Cover your ears Ronald Jones truthers, Bruce Arians has a new veteran running back. On Thursday we found out the Buccaneers had reached a deal with LeSean McCoy, which throws another wrench into what could be an appealing backfield. Of course, it could also be a complete headache for Fantasy managers.
McCoy spent 2019 with the Chiefs and it was a bit of a roller coaster. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry for the season and had 93 total yards in Week 1. In the first four weeks of the season, he averaged more than 11 Fantasy points per game. But he fell out of favor by the end of the year and played just one snap in the playoffs. McCoy wasn't even active for the Super Bowl. So just how much the 32-year-old has left in the tank is certainly up for debate.
McCoy joins Jones, Dare Ogunbowale, and rookie Ke'Shawn Vaughn in what is suddenly a crowded Tampa Bay backfield. Jones has by far the most upside, but he struggled with consistency and pass protection in 2019. Jones only earned 18 more carries than Peyton Barber and he saw six fewer targets than Ogunbowale. In 2019, Arians wasn't convinced that Jones is a feature back and this move suggests that may not have changed.
Remember, this is the same head coach who used Chris Johnson extensively despite the explosiveness of David Johnson as a rookie. With the abbreviated offseason we've had now, I now have doubts whether we'll see Vaughn on the field at all in the first half of the season. The fact that Vaughn started the year on the Reserve/COVID-19 list could have also contributed to this signing.
With all of this negativity, it's worth noting this is still projected to be one of the best offenses in the league and they still have Tom Brady at quarterback. And this could just be a depth signing that doesn't impact Jones much at all. If he or McCoy (or even Vaughn) was able to land even 50% of the carries and targets they'd be a top-25 back. You'll see my updated projections for the Tampa Bay backfield below but the upside presented by the offense means you can draft these backs a little higher than they project.
Jones ranks 28th for me at running back after this move and he's still worth a pick in the early seventh round. McCoy now moves into the equation as a dart throw you can draft in the double-digit rounds. In redraft, I'd now prefer him to Vaughn and Ogunbowale, but none of them should be drafted in the first 10 rounds.
Jones is still the most exciting back in this backfield and we could look back and laugh at some point about ever caring that the Buccaneers signed McCoy. But at the very least, this needs to slow down the hype train that was building around Jones. If you're an optimist, that just means you can draft him a round later.
Here are my updated projections for the Buccaneers: