It took only one half of football, but LeSean McCoy is now leading the NFL in rushing (20 carries for 115 yards).— Numbers Never Lie (@ESPN_Numbers) September 10, 2013
That was the beginning of a career night for McCoy, who ran for a personal best 184 yards on 31 carries in the Eagles' 33-27 road win. Considering his workload and the effectiveness with which he performed in the first 30 minutes of the Eagles' season, his fantasy outlook is extremely promising.
McCoy had the best rushing performance in a road opener since 2000, per ESPN Stats & Info:
LeSean McCoy: 184 rushing yards ... most by a player in a road opener since Duce Staley had 201 for the 2000 Eagles (against Cowboys)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 10, 2013
As recently as 2011, the superstar led the league with 17 rushing touchdowns and 20 total, but missed four games in the team's second-consecutive letdown season last year, and racked up just 820 yards rushing and five total touchdowns.
Fantasy owners shied away from "Shady" last year, but he is once again a dependable commodity. The Eagles ran the reigning NFC East division champions off their own home field, with McCoy leading the charge.
The Eagles' uptempo style allowed them to squeeze in a whopping 30 rushing attempts and 53 total plays in the opening half. ESPN Stats & Info points out how that's more plays than the Carolina Panthers ran in the entire game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday:
The Eagles ran 53 plays in the first half. That's more than the Panthers ran in Sunday's GAME— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 10, 2013
Kelly's innovative schemes have had Washington's defense scrambling and on its heels all night long, as FedEx Field has seemed to tilt downhill in favor of the visitors.
Backup running back Bryce Brown is extremely talented, and received six carries in the first half. However, that is behind McCoy by nearly a 4-1 ratio, and McCoy already eclipsed his average number of carries of 16 from 2012:
LeSean McCoy, who averaged 16 carries per game last year, just got his 16th carry.— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) September 10, 2013
In a nutshell, the real McCoy of old is back anew, because that 16 number nearly doubled.
Brown finished with nine carries for only 25 yards, so he shouldn't necessarily challenge for more touches.
Who will run for more yards in 2013?
It certainly didn't hurt in McCoy's best season as a pro in 2011, when Vick ran for 589 yards and only one touchdown. This new attack likely calls for more designed runs, but given the number of hits Vick has taken in recent years, the Eagles will be doing everything possible to keep him healthy.
The league has also ruled that quarterbacks can be hit like regular ball-carriers on read-option plays. That only caters to more touches for McCoy.
On Philadelphia's first possession of the second half, that exact zone-read concept was run, and McCoy made multiple defenders miss in space and scampered for an easy 34-yard touchdown.
He's found the end zone once already, and given the nose McCoy has had for breaking the plane in the past, that total will undoubtedly continue to rise as 2013 progresses.
McCoy was already a must-start in fantasy, but with his receiving ability and the Eagles' blindingly quick pace, he could very well become the top running back in football this season.