Fantasy football debate: LeSean McCoy vs. Melvin Gordon

Melvin Gordon managed 12 TDs in 13 games in 2016. But can he do it again in 2017?
Melvin Gordon managed 12 TDs in 13 games in 2016. But can he do it again in 2017?

In this today’s version of Spin Doctors, fantasy MDs Liz Loza and Brad Evans examine the merits of LeSean McCoy (8.7 ADP, RB4) and Melvin Gordon (9.7, RB5). Loza does a shimmy for Shady. While, Brad, goes ga-ga for Gordon. Which RB are you more likely to roster? Peruse their perspectives and then add your own thoughts in the comments section below.

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Evans goes all-in on Gordon: Full admission, I’m completely infatuated with Gordon. Routinely slotted in the 6-9 spot in several drafts, I giddily put my eggs in the same basket every time. Practice what you preach, right?

Anyone who speaks harshly about the Bolt is whiffing on a slow-pitched softball. He’s a quality talent fixed in an every-down role. The Chargers coaching staff, specifically head coach Anthony Lynn, steadfastly believes they can shift Gordon’s game into another gear via its freshly implemented zone-blocking scheme. In what should be a prolific scoring offense, which includes a reinforced offensive line despite rookie Forrest Lamp’s season-ending ACL injury, Lynn’s desire will undoubtedly become a reality.

Nimrods will continue to point to the back’s unsavory YPCs (’15: 3.5; ’16: 3.9) as the main motivation to avoid investment. That’s a misconception. His large goal-line yield (21 carries in 13 games last season) naturally deflated his YPC. Also, on a 77.4 percent opportunity share in 2016, which could rise with zero competition for touches this year, he ranked top-12 in yards after contact per game, total evaded tackles and breakaway runs (dashes of 15-plus yards) – data that clearly proves his overall efficiency.

To be fair, it’s unlikely he’ll repeat his near TD per game average, however, volume is king in fantasy and Gordon is a certified Jon Snow. If he holds up physically over 16 games, he finishes near 1,800 combined yards with 11-14 TDs.

Don’t listen to the lamebrains. Gordon is every bit an intelligent Round 1 pick. Really, he deserves top-five consideration post-Zeke suspension.

Oh, and Liz, why the sudden 180 on McCoy? Didn’t you say he wouldn’t exceed 950 rushing yards? Explain yourself …

Liz Loza says signing LeSean McCoy up in Round 1 is a wise move. (AP)
Liz Loza says signing LeSean McCoy up in Round 1 is a wise move. (AP)

Loza makes a case for McCoy: In 2016, LeSean McCoy averaged the fourth most fantasy points per week. The year prior, he averaged the eleventh most fake football points per outing. Posting RB1 numbers five of the past seven seasons, McCoy has been one of the most consistent producers at the position.

Showcasing a baller spin move and sure hands, Shady is among the top-five most elite dual threats in the league. Last year, at 28-years-old old, McCoy showed no signs of slowing down, racking up the sixth most yards after contact (416), the most breakaway runs (20), and the second best catch rate among RBs (87.9%).

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Some people (*cough*) may argue that without Anthony Lynn in Buffalo, those numbers are bound to slip. I say those people need to check out Rich Dennison’s body of work. The Bills’ new OC has a rich history of utilizing his running backs via the air.

Last year, with Dennison calling the plays, C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker together averaged 6.3 targets per contest. Heck, the RBs in Houston managed over 100 looks three of the four years Dennison was in charge. And we all know what he did for Arian Foster’s career. Shady may not pound the ground as much in 2017, but his work as a pass-catcher will more than make up for it, especially with Sammy Watkins moving West.

I get the Gordon love. The aforementioned Lynn certainly knows how to work an RB. But I think Gordon has already been worked a bit too hard. Before going down with ankle and hip injuries in Week 14, he was on pace to carry the ball 336 times. For reference, no back has tallied that many totes since DeMarco Murray’s epic 2014 season. And Murray wore down significantly as that year progressed.

Understanding then that Gordon has already undergone microfracture surgery, and, noting his struggles with efficiency, I don’t believe he’ll have the juice to top his 2016 effort. Right now Gordon’s stock is at peak value, leaving little room for a potential regression. In the first round, I’d rather stick with the proven talent. Shady. All. The. Way.

Get ready for your Fantasy Football draft.
Get ready for your Fantasy Football draft.

Follow our fearless forecasters on Twitter – Liz (@LizLoza_FF) and Brad (@YahooNoise).