We’re only a few days away from the Super Bowl and while you’re preparing your food and beverages of choice for Sunday, Evan Silva has you covered from Prop Bets to Matchups and I came up with some key position-by-position statistics that could help decide the game.
We’ll switch gears here in approach of the big game and focus on some of the week’s biggest news from a fantasy football angle. The big, continuing news of the week is whether or not Calvin Johnson will retire, but Jeff Brubach covered that topic in-depth here.
One of the biggest busts of the 2015 fantasy football season has a bust problem. Reportedly, the Packers want Eddie Lacy to lose 30 pounds and he is “committed” to losing the poundage. I went back and dug up Lacy’s playing weight when he entered Alabama and found that he was in the 220-225 pound range from 2009-2012 and weighed in at 231 at the 2013 NFL Combine. It’s quite possible that the Packers asked Lacy to get back to his Combine weight, meaning he could have played this season in the 250-260lbs range. For comparison’s sake, Jerome Bettis weighed between 250-255 lbs in his playing days in Pittsburgh. Lacy is entering the final deal of his rookie deal in 2016 and desperately needs to shed weight to not only earn a contract extension but extend his playing career. As Jonathan Bales explained a few years back, rushing efficiency decreases as weight and body mass index increases.
Per ESPN Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson, Alshon Jeffery is “expected back” in Chicago next year. This makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the 2016 wide receiver free agency pool is extremely light and the Bears’ can’t afford to let both Brandon Marshall and Jeffery walk in back-to-back years. Secondly, Kevin White (shin surgery) was essentially “redshirted” in his rookie season after spending all of 2015 on the PUP/reserve list. The Bears just spent premium first round capital on White and shouldn’t reasonably expect him to be the No. 1 in Chicago so soon. Look for Jeffery to receive the franchise tag this offseason. Even though he dealt with various injuries all year, Jeffery averaged 6 receptions and 89.7 yards per contest in 2015.
According to ESPN Dolphins reporter James Walker, there is “a 40 percent chance” that Lamar Miller is back in Miami on a long-term extension in 2016. I’d be willing to bet that the actual percentage chance Miller is back in a Dolphins uniform in 2016 is less than 10 percent. Chronically misused for four years, Miller really has no reason to be back with Miami next year. He did play for the University of Miami in college -- so perhaps he wants to stay in his hometown -- but Miller would be smart to move on from the team that drafted him. He turns 25 in April and has just 638 career attempts on his odometer. To show how low of a carry total that is, DeMarco Murray achieved 61.4 percent of Miller’s career attempt total in 2014 alone (392 carries). After averaging the fourth most yards per touch among running backs with 200 or more touches in the 2015-16 season, Lamar Miller has more than proved he’s talented and deserving of more work. He’s a decent buy in Dynasty leagues right now on his free agent speculation.
Finally, “all indications” are that Antonio Gates will not retire. He turns 36-years-old in June. He’s an impending free agent and “doesn’t want to go out a loser”, so it’s more than likely that the Chargers and Gates work out a one-year extension for the veteran should he decide to return. I’ll note here that Ladarius Green is also an impending free agent. Gates posted a 56-630-5 receiving line in 11 games in 2015, clearing 65 yards receiving five times. Tony Gonzalez is the only tight end ever to have more than 250 receiving yards at 36 years or older.
Quick News and Notes From Around the League
Panthers LB Thomas Davis (broken arm) has practiced in full all week and will play in Super Bowl 50. Also, Carolina HC Ron Rivera expects DE Jared Allen (broken foot) to be ready for Super Bowl 50 … The Chiefs are “ramping up” contract discussions with impending free agent S Eric Berry. … The Saints retained Dennis Allen as defensive coordinator after he took over for Rob Ryan in mid-November 2015. … Arian Foster (Achilles’) has been cleared for “light jogging”. … Lastly, “indications suggest” impending free agent Chris Ivory will not re-sign with the Jets.