So what do you do if you’re about to pick in the first round of your draft and you have to choose between LeSean McCoy and Trent Richardson?
Richardson is coming off a surprising season for the Cleveland Browns, having scored 12 total touchdowns on one of the worst offenses in the NFL last year, not to mention he was also playing injured throughout most of the season. McCoy, on the other hand, is coming off an extremely disappointing 2012 campaign for the Philadelphia Eagles, where he only found pay dirt a total of five times despite missing four games due to injury.
So how does one decide who the better pick is? It really all comes down to perhaps the most important aspect when ranking players for fantasy: upside.
Richardson had no trouble finding the end zone last season, but there is no guarantee that will keep up when playing for the Browns. Before finishing 24th last season in total points scored, the Browns were 29th or worse in the league in scoring, going all the way back to the 2008 season. While you could argue that the Browns could be turning a corner ,this wouldn’t be the first time a Browns’ running back had a breakout season and then failed to follow it up. Many fans remember Peyton Hillis, whose breakout 2010 season landed him the cover of Madden, and has since then been an afterthought for many teams. Not saying that Richardson will be anything like Hillis, as they are completely different backs, but they had similar QB issues. If Brandon Weeden can start to play like a first-round pick, defenses will not be able to hone in on Richardson, giving him a chance to have a great follow-up season.
Entering 2012, McCoy was ranked in the top five for fantasy running backs and for good reason. McCoy was coming off a monster season in which he had 20 total touchdowns and over 1,600 total yards. However, he did not even come close to meeting the lofty expectations set for him. As 2013 rolls around, the Eagles are looking to put their horrid 2012 season behind them. With new head coach Chip Kelly calling the plays, there is much optimism on the offensive side of the ball. Kelly ran a fast-paced, up-tempo offense that featured a ton of run plays at his time at Oregon. Whether or not it will translate to the NFL remains to be seen, but if one thing is for sure, McCoy will be running the ball a ton.
Draft Decision: This decision could really come down to how you’re feeling on the day of the draft. If Richardson remains healthy for the whole season, he’s probably the safer pick. McCoy, on the other hand, will give you greater upside and could be a player who can carry your team to the playoffs.
I would have to give the edge to LeSean McCoy on this one. McCoy has the ability and talent around him to gain over 10 TDs, whereas Richardson will have to claw his way just to reach double-digit TDs.