2011 Fantasy Outlook: At 22, LeSean McCoy Is the Future of Fantasy Running Backs
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For as lost as LeSean McCoy looked (at times) throughout his 2009 rookie campaign, the 22-year-old running back seemed equally as comfortable with his role in the Eagles’ offense in 2010. His forgettable first season in the pros would quickly be swept under the rug, as he began the year determined to prove he was worth the second-round draft pick Philly had used on him.
Just two weeks into the season, LeSean was turning some major heads as he had already accumulated 210 total yards, nine receptions, four rushing touchdowns, an average of 6.7 yards per carry and 22.5 fantasy points per game.
After five weeks, those numbers would still be going strong with 583 total yards, 28 receptions, five rushing TDs, a 5.4 YPC and 17.7 fantasy points per game.
At this point, McCoy’s many skeptics had no choice but to rethink their first impression, but there was one question that still needed to be answered: Could a diminutive 5’10”, 198-pound back continue at this pace and withstand the rigors of a full 16-game season?
The reply would turn out to be a resounding ‘Yes.’
When McCoy’s sophomore season concluded, the numbers would speak for themselves: 1,080 yards rushing (14th in the league) on 5.2 yards per carry, 78 receptions (first amongst RBs), 592 receiving yards (second), 1,672 total yards (fourth), nine total TDs (seven rushing, two receiving) and 14.7 fantasy points per game (sixth).
LeSean certainly has the speed and explosiveness to do well at the pro level, as well as the receiving skills to keep defenses guessing. However, what we didn’t figure into the equation was that he also owns a deceptive amount of strength and the tenacity it takes to be an exceptional between-the-tackles runner. Combine these previously unknown features with the skills we already knew he possessed, and we’re suddenly looking at a top-10 fantasy force for years to come.
I’d like to see McCoy put up another year like last season before I etch him in as a fantasy RB1 for good, but all signs point up for the kid in 2011, so don’t fall asleep on draft day if the Eagles young running back is still sitting there at either the end of the first round or beginning of the second.
2011 Pros & Cons
(+) McCoy might be the fastest back in the league not named Chris Johnson (McCoy once recorded a 4.25 40-yard dash)
(+) In just his second year, McCoy led the league in running back receptions (78) and looks like he’ll be an elite PPR guy for years to come
(+) LeSean seems to have picked up where perennial Top-10 fantasy RB Brian Westbrook left off. He might even turn out to be a better fit than Westy was in this Eagles offensive scheme
(+) Big Play Ability—Averaged 5.2 YPC on 207 carries and almost 23 yards per touchdown on his seven rushing TDs
(+) At 22 years old, he still has a lot of room to grow
(+) Came in eighth in total RB fantasy points and sixth in fantasy points per game
(–) With Vick entrenched as the starting QB, LeSean will have no choice but to share carries with him as long as they’re both healthy
(–) Averaged just 19 touches per game while chalking up just one game all year with 20+ carries
(–) Due to his size (5’11”, 208 pounds), McCoy won’t be used around the goal-line as often as fantasy owners might like
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