Bills Trade for LeSean McCoy
McCoy goes to a coach that loves his running game in Rex Ryan, and immediately becomes the team’s top offensive weapon. He’ll be leaned on plenty in the run game and should compete for the league lead in carries and rushing yards. The Bills’ starting quarterback is currently E.J. Manuel, so it makes sense that Buffalo would want to add to its tailback arsenal. That’s especially the case since C.J. Spiller won’t return and with Fred Jackson having just turned 34.
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McCoy had a down year for his standards in 2014, yet still totaled over 1,300 yards on the ground. Only DeMarco Murray had more regular season carries. McCoy’s receptions dipped down to 29 in 2014 from 56 in 2013, as Darren Sproles entered the mix and Chip Kelly’s system was integrated. It’s also worth noting McCoy’s overall PFF grade went from 27.3 (tops among backs) in 2013 to -9.3 (third worst) in 2014. A big portion of his underwhelming 2014 came from his clunker games against Washington, San Francisco and Carolina, where he managed 22 rush yards or less in each of those games. The Eagles had the best run blocking grades in the league, so the brunt of the blame may lie on McCoy.
Looking forward, McCoy lands in an interesting spot. The Bills graded out as the worst run blocking team in 2014, and despite the addition of Richie Incognito, this is something that will impact McCoy. In terms of his fantasy upside, that may be countered by the Bills’ necessity to commit to the run game given the state of their passing game. Additionally, offensive coordinator Greg Roman operated a successful run-heavy offense in San Francisco. While McCoy may defer snaps to Fred Jackson, he should still see the lion’s share of the touches, especially after the team took on his hefty salary and traded one of their top young players. There will be plenty of carries to go around, of course, as Buffalo’s four running backs totaled 360 carries last year. And that was before Ryan and Roman’s arrival.
Likely to eclipse 300 touches, McCoy definitely remains in the RB1 conversation at only 27 years old. He should also see more goal line touches this year after being replaced by Chris Polk and Darren Sproles at the goal line at times late last season. That helped explain his touchdown drop from 11 in 2013 to five in 2014. Volume is critical for fantasy running backs and McCoy will have plenty of it in Buffalo. He’ll be a borderline first-round pick in this year’s drafts.
In Philly, Polk moves to No. 1 on the depth chart, but it’s very likely that the team will add a back or two to the mix via either the draft or free agency. Sproles’ role as the primary passing-down back won’t change much, but he’s a candidate for a slight boost in carries. Polk is a worthwhile stash in dynasty leagues and not a bad sell if you can convince a leaguemate he’ll be the Eagles primary back. Matthew Tucker and Kenjon Barner are the only other two backs on the roster.