Next up in our fantasy position preview is running back, the cornerstone to any successful fantasy team. Like quarterback, there's a changing of the guard here as LeSean McCoy is now the man in the backfield after Brian Westbrook's off-season departure. As a rookie, McCoy rushed for 637 yards on 155 carries (4.1 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. While McCoy certainly has a lot of fantasy value, he's probably a RB2 in fantasy for two reasons.
First, we know the Eagles love to pass the football. With Kevin Kolb at the helm and talented receivers like DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant and Brent Celek, the Eagles are expected to do a lot of their heavy lifting through the air. So while McCoy is unquestionably the No. 1 running back for one of the best offenses in the league, he isn't likely to get 20 carries every game. The other aspect of McCoy's game that decreases his value a bit in comparison with other mid-tier fantasy backs like Shonn Greene of the New York Jets and Ryan Grant of the Green Bay Packers is that McCoy isn't guaranteed to get the Eagles' goal-line carries. He's no question an elusive runner, but when the Eagles need to pound it into the endzone, the likelihood is that either Leonard Weaver or Mike Bell is going to get that call, so McCoy's touchdown numbers may not be through the roof.
On the flip side, McCoy does add a lot of value in the passing game. Somewhat under the radar, he caught 40 passes for 308 yards last season, and he'll likely see an increased role coming out of the backfield for Kevin Kolb this season. Because of that, he has more value in a points per reception league. So where does he rank?
NFL.com's updated top 200 has McCoy as the 37th ranked player in all of fantasy and the 18th ranked running back. That means McCoy is likely to come off the board in the third or fourth round of your fantasy draft, depending on the league size. If you grab a running back in the first two rounds, McCoy would certainly be a solid second running back, especially, as mentioned above, in a points per reception league. Or, you could choose to target a premier quarterback like Aaron Rodgers in the first round and surround him with top flight receivers like, say, DeSean Jackson and then let McCoy lead the way as your No. 1 running back.
What about the fantasy values of Bell and Weaver? It will be interesting to see which one of these two becomes the main short-yardage ball carrier, though Bell was seemingly brought to Philadelphia as a restricted free agent to carry that mantle. If you draft McCoy early and choose to handcuff him, Bell is probably the guy you want. He's ranked 55th among running backs by NFL.com. That said, Weaver (the 77th ranked running back by NFL.com) was a worthwhile backup in fantasy last year in his own right, with 463 combined yards and four total touchdowns.
Finally, if you're in a very deep league or a keeper league, sixth-round rookie rusher Charles Scott could be worth a last-pick flier or $1 bargain in an auction draft. The 6-0, 238-pound bruiser profiles to be a quality short-yardage back himself, and could prove to be the long-term complement to McCoy.
To play free fantasy football on NFL.com, where they have a customizable scoring and a great draft kit including several mock drafts, sleepers and much more, go here.
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 7:50 p.m., July 23