LeSean McCoy was one of the best picks of round one of fantasy drafts in 2013. Despite sliding down many draft boards, he finished as the #2 fantasy running back and he rewarded owners handsomely. In fact, outside of Jamaal Charles he was one of the few backs who remained healthy throughout the season from round one.
With all of the drama and hype around running backs not producing from round 1 in 2013 many fantasy fans are beginning to panic. Let me stop you right there, 2013 was a fluke. It's not often, if ever, that you see that many first round picks fail to live up to expectations.
If you take a look at many analysts ranks they have a combination of Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson and LeSean McCoy in the first three spots. As of now I couldn't agree more that those should be the first three players off the board in standard leagues. In fact, you could make an argument for each of them to go #1 overall.
LeSean McCoy should be heavily considered as draft pick numero uno in 2014. He's young, in an offense that demands a good and quick running game and he's proven that he can get the job done.
Why I Love LeSean McCoy
There's a lot to love about LeSean McCoy and the Eagles offense for 2014. If Nick Foles is able to pickup right where he left off we could see a fantasy value outbreak in Philly. But the real reasons I love LeSean McCoy are:
1. The Eagles Run The Ball - A Lot
Chip Kelly turned LeSean McCoy into his workhorse back in 2013. He gave him a career high of 360 touches. Undoubtly that number will fall in 2014 with the addition of Sproles, however you have to believe Chip is going to trust his guy. He has unbelievable speed and can change the game in an instant. You don't take the ball out of this guys hands.
2. He's Young and Healthy
McCoy has finished as a top-10 fantasy running back 3 of the past 5 years and there's no reason to think he's slowing down. He's at the ripe age of 26 and has been relatively healthy throughout his career. There are some injury questions around Charles and AP, although none of them are a concern going into this season.
I just like the fact that he's consistent in his fantasy production and that we haven't had a running back repeat as the #1 back in quite a few years. That means that Charles will likely slide, leaving room for someone new to take the throne.
3. He Play's the Cowboys Twice
I'm only kind of joking with this part of my analysis. Although I'd never recommend drafting someone based on a team their going to play twice, you have to love that McCoy will face the dreadful Cowboys D in weeks 13 and 15. That means that Shady will likely be running train on a Sean Lee-less defense just in time to help you make it to the playoffs, and possibly win the playoffs.
I'm not saying you'll get a Jamaal Charles type performance from him, like we got last year during the fantasy playoffs. But the potential is there.
In 2013 the Cowboys were 27th in rushing yards allowed with 128.5 per game. That's a lot of yards and fantasy points.
Don't let this fully sway your decision. But do keep it in mind.
The Downsides of LeSean McCoy
Let's be honest with each other, no one is perfect. That includes LeSean McCoy. I think he's bound for a great year, however here are some things that give me pause:
1. Darren Sproles
Sproles is used to playing in a running back by committee in New Orleans, and the reality is he'll be more of a backup/role player in Philly. However he's going to take touches away from McCoy. There's no way he doesn't. Sproles has had over 120 touches in a season, including ones where he played for less than 16 games.
The Eagles didn't bring him in to watch him sit on the bench. He'll add a nice dimension to the offense, however it will come at the cost of McCoy's production.
2. A Slowed Down Offense
Chip Kelly plays fast and loose with his offense. He'll continue to move quickly and keep teams on their toes in 2014, however I have to believe it'll slow down to some extent. This is partly combined with Sproles role on the team. I believe the running backs in Philly will see fewer touches to split between them. There will be enough to keep them both happy, it'll just come down to who can do more with what they're given.
Choosing Your First Running Back
The danger of drafting someone in the first few slots of the fantasy draft, which you'll need to be in to get McCoy, are very real. The reality is that you need to hit perfectly on your first round pick, because if they perform slightly below expectation you're at a bigger disadvantage than someone who drafted later in the round.
I believe McCoy will be worth the early pick, in fact I'm considering moving him to #1 in my fantasy rankings. However matching the required production to be considered the first pick is tough. No matter who you choose.