Kansas City's Jamaal Charles and Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy, two of the younger running backs in the NFL, are both looking to make a huge splash in 2010.
Charles had an incredible second half run in 2009, piling up a remarkable 658 rushing yards over the last four weeks of the season.
Meanwhile, McCoy showed enough promise in his rookie season (945 combined yards) for the Eagles to release long-time favorite/starter Brian Westbrook during the off-season.
McCoy and Charles both look primed for a breakout year. But, sometimes the road isn't paved with gold.
The Chiefs signed experienced workhorse back Thomas Jones, raising questions about Charles' role in Kansas City. Around the same time, the Eagles signed former New Orleans running back Mike Bell. Bell will provide competition for McCoy in Philadelphia.
As we inch toward fantasy draft season, which of these two ball-carriers should climb higher on your running back wish list? Here now is the latest installment of Jon Rascon and Jeremy Fischer, battling it out in a fantasy football Head2Head.
Jeremy : Are we really even discussing this? Unless you play in a PPR league, this isn't even a debate because Andy "I have a running back?" Reid never runs the ball in his offense.
Yes, the Chiefs signed Thomas Jones in free agency. But Jones is 31 years old, and there is probably a very good reason why the Jets (who run the ball more than Woody Hayes) let him go. Jones will be their short yardage, and possibly goal line guy; an area that Charles was slight in last year because of his size. But Charles is a threat to break it every time his touches the rock.
I do have some concern for the amount of touchdowns Charles might get because of Jones being there. But considering Charles went over 1,000 yards rushing in only half a season last year, he'll be the number one in K.C. Now if you play in a PPR league, well, that is a different story.
Jon : It's a different story regardless bud. When I saw the Head2Head schedule, this was one of the match-ups I immediately looked forward to.
LeSean McCoy is about to do some big things in this league.
Last year, we got glimpses of what is to come. McCoy accounted for 945 total yards while he shared time. Was there a "quieter 945-total yard season" than McCoy had last year? This year, he WILL be the man from the start. And, with no real competition for consistent carries, even in the Eagles' pass-happy offense, "Shady" will get more than enough opportunities to use 2010 to stamp himself as an elite fantasy superstar.
While I'll grant you that Charles is a threat to house it every time he touches the ball, I'd be remiss if I didn't question the opposition Charles "blew up" against.
Looking back at 2009, you'll see some distinguished run-defense stalwarts such as the Denver Broncos (259 yards), Cleveland Browns (154 yards) and the Buffalo Bills (143 yards) littered among his best days. Not exactly "Steel Curtain" material, eh?
And speaking of the Steel Curtain, how did Charles do against a "real" team such as Pittsburgh last year? I'll tell ya, he averaged a meager 3.4 yards per attempt. I think the questions of him being able to handle a workhorse role are legit.
That's why I am not about to sell Thomas Jones short at this point, even at 31 years old. Jones racked up 331 carries last year. He still has some juice left.
Even if the Chiefs use him in a part time role, that would SEVERELY limit Charles upside. That's why McCoy, with his unlimited upside, is the pick here.
Jeremy Rebuttal : Per usual, your arguments are weaker than LeBron's elbow. First, don't come at me with the "he didn't do it against good defenses” argument. You know, as well as I do, that it is all about matchups. Every week.
Every running back's schedule will have some terrible defenses he'll run against, and some good ones. Speaking of which, I wonder what your boy McCoy's rushing yardage was against the same bad Denver defense you cited. Twenty seven yards. Nice.
Second, your man does not have "unlimited upside" simply because Westbrook has been sent packing, along with his buddy Donovan. Westbrook was hurt for eight games last season. McCoy was "the man" for half the freaking season last year.
In those games Westbrook was gone, McCoy never once rushed for 100 yards. His best effort was a 99-yard performance against the Bears; which by the way, fits right in with your argument against Charles. The Bears defense was atrocious last year.
Finally, you seem to be selling low on Charles' ability to catch passes out of the backfield. In fact, Charles had almost as many receiving yards as your new "man" in Philly. Charles finished with 297 yards receiving, while McCoy finished with 308 yards receiving. Oh yeah, your boy never scored a receiving touchdown last year, while Charles did.
So in Charles you're getting just as good a receiver, but a better runner.
If you take McCoy over Charles, then you are the one that's "shady".
Jon Rebuttal : Remember in my opening, I said, “ It's a different story regardless bud. When I saw the Head2Head schedule, this was one of the match-ups I immediately looked forward to? ” The reason I said this was not because I was going to try and hammer home a win for Shady over Charles via head2head… but rather going a different route. You ready for the fantasy football version of the “Rope-a-Dope”?
Let me ask you… Who do you like better? Reggie Wayne or Braylon Edwards? Roddy White or Donald Driver? Philip Rivers or Carson Palmer? LOL. I already know the thoughts and questions that are going through your mind right now, Jeremy.
“Duh! Wayne, White and Rivers, those were easy questions!”
“I wonder if 'The Situation' is on twitter? I can’t wait for Season 2 of the Jersey Shore!”
But the question I’m going to focus on is, “What do those cats have to do with this argument anyway?”
Got a pen and paper?
Those cats are the difference in selecting Jamaal Charles vs. LeSean McCoy.
Hands down, Jeremy. Let me finish first.
Jamaal Charles, on average, is currently being drafted #24 overall in mock drafts. LeSean McCoy is being drafted, on average, at the #62 slot in these same drafts.
Drafting today, if you want Jamaal Charles, you’ll have to take him in the second round, and the cats that will be available at the #62 slot include the likes of Carson Palmer, Braylon Edwards and Donald Driver - a HUGE drop off from the likes of Reggie Wayne, Roddy White and Philip Rivers.
If you wait and select McCoy (roughly in the fifth round), you’d be free to scoop up one of those cats in the second round. So when you combine this with the reasons I outlined in my opening, you’re absolutely right, this isn’t even a question. McCoy, by virtue of value , is the EASY head2head winner here.
So there you have it. Two exciting young running backs about to enter their prime. Who you rolling with in this discussion? Jeremy and Jamaal and “bottom line” stats strategy? Or do you roll with Jon and value-based approach?
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