Passing Judgment - Looking for the Real McCoy
Michael A. Stein offers advice for fantasy football GM's on what to do with LeSean McCoy.
If you had the first overall selection in your fantasy football league draft and took LeSean McCoy, please read this first before jumping off the proverbial ledge. It is indisputable that McCoy has been a major disappointment thus far and can certainly be classified as a bust thus far. It is also perfectly reasonable to start fielding trade offers for him as a last ditch effort to salvage your season, albeit at a diminished value. But before you make any impulsive decisions, you need to take a deep breath, count to ten, and relax.
Remember, there was a reason why you drafted him ahead of every single other player in the league. McCoy is a special talent who has explosive speed, great pass-catching abilities, and finds the end zone with frequency. At least, these have been qualities leading up to 2014 which made him the best option to select first overall. If you made this selection, it would be unfair and simply wrong to second guess yourself or think you made the wrong choice.
The past two weeks have magnified how disappointing McCoy has been through four games. His combined statistics between Week 3 and Week 4 are 29 rushing attempts for 39 yards with no touchdowns. That is absolutely abysmal no matter how you look at it. But you must remember that these two awful performances were against two of the better defenses against the run in the league – the Redskins and 49ers. You should not excuse these lackluster statistics or deem them acceptable, but you should understand the context of his struggles before writing McCoy off.
Right now, McCoy’s value has taken a serious hit as he is averaging an unfathomable 2.7 yards per carry with only one touchdown and has not even eclipsed 200 total rushing yards yet. Sharks can smell blood and you are likely fielding trade offers for McCoy from other league members looking to pry him away for ten cents on the dollar. But as tempting as it might be to rid yourself of this seemingly colossal mistake, you need to stop before you do something foolish. I am not saying you shouldn’t trade McCoy under any circumstances. Rather, you need to make sure you are not selling him too low.
If indeed you are insistent on trading McCoy, then you need to negotiate a deal as if his value remains generally unscathed. You might get some pushback on that, but remember this is still the top fantasy player in the league as of just a few weeks ago. He may have gotten off to a slow start, but he is healthy and quite capable of exploding with elite production as soon as this Sunday.
If you are going to engage in trade discussions, then you should look to improve your team in multiple areas when dealing away a player of McCoy’s caliber. Because you took him first or second overall in the draft, you likely had to wait over 20 picks before selecting again. This means you were probably unable to draft other elite players at different positions. If you trade McCoy, you should have every expectation to receive at least two players in return who have a lot of value. You could get a slightly less valuable running back but also obtain an elite wide receiver in a package. It is more important to have a well-balanced team at all positions than a top-heavy roster of just a couple superstars.
But despite his struggles and lack of production, you should hold onto McCoy. He is still young, athletic and healthy. He plays in the most dynamic offensive scheme in the league led by Chip Kelly’s high-octane pace. He has the fortune of having another dynamic running back in Darren Sproles to line up opposite him in the backfield which keeps opposing defenses on their toes. He has an impressive resume of multiple seasons with great statistics. Along with these individual reasons, the Eagles will also figure out their running game because they saw what happened when Nick Foles and the passing game were in disarray against San Francisco in Week 4. Chip Kelly is too smart to abandon the run again, so it should be expected that he will be very patient with McCoy and let him figure things out with a heavy workload.
The fact is that no one could have predicted how poorly McCoy was going to play through the first quarter of the season. Certainly no one would have predicted he would have two games combined in Weeks 3 and 4 that look like Peyton Hillis’s numbers in the box score. You should not play Monday morning quarterback about your decision to draft McCoy. I’d advise you to do it ten out of ten times if we had to do it over. He has the unique ability of being able to carry your fantasy team to a win on his shoulders. You just need to be patient because it will happen, and you would much prefer it happen for your team as opposed to trading him away and coming back haunt you. Plus, both Jamaal Charles and Eddie Lacy finally had their breakout games this past week after similarly slow starts. Now it is Shady’s turn to please stand up.