Just as he did in 2013, Shady rebounded from a tough, injury-plagued season to be one of the most productive backs in the NFL, topping 1,500 combined yards for the fourth time and scoring double-digit rushing TDs for the second time. McCoy's 5.4 yards per carry was also the highest mark of his career as he led the entire league with 20 runs of 15 yards or more. Heading into his age-28 season, McCoy still features top-shelf elusiveness and vision while possessing enough speed to make defenders pay when they miss, and he remains a threat in the passing game. While Rex Ryan's offense leaned heavily on its top back to keep the chains moving, the Bills' offseason coaching changes could have a positive impact on McCoy's fantasy value. New offensive coordinator Rick Dennison was known for his run-heavy attacks as part of Gary Kubiak's staffs in Houston and Denver, and his teams have been in the top 10 in rushing five times in his nine years as a coordinator. With Mike Gillislee now a Patriot, McCoy seems poised to get all the touches he can handle in an offense geared towards keeping the ball on the ground. The main question will be how healthy he can stay. Although he missed only one game last season, McCoy dealt with knee and hamstring issues, had midseason surgery on his thumb and injured his ankle in Week 17.
The quality of McCoy's game improved during his first year in Buffalo, though fantasy owners might not have noticed given he missed four games with a pair of injuries (knee, hamstring). McCoy's YPC moved up a couple of ticks, and he spiked his average reception by 65 percent. His final fantasy rank (for basic scoring) has been all over the map the last six years: 8th, 2nd, 21st, 2nd, 12th, 17th. McCoy enjoyed the rushing lanes created in Buffalo's offense, benefiting from the presence of athletic quarterback Tyrod Taylor. McCoy is just entering his age-28 season and he hasn't received a silly workload through the years, though he did lead the NFL in rushing attempts three years ago (with a modest 314). There's a realistic chance he'll be discounted in some leagues because he no longer has the shiny-toy gleam to his name. We're used to McCoy by now, and we might have been let down by his 2014 season. Use that to your advantage, appreciate the floor.
Entering his second season under Chip Kelly, the sky seemed the limit for McCoy, as his off-the-charts elusiveness and pass-catching ability was a perfect fit for Kelly's wide-open offense. Historic levels of production never materialized, however, as a lingering turf toe injury combined with right tackle Lane Johnson's four-game suspension led to a slow start on the ground for McCoy, who also lost targets in the passing game to newcomer Darren Sproles. McCoy still possesses impressive speed, balance and vision when healthy, and while he's a little undersized for a feature back at 5-11, 208, and doesn't run with a lot of power, he's proven he's not afraid to mix it up between the tackles. Traded to Buffalo in the offseason, he joins a team looking for a bell cow, but while new offensive coordinator Greg Roman was happy to give Frank Gore all the carries he could handle in San Francisco, Roman didn't make full use of Gore's receiving abilities. The Bills' offensive line is also a step down from the Eagles', though Buffalo drafted mauling guard John Miller in the third round. Despite the downgrade in team context, McCoy's prospects for another productive season are bright.
Aside from Nick Foles, McCoy was perhaps the greatest beneficiary of the Chip Kelly offense last year. He easily posted the best campaign of his career – his first in which he averaged more than 100 rushing yards per game – and with his outstanding pass-catching abilities, he established himself as the top dual-threat back in the league and was particularly golden in PPR formats.
Although McCoy has shrugged off Barry Sanders comparisons, it's worth noting that Sanders himself only exceeded McCoy's total of 2,146 yards from scrimmage last season two times. It's also hard to stereotype McCoy as merely an elusive runner – he also showed a lot of power, finishing with a career-high 51 broken tackles last year, second only to Marshawn Lynch .
While his role as the Eagles' top runner is not in doubt, there's reason to believe McCoy will take a step back following his first 300-carry season. That reason is Darren Sproles, the super-talented pass-catching back whom the Eagles acquired from the Saints in March. Philadelphia's coaching staff will likely deploy Sproles in the same way New Orleans did, which makes it likely that McCoy will see his pass targets reduced this year. Further, the Eagles will likely be cognizant of potentially overusing McCoy, who hadn't played 16 games in any of the prior three seasons before last year; it's unlikely he hits 300 carries again in 2014.
Nonetheless, McCoy went into the offseason 100 percent healthy and has firmly established himself as one of the truly elite running backs in the game. Even if Sproles and third-stringer Chris Polk take a good number of touches from McCoy, the rest they'll afford him may make it worthwhile as he looks to stay healthy and deliver another Pro Bowl campaign as a featured cog in the Eagles' balanced spread attack.
