Dose: McCoy Magic

Adam Levitan
September 20, 2013
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During Barry Sanders’ 10-year career, he averaged 4.98 yards per carry, scored a rushing touchdown every 0.64 games and averaged 2.30 receptions per game. Through LeSean McCoy’s four-plus seasons, he’s averaged 4.75 yards per carry, scored a rushing touchdown every 0.52 games and averaged 3.70 receptions per game.

Those McCoy stats include 20-carry, 158-yard, one-touchdown performance in Thursday night’s Andy Reid Bowl loss to the Chiefs.

But in reality, it’s not the stats that make myself and others think of Sanders when watching McCoy play. It’s the violent juking and cutting that only a few humans on the planet can execute. McCoy gets at least 2-3 more yards than what’s blocked on every play – and often much more. It’s Barry-esque, and I don’t use that term lightly.

That’s why it was so tough for owners to watch as McCoy clutched his right ankle in pain and hobbled off late in the first half Thursday night. Luckily for us, Shady made his way back onto the field early in the second half and looked 100 percent. But it is a reminder that everyone should have Bryce Brown rostered. If you own McCoy and don’t have Brown, trade for him. If you own Brown and not McCoy, hold the McCoy owner over the coals for a deal. Losing McCoy and not getting something out of this Chip Kelly offense and dominant run-blocking offensive line would be devastating.

If were re-drafting today, McCoy would be my No. 2 overall pick – and I’d have to strongly consider taking him over Adrian Peterson.

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No, Dwayne Bowe did not get hurt Thursday night. And the Eagles didn’t do anything to take him out of the game. They just played sides with Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams, and Bowe ended up with one catch for four yards on three targets.

This is exactly what I was worried about with Bowe before the season. Yes, Andy Reid executes a pass-happy offense. But that’s mitigated by Alex Smith’s unwillingness and inability to push the ball anywhere beyond the flats. Bowe is averaging just 10.0 yards per catch on his nine receptions this season and that’s not a fluke. Coming into the year, he was at 13.8 YPC for his career. Blame Captain Checkdown Smith.

Michael Vick had a really bad game. Both of his interceptions came on poor throws and he appeared to tweak his foot on a meaningless sack/fumble with time winding down in the fourth. But Vick still had a decent fantasy day because of his legs. After rushing five times for 95 yards against the Chiefs, he’s on pace to rush 101 times for 976 yards with 10 touchdowns.

Of course, everyone assumes Vick will get hurt. And he very well might. But the upside while he’s not hurt is top-3 weekly. Vick did play in 15 games or more for the Falcons in four of his six seasons there. It’s at least possible he’ll sustain health and carry us to fantasy titles.

Jamaal Charles is on pace to catch 96 passes this season. Something like 80 is very possible with Alex Smith playing so conservatively. … Don’t buy into Donnie Avery’s massive night. The Eagles gave up underneath slants all night and then couldn’t tackle. Most secondaries would take his head off. … Brandon Flowers did a good job on DeSean Jackson. D-Jax remains a WR2 weekly. … I said it before the season and will say it again. Nate Allen and Pat Chung are the NFL’s worst safety duo. They take awful angles and can’t tackle in the open field. It’s the biggest reason the Eagles defense yields fantasy bonanzas. … Brent Celek couldn’t get open with Eric Berry matched up in 1-on-1 coverage all night. Celek did see five targets, though.

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Michael Floyd was one of my favorite sleepers coming into the season. Nothing I’ve seen through two weeks has made me come off that prediction.

Thanks to a stat called oTD created by our Mike Clay, we can quantify how close Floyd has come to big games. In Week 1, Floyd saw targets at the 2- and 8-yard line. In Week 2, he got two end-zone targets and two more inside the 8-yard line. His oTD, or scoring opportunities, currently rank seventh in the league.

With that kind of usage, it’s only a matter of time before Floyd completely busts out. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) is operating at less than 100 percent ahead of Sunday’s game against the Saints.

Mark Ingram may or may not be a good NFL player. He definitely isn’t a fit for the Saints scheme, and the franchise could finally be realizing that.

In the aftermath of Ingram’s latest failure (eight carries, 20 yards and an embarrassing goal-line failure vs. Tampa), the calls for a reduced role are growing. Beat writer Mike Triplett expects a “subtle flip-flop” to ensure, with Pierre Thomas becoming “more of a 1A and Ingram a 1B, instead of vice versa.

