With LeSean McCoy winning the rushing title, Bryce Brown just became a lot more valuable in fantasy football. The second-year backup is now a must-own for every McCoy owner heading into next season. He was owned in 62 percent of ESPN.com leagues. I’m not sure if they all owned McCoy as well, but that would be a safe assumption.
In his first year, Brown spent most of the time on the bench. He would get a shot at the starting spot when McCoy was out with post-concussion symptoms. In his first game, he had 178 yards rushing on 19 carries, two touchdowns and four receptions for 11 yards and two fumbles.
The fumbling was an issue last year as he lost the ball two more times. Now, Brown did not start a game in 2013, but he did take care of the fumbling problem. In 75 attempts, he did not put the ball on the ground once.
The Philadelphia Eagles offense got going in the second half, scoring 29.88 points per game. As a result, McCoy was able to rest more and Brown got more playing time. He had his best game of the season against the Chicago Bears in Week 16. Brown rushed nine times for 115 yards and a score. Brown scored the NFC East-clinching touchdown in the fourth quarter in Week 17.
McCoy should be ranked as a top five running back, if not No. 1, in most 2014 preseason rankings. It’s important for owners to handcuff their star running back’s backup. If McCoy should go down, even for one game, Brown easily becomes a top 15 running back. The two backs have similar skills—breakout speed and can help in the passing game.
If you end up drafting McCoy next year, target Bryce Brown in the later rounds as a safety net.