The top two running backs from the 2013 fantasy football season are at the top of the draft board where they belong. So will it be LeSean McCoy or Jamaal Charles who puts up the better numbers in 2014? Picking between these two is a pretty nice problem to have.
Let’s look at some pros for McCoy. His offensive line is strong but getting up there in age. He’s a dual-threat featured back in what’s expected to be one of the NFL’s best offenses. On top of that, the recent turf toe injury scare is likely nothing to worry about, as he’s practiced in full since then.
Last year’s rushing yards leader does have some question marks heading into the 2014 season. First there is a good chance his touches take a hit with the addition of Darren Sproles, especially in the receiving game. Furthermore, without DeSean Jackson around stretching the field, McCoy’s rushing lanes may not be as big.
Possibly the most concerning are his goal line touches. The Philadelphia Eagles averaged 417.3 yards per game last season, and that only translated to 11 total touchdowns for McCoy.
Now here are some positives for Charles. First, he was responsible for 37 percent of the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense in 2013, and Andy Reid has no intentions of using him any less. He led the league with 19 total touchdowns, and now that he gets goal-line touches; and given his role in the receiving game, it’s safe to expect him to be among the league-leaders again. On the negative side, Charles will run behind a much weaker offensive line than McCoy, and the Chiefs face a tougher schedule.
These two are arguably the most explosive playmakers in the league. There will be no better combinations of safe plays with upside in fantasy football. The big difference between these guys is their respective roles with their teams. There is no reason to believe Charles will see a decrease in touches, but the addition of Sproles signals at least a declined role in the passing game for McCoy.
The fact that Charles has never averaged less than 5.0 yards per carry in his career should soften concerns about the Chiefs’ offensive line. And in the passing game (where he led the Chiefs with 70 grabs for 693 yards last season), the line will be of smaller consequence.
McCoy should have another monster season, but fewer touchdowns and the fear of a smaller workload give Charles a slight edge. Both players topped their career-highs in touchdowns by a mile with Reid calling plays for them. McCoy had 20 with Reid in 2011, which is nine more than he had with Chip Kelly. Charles’ 19 scores in his first season with Reid were 11 more than his previous best.