Ingram supporters will point to the fact that he consistently runs against stacked boxes. Well, that’s what happens when you can’t play in the passing game. Pierre Thomas doesn’t face eight-man boxes because he’s so good on screens and angle routes.

As for the short-term future, Ingram has missed two straight practices with a toe injury. Thomas’ role is going to grow in Week 3 whether Ingram suits up or not.

Louis Riddick is a former pro personnel director for the Eagles and Redskins. He now works for ESPN. I found his Wednesday evaluation of DeMarco Murray very interesting. Quote courtesy of ESPN Dallas.

“DeMarco is a hard runner, but I have always had some issues with DeMarco because he is very, very, very straight-line. He has no ability to make people miss.”

“As a matter of fact, you saw numerous times that there were some holes that DeMarco could have got through, but he is a guy who has to gather himself to really make hard, sharp cuts to exploit those running lanes. Sometimes it looks like he’s leaning so far forward he’s stumbling; his head’s down and he’ll just run into the back of his own lineman, run into holes where it’s obviously clogged up and he’s not able to move laterally.”

In re-draft formats, evaluations like this aren’t that impactful. Owners aren’t going to be able to trade Murray – and they probably shouldn’t be considering he’s one of the few running backs locked into big workloads weekly. But in Dynasty, talent trumps opportunity. Murray owners in those formats should be looking to sell.

Ray Rice (hip) isn’t practicing at all this week. He’s going to be a game-time call and Bernard Pierce is going to be a solid play no matter what. … Rashard Mendenhall (toe) missed another practice. Andre Ellington is worth adding in deeper PPR leagues just in case he ends up leading a committee against the Saints. … Maurice Jones-Drew (ankle) is optimistic he’ll play in Seattle Sunday, but fantasy owners should seek other options. He’s not practicing and won’t be 100 percent. … Le’Veon Bell (foot) is practicing again. Perhaps Week 4 is a realistic return date. … Brandon Weeden (thumb) doesn’t need surgery and could be back for Week 4. We’ll see if Brian Hoyer can put the Browns coaching staff to a decision by excelling in Week 3. … Reggie Bush (knee) remains optimistic he’ll get cleared for Sunday. Consider him 50-50 for now. … Eddie Lacy (concussion) is making progress but is not expected to play vs. the Bengals. Look for a Week 5 return.

Brandon Marshall left practice early due to a tight back. Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring) still hasn’t practiced all week, but signs point toward him playing Sunday. He’ll likely be operating at less than 100 percent. … Vernon Davis (hamstring) isn’t practicing either, but says there’s no need to worry about his health. We’ll see. … Heath Miller (knee) got in a full practice for the second straight day. He’s on track to get some snaps in Week 3. … Patrick Edwards (ankle) looks like he’ll be out, possibly giving Ryan Broyles a shot. … Nothing new on Rob Gronkowski (back). He’s practicing on a limited basis and is questionable at best for Week 3. … Roddy White (ankle) practiced on a limited basis. It’s an upgrade from the Thursday ahead of Week 2, when he didn’t practice at all. … Andre Johnson (concussion) is ready to rock.

The Colts aren’t going to mess around. Newly acquired Trent Richardson is going to play in San Francisco Sunday and get as much work as he can handle. I’m playing him where I have him. … OC Jay Gruden said he expects a 50-50 timeshare between Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis “sooner than later.” This confirms that he does, in fact, have a pair of eyes. … Colts promoted Da’Rick Rogers off their practice squad. He’s a name to watch in the wake of Dwayne Allen’s season-ending hip injury. The Colts are going to use a lot more “11” personnel groupings. … Coach Leslie Frazier on Cordarrelle Patterson’s 12 snaps through two weeks: “It’s just an oversight on our part; a major oversight.” … There’s speculation that the Bucs will take Darrelle Revis out of his comfort zone and put him in the slot to match up with Julian Edelman. I’m not so sure. Revis rarely plays the slot and the Bucs haven’t used him as a shadow guy. … Ben Roethlisberger says Markus Wheaton is “more than ready” and expects him to have a real role Week 3. There’s deep-league stash appeal with both Wheaton and Patterson.