McCoy was bound to regress from his 20-touchdown 2011, but five scores last year – two rushing – was a bigger letdown than most expected.
McCoy missed four games with a concussion and averaged a three-year low 4.2 YPC thanks to a beat-up offensive line and an ineffective passing game. He still averaged more than 100 yards from scrimmage, though, and should be highly productive in new coach Chip Kelly’s spread offense this season.
A bigger concern is the emergence of Bryce Brown, who displayed big-play ability in McCoy's absence. The Eagles will use both players, though as the incumbent and better all-around back, McCoy doesn't appear in danger of a dramatic loss in fantasy value. Plus, McCoy is also the better receiver – in only 12 games, he had 67 targets, seventh among running backs.
McCoy had a monster 2011, totaling 1,624 yards and easily leading all backs with 20 touchdowns (five more than any other). After seeing the third-most snaps the year prior and despite sitting out Week 17, McCoy finished with the most snaps among all running backs in football last season. Although he caught 30 fewer balls and saw his receiving yards nearly cut in half compared to 2010, his 14 carries for 20-plus yards led all backs. After getting just 11 attempts at the goal line over his first two years in the league, McCoy got 21 carries there last season, converting nine for scores. He no longer appears to be in danger of being removed from the field in any situation, and the Eagles are certainly capable of providing many scoring opportunities. Head coach Andy Reid has stated he wants to lessen McCoy’s workload, but there are few viable alternatives on the roster, and it’s not like last year’s 273 carries were exorbitant. A healthy year from Michael Vick and a bounce-back campaigns from DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin would likely lead to big offensive production in Philly, and McCoy would benefit. Although with his skills, he’s not overly dependent on team context. McCoy signed a five-year, $45 million contract in May, with $20.8 million guaranteed, so unlike Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew and Matt Forte, he’ll be a happy and willing participant all spring and summer.
After a nondescript rookie campaign, McCoy totaled 1,672 yards with nine touchdowns last year. He gained 5.2 YPC, and his 78 receptions easily led all running backs (and his 592 receiving yards trailed only Arian Foster). There’s some concern about McCoy’s touchdown potential since he received just six goal-line carries, but he also led all backs with 15 targets in the red zone, including four inside the five-yard line. Add those targets in the passing game to his six carries, and you get the same amount of goal-line attempts as Steven Jackson and Matt Forte (and one more than Brandon Jacobs). Moreover, McCoy is highly elusive and explosive, as his five rushes for 40-plus yards led the NFL, so he’s capable of scoring from anywhere on the field. McCoy only received 207 rushing attempts last year, but his 837 snaps tied for the third most among running backs, and that was with him sitting out Week 17 because Philadelphia had nothing to play for. It’s clear the Eagles rely on him heavily, and it’s a safe bet his rushing attempts increase during his third year in the league. McCoy also has the benefit of playing in a terrifically schemed Andy Reid offense that features Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Just 23, McCoy has the upside to finish as the top fantasy back in 2011.
McCoy wasn’t considered a bust during his
rookie season, but he was asked to start four
games thanks to more injuries from Brian
Westbrook, and the organization ultimately
came away disappointed in its second-round
pick. Still, a 4.1 YPC mark isn‘t awful, and he
was never given more than 20 carries in a
game, so it’s not like he was truly afforded an
opportunity to put up big stats. McCoy is never
going to be Westbrook as a receiver, but 40
catches for 308 receiving yards while learning
the pro game suggests he could fit quite nicely
into Andy Reid’s West Coast Offense.
Westbrook is gone, but the team signed Mike
Bell during the offseason, so a full workload is
hardly guaranteed in 2010. Philly has a lot of playmakers on offense, as Kevin Kolb
fits Reid’s preferred WCO even more than the
departed Donovan McNabb (and a raw QB could
also lead to more rushing attempts), while
DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek
are dangerous weapons as receivers. The Eagles
have finished as a top-six scoring offense in
three of the past four years, so this is a system
with upside. However, Michael Vick’s presence
is concerning, since he could become a TD
vulture in the red zone. But McCoy impressed
during minicamp, showing up slimmer and
exhibiting more explosiveness. He’s in the right
situation to succeed, so it’s up to him to fulfill
McCoy totaled 1,793 yards with 21 touchdowns for the University of Pittsburgh last season and possesses a similar skill set to Brian Westbrook, with terrific pass-catching ability. He needs to work on his blocking, but McCoy should immediately become Westbrook’s backup in Philadelphia. Since Westbrook has never played 16 games in a season, there’s a good chance McCoy will get an opportunity at some point, and given the kind of upside that comes with being the lead back in Philadelphia, there’s big potential here. He’s a must handcuff for Westbrook owners.