bruiser.

Furthermore, Lacy’s injury history would make even Super Dave Osborne’s eyes bulge out. In less than two years, Lacy has suffered injuries to a pectoral muscle, hand, elbow and knee.

In addition to those ailments, Lacy’s hamstring injury was blamed for his poor pro day workout. Plus a turf toe injury has forced him to have surgery once already.

Eddie Lacy
Eileen Blass-USA TODAY Sports

While Lacy’s toughness rarely cost him practice or game time, Franklin does not have the injury baggage that Lacy totes. Franklin didn’t missed one game in his four-year career at UCLA. Outside of a few minor contusions and bruises, Franklin does not have any major injury flags like Lacy has.

Nagging injuries seem to have a way of turning into long-term issues for NFL players. While it’s far too early to be concerned about Lacy’s long-term health, it’s not even in the conversation for Franklin right now.

So, go ahead and roll the dice. Trade down, and grab Franklin. And when Green Bay is limiting Lacy’s touches throughout the regular season in an effort to keep him healthy enough to grind out those cold weather leads in January playoff games, it will be Franklin reaping the regular season fantasy benefits.

Tags: Eddie Lacy Green Bay Packers Johnathan Franklin National Football League Ted Thompson