When LeSean McCoy entered the league, you could say he came in at the right time. McCoy joined a Philadelphia Eagles team that was in transition even though many may not have known that at the beginning of the 2009 season. This was a team that in 2008, made it to the NFC Championship game only to lose to the Arizona Cardinals, who would go on to lose in the Super Bowl to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This was a team that had been long led by quarterback Donovan McNabb, whose last season, it turns out, was McCoy’s rookie season. This was a team whose starting running back at the time was Brian Westbrook, a running back who would finish his career with over 10,000 all-purpose yards to his credit. In whose own right, Westbrook was one of the greatest running backs to play on the gridiron as a non-traditional running back who could catch the ball out of the backfield for big gains. One could say McCoy started his professional career in the shadows of greatness. But as they say, “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”
McCoy entered the league as a second round draft back in 2009, and a late round pick to boot. To some back then, that may have seemed too high. To others today, it was a steal!
In 2009, McCoy was the back-up to Brian Westbrook. Westbrook was coming off a slightly down season which saw his yardage totals fall from 1,333 yards rushing and 771 yards receiving in 2007 to 936 yards receiving and 402 yards rushing in 2008. Westbrook had touched the football a career high three hundred and sixty eight times in 2008. Possibly thinking ahead, or eyeing the prospect of getting a good running back to back up a veteran who had yet to have a complete season, the Eagles drafted McCoy with the fifty-third overall pick of the 2009 draft.
While LeSean had issues one sees in young pro running backs, from difficulty blocking to learning to protect the football, McCoy had the ‘good things’ too. He had the moves to evade a tackler. He had the speed, burst, acceleration, and explosion to avoid pursuit. He had the good hands to catch the ball out of the backfield. He had the ability to break a tackle for a long run. And, he had that all important nose for the end zone. McCoy was in the right place, at the right time.
In 2009, Brian Westbrook battled injury and started seven of eight games. While McCoy didn’t carry the load his rookie season, he still started four of sixteen games, and finished with 195 touches for over 1,000 all-purpose yards and 4 touchdowns. In 2010, everything changed. In Brian Westbrook’s last season with the Eagles, McCoy took over as the lead running back and finished the season with 207 rush attempts for 1,080 yards. Those numbers were padded by an exceptional 592 yards receiving, and 9 touchdown scores. These were good numbers and McCoy would do better.
His great sophomore season was followed up by a breakout 2011 season where McCoy touched the ball 321 times for 1,309 yards rushing, 315 yards receiving and 20 touchdowns. Incredible! It was believed McCoy had climbed the mountain but may not have reached the top. Today, LeSean is just twenty-five years old. In 2010, he was a top-five fantasy draft pick but ended being one of the season’s biggest disappointments in a season cut short by injury. In any case, even if McCoy finished the season, he was far below his 2010 career highs. In fact, the entire Eagles team struggled so much so that management fired then head coach Andy Reid, whose offensive scheme as well as his leadership seemed to stall. The Eagles then hired college coach standout Chip Kelly for the 2013 season. It was hoped his leadership and the installation of his offensive scheme would invigorate a team that seemed to have lost some direction. And, it did.
In 2013, LeSean “Shady” McCoy is having his second breakout season as a professional running back. In thirteen games, he has amassed 1,305 yards rushing, 439 yards receiving and 8 scores on 301 touches. McCoy is at present, the rushing leader in the league with 1,305 yards. At his current pace, McCoy will shatter some of his 2011 numbers including touches by an additional 48, rushing yardage by an additional 297 yards, and receiving yardage by an additional 225 yards. Among other accolades this season, McCoy broke the Eagles single game rushing record last weekend when he ran for 217 yards from scrimmage against the Detroit Lions. More importantly, the Eagles have the No. 1 rushing offense in the league (158.5 YPG).
This week, McCoy takes on a Vikings rush defense that is generously giving up an average of 150 all-purpose yards and a touchdown to opposing running backs. Based on McCoy’s track record, if anyone can do better, McCoy can. But even if he can’t do better, McCoy is still on track to be a top play this week. LeSean McCoy is the top running back play for The Fantasy Greek in Week 15. LeSean McCoy is The Fantasy Greek’s fantasy football player of the week.
For more Top 5 starts at the quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, kicker, and defense/special team positions, visit TheFantasyGreek.com, “Your Second Opinion For Your Fantasy Football Instinct.”
Written By: Jim Saranteas – @TheFantasyGreek and @JimSaranteas on Twitter
Founder of the fantasy football advice site TheFantasyGreek.com
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