LeSean McCoy, Ronald Jones II's Fantasy Outlook with Tom Brady's Buccaneers

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2020

Kansas City Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy (25) celebrates his touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Ed Zurga/Associated Press

Agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Thursday that veteran running back LeSean McCoy agreed to a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which further complicates the Bucs' backfield situation from a fantasy football perspective.

McCoy is joining 2018 second-round pick Ronald Jones II, 2020 third-round pick Ke'Shawn Vaughn and Dare Ogunbowale as the top running backs on Tampa's depth chart.

The Bucs figure to have a pass-heavy offense in 2020 with Bruce Arians as the head coach and Tom Brady at quarterback, especially since he will have an impressive allotment of weapons that includes wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, as well as tight ends Rob Gronkowski and O.J. Howard.

The 32-year-old McCoy spent last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, but he often took a backseat to Damien Williams and finished with just 465 rushing yards and four touchdowns, plus 28 receptions for 181 yards and one score.

McCoy is a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro, however, and he has proved to be a strong pass-catcher during his career with 503 receptions for 3,797 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has also reached the 50-catch mark in a season five times and never caught less than 28 passes in a single season.

Brady values running backs who can catch the ball out of the backfield and give him a safety valve, which is precisely the role James White played for Brady in the New England Patriots' offense in recent years.

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McCoy is more of an all-round running back than White, but he seems like a strong candidate to earn the third-down role thanks to his sure hands and experience as a pass protector. Because of that, McCoy figures to have the highest floor of any Bucs running back in 2020.

That doesn't mean Jones won't have value, though, as he did some impressive things last season after what was essentially a lost rookie campaign in 2018.

Jones rushed for 724 yards and six touchdowns, and he showed he has receiving chops by catching 31 balls for 309 yards.

While that suggests Jones may have what it takes to be an every-down back, it is easier to envision Brady being more comfortable with a veteran like Shady in third-down situations since he likely has a better understanding of blitz pickups.

Even so, Jones could play a role similar to what Sony Michel did behind Brady in New England the past two years. Michel topped 900 rushing yards in each of the past two seasons and had some fantasy value as a FLEX play.

The problem that exists for Jones is that Vaughn has a chance to cut into his workload. Tampa Bay spent a third-round pick on Vaughn this year, which suggests Arians envisions a role for him in the offense fairly early on.

McCoy doesn't have as much to worry about in that regard since he is by far the most veteran of the running backs on the roster and should have a secure role.

Both McCoy and Jones should be selected in your fantasy draft, but at a level no higher than a FLEX. Depending on either player to be an RB2 throughout the season isn't likely to end well.

Vaughn is worth a flier in the later rounds as well, and he could end up being one of the steals of your draft if he beats out Jones and takes the bulk of the snaps on first and second down.  

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