May 12, 2010
Running back Brian Westbrook was both tantalizing and frustrating to fantasy football owners during his years with the Philadelphia Eagles. When healthy, he was a true double threat who could rack up points running the ball or catching it out of the backfield, which only cause his constant nagging injuries to lead to much hair-pulling and consternation. And, truth be told, it was impossible to know when and if he was ever really healthy. So, some relief comes in the fact that Westbrook is no longer an Eagle, and our fantasy focus can turn to another multi-purpose running back in Philly – LeSean McCoy.
As a rookie last season, McCoy, a second-round pick from Pitt, led the Eagles in rushing attempts (155), rushing yards (637), and rushing scores (4), while also collecting 40 receptions for 308 yards. In the seven games in which McCoy received double-digit carries, he ran for at least 4.2 yards in all but two of those games and had a season YPC average of 4.1 yards.
McCoy, who is reportedly in very good shape this off-season, clearly has the game to be a big-time fantasy contributor. But, will he get the opportunity? Even with Westbrook gone, McCoy isn’t assured of receiving a vast increase in touches out of the Eagles’ backfield. Philadelphia acquired fullback Leonard Weaver last season, and he was second on the team in rushing with 323 yards. The Eagles also signed running back Mike Bell away from the Saints as a free agent this off-season. Bell actually had better overall numbers than McCoy last season, running for 654 yards and scoring five rushing touchdowns. Bell isn’t flashy and is more of a north-south runner than McCoy, but he’s also bigger and threatens to take goal-line carries from McCoy.
Still, even with Weaver and Bell, the most talented man in the Eagles backfield is McCoy. He may not get to 1,000 rushing yards this season, but then, Westbrook only did that twice in his career and still managed to be a fantasy stalwart due to the combination of touchdowns he scored both on the ground and receiving. And that’s one aspect of the game in which McCoy is far superior to either Bell or Weaver; and we all know how much Andy Reid enjoys heaving the ball, which works heavily in McCoy’s favor, especially in PPR leagues, where his value is greater than it will be in standard leagues. So, don’t hesitate to pick up McCoy as one of the stronger RB3 options in fantasy, and don’t be surprised at the end of the season if he puts up the numbers of a RB2.
Have an opinion on LeSean McCoy’s prospects for 2010? If so, let us know!
To see more Crystal Balls predictions go here… 2010 Fantasy Football Crystal Balls