- Fantasy Football 2015: Week 1 Takeaways - Sep 17, 2015
- Fantasy Football 2015: Who’s Number One? - Sep 8, 2015
- Fantasy Football 2015: Sam Bradford, Chip Kelly and Love - Sep 2, 2015
Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?
Through four weeks in the NFL campaign, Eagles All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy has accumulated just over 31 fantasy points. That means that 26 other running backs in the league have scored more fantasy points than McCoy, who was a consensus top-three fantasy draft pick. McCoy is averaging an uncharacteristic 2.7 yards per carry thus far and, according to Pro Football Focus, is averaging an awful 0.16 fantasy points per snap. That’s worse than the likes of Darren McFadden and Toby Gerhart, for instance. The Eagles offensive line is in shambles right now, and the offense is coming off a comical performance. But with the terrible start to the season for one of the best rushers in football, two small words come to mind.
This is the stock report, and McCoy is clearly one of the most polarizing players in fantasy, especially right now. Let’s look at some trends with the Eagles offense that are sure to change. First of all, they are running the football just 36.16 percent of the time, which is the third-lowest rate in the NFL thus far. To ensure you that this is an anomaly, they finished 6th in the league in rushing play percentage a season ago. Also, despite scoring just one rushing touchdown through four weeks, the opportunity is there.
Red Zone Rushes
Here’s another stat for you. The Eagles offense ranks dead last in time of possession (24:21), and McCoy isn’t getting enough volume. The Eagles have also gotten off to slow starts each week, forcing them to throw the football a lot during the second half. That will surely change, and I think it starts this week against a Rams defense that is surrendering 155 rushing yards per contest, the third-worst in football. And, of course, the offensive line is beat up, dealing with replacement level guys outside of Jason Peters. They’ll get Lane Johnson back from suspension this week, while Jason Kelce and Evan Mathis will be back in a few weeks.
Time is running out to buy an elite running back low. Do it.
Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans- I’m putting him here again, because the opportunity to get him on the cheap is still there–for now. Sankey, my love entering the draft, continues to hint towards the starting role in Tennessee. On Sunday, Sankey played more snaps than the plodding Shonn Greene, playing 46 percent of the Titans’ snaps in the contest. Unfortunately, he didn’t start playing until garbage time, carrying the ball just six times for 34 yards and a touchdown, while adding two receptions. For the season, Sankey now has leaped Greene in total snaps (68-67) and despite Ken Wisenhunt’s crazy infatuation with Sankey’s footwork, he is going to be the featured back sooner than later, and his breakout game could occur next week against the 28th-ranked Browns run defense that is allowing 153.7 rushing yards per contest and allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing rushers. He’s still available in over 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Stop the madness.
Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns- With Ben Tate coming back to the Browns lineup this week, many fantasy owners will be off the Browns young running backs now. Use this to your advantage and get a guy like Crowell on the super cheap, or, target him on your waiver wire (only owned in 24 percent of leagues). Crowell has been the best rusher in Cleveland thus far, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns. And he’s taking advantage of his snaps, as only Marshawn Lynch is averaging more standard fantasy points per snap than Crowell’s 0.45. Even though Tate is back, you know he’s going to get hurt again. This is a guy who has already missed two games and has missed 40 percent of his career regular season games to this point of his career. Crowell is going to have a ton of value the rest of the way.
Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers- “He’s raw.” “Rookie wide receivers never prosper in fantasy.” I’ll admit it, I said both of these things about him, but through four weeks, Kelvin Benjamin is the number-seven fantasy wide receiver. He’s caught 21 of his 36 targets for 329 yards and three touchdowns thus far. He’s been spectacular, and if you are looking to acquire him in a trade, I wouldn’t be opposed to it. The dude is legit, and has the chance to be even better than he is. For some reason. Benjamin, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound freak, only has seen two red zone targets through four weeks. Granted, the Panthers haven’t been in the red zone a whole lot, but still, with no running game and Cam Newton not using his legs, Benjamin should be the first target between the twenties. He should be a top-20 fantasy receiver the rest of the way, and I wouldn’t sell high.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos- An easy one for me, but so many people are worried about Thomas. Through three games, he has just 13 catches for 141 yards and one touchdown, and Emmanuel Sanders has been the best Broncos wideout. However, Thomas has just missed having a few big fantasy games, missing some touchdowns. And he still ranks second in the NFL in red zone targets (7), plays in the best offense in football and with the way Denver is (or isn’t) running the football, expect Petyon Manning to be looking his way a lot. Get him on the cheap, if possible.
Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins- As the starting running back in South Beach, Miller has put together back-to-back productive outings. Over his last two games, he has accumulated 172 rushing yards, two rushing scores and six catches. But that was against the Oakland Raiders run defense that ranks second-worst in football and a weaker Chiefs defensive unit. Now with Knowshon Moreno expected to be back during Week 6, and Miami having a Week 5 bye, Miller’s value is as high as it will ever be. Moreno is expected to serve as the number one back once he returns, and will certainly see the short-yardage work.
Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts- Richardson has caught up with Ahmad Bradshaw in snaps for the season, but that’s only because the Colts have blown teams out in two straight weeks. He benefits from blowouts, but Bradshaw is still the more involved back in this offense, seeing more work on passing downs (four receiving scores thus far), as well as in the red zone. T-Rich scored on Sunday, but is still averaging a pedestrian 3.3 yards per carry. If someone in your league sees this and wants to take him off your hands, let them.
Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears- I love the Black Unicorn as much as the next guy, but believe me, if I can get a lot in a trade for him, I’m doing it. Bennett is on a tear right now, ranking third in all of football in receptions, ninth in targets and first among all tight ends in fantasy points. But you have to remember that Bennett always does this in September, and is due for some serious regression.
29 catches, 295 yards, 4 TD.
20 catches, 225 yards, 3 TD
16 catches, 187 yards, 3 TD.
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