The Philadelphia Eagles‘ 2012 season was a train wreck; actually it was more a disaster of cataclysmic proportions. The once touted “Dream Team” never materialized as the Eagles were a team that battled injury, horrific play, poor coaching – insert pretty much anything that could go wrong for an NFL franchise – chances are it was applicable.
It was that bad.
One significant casualty of the Eagles’ trip through Hades was running back LeSean McCoy. McCoy was selected second or third in most Fantasy Football drafts last season just behind Arian Foster and maybe Ray Rice. Of course he never lived up to the preseason hype.
McCoy’s 1600 plus total yards and 20 scores in 2011 were replaced with 1200 total yards and only five scores last year. The significant variance in stats has the Fantasy Football world begging, “Will the real Shady please stand up?”
Do we anticipate the 20 score stud or the five score mediocrity in 2013?
To determine expectations, let’s evaluate the big picture in Philadelphia. Andy Reid and basically his entire coaching staff are gone. Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and the depleted offensive line are healthy once again. The Eagles drafted Lane Johnson out of Oklahoma and Zach Ertz of Stanford in the 2013 NFL Draft. The City of Brotherly Love has welcomed Chip Kelly as their head coach and Pat Shurmur as their offensive coordinator.
Simply put, these changes spell nothing but good things for McCoy in 2013. Kelly was the mastermind behind the nation’s top five offensive team, Oregon Ducks, who averaged right at 540 yards per game last season.
Think about Vick and Shady together in Kelly’s high-speed, uptempo spread offense. Pretty sweet, right? The Kelly-McCoy-Vick marriage just seems like a Fantasy Football utopia.
Shurmur was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns last season and although he was fired by the Browns in the offseason, Shurmur has to be credited for his influence on a Browns offense that showed glimpses of explosion in 2012. One key component of that Browns offense was the running game and the success of rookie Trent Richardson (who just so happens to be another top tier Fantasy Football running back).
Things are much different in Philly. The injuries are healed, the leadership has changed, there is a new attitude and of course the Eagles compete in a division not known for its defenses so they are playing a lower to middle of the road strength of schedule.
The proverbial stars are aligned, and McCoy will be a direct beneficiary.
For those GMs scorched by McCoy a season ago, I understand the apprehension in climbing back aboard the Shady bandwagon. Spending a top two or three pick on a perceived bust is a tough pill to swallow.
However, there are a few items to consider. McCoy’s “bust” season comes with an asterisk of extenuating circumstances outside of his control.
In addition, McCoy played in only 12 games in 2012. If you do an average of those 12 games and spread those totals out over 16 games it looks something like this – 15oo plus total yards and seven scores. It may not be top three numbers, but it’s not too shabby, especially understanding the Eagles’ demise.
Shady is currently ranked outside the top five of fantasy running backs in most player projections, yet he easily has top three running back potential. That makes him a bona fide candidate for the title we all look for on draft day – value pick.
Target Shady in 2013; the heartburn he left you last year will be soon forgotten.