LeSean McCoy is coming off another standout campaign in 2017, and hopefully he can continue to sustain his high level of play this season. McCoy was the No. 7 Fantasy running back in standard leagues, the second year in a row he's finished in the top 10. He had his sixth season with at least 1,000 rushing yards and fifth season with at least 50 receptions. McCoy now has to worry about Father Time since he'll be 30 in July, and he's got plenty of wear and tear on his body with more than 2,100 career carries and 2,600 total touches. He's also on a roster with limited talent around him. Still, McCoy has proven to be an elite running back, and we hope he doesn't slow down this year. He's worth drafting with a second-round pick in the majority of leagues, and he should once again be the catalyst of this Bills offense. McCoy was one of just five running backs in 2017 with at least 250 carries and 50 catches, and finding workhorse running backs like that in today's NFL are rare.
Coach Sean McDermott has been raving about McCoy's level of fitness and implied he won't be afraid to use the 30-year-old on a full workload this season, Jay Skurski of The Buffalo News reports. "I think I answered that question last year with 'whatever we need to do to win games, that's what we'll do,'" McDermott said. McCoy may be up there in years, but he looked quite elusive as a 29-year-old last season, when he rushed for 1,138 yards and six touchdowns on 287 rushes. Barring injury, expect a similar level of volume out of the veteran, though we'll at least acknowledge three lingering fantasy concerns. 1) The Bills lost three high-quality starters from last season's offensive line. 2) They'll have a new quarterback under center. 3) Chris Ivory seems far more capable of spelling McCoy than what Mike Tolbert was able to provide last season.
Bills management stated Thursday that nothing has come up so far in the investigation of assault on McCoy's ex-girlfriend in a house he owns in Georgia that has the team concerned over his status for the upcoming season, Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News reports. "We've communicated with (the NFL)," general manager Brandon Beane said during a news conference with coach Sean McDermott. "We feel comfortable that LeSean's going to be here and ready to roll. We don't see that changing." While the assault on McCoy's ex-girlfriend was an awful series of events, McCoy contends he had no involvement in the situation whatsoever and the comments of the team reflect the fact that no evidence has come forth over the last week that he had a role. While the matter is far from closed, it appears as if McCoy and the Bills are onto football matters, where the running back is healthy and about to participate in training camp, and is expected to be the focal point of the offense in 2018.
McCoy's teammates haven't seen any signs of decline from the running back during offseason workouts, Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News reports. "If you prepare yourself the right way, you can play as long as you want to," offensive tackle Jordan Mills said of McCoy. "He eats right, he trains right, he's always studying, he's always trying to get better. And he's always looking at 'Well, I'm the best, but how can I get better?' He's never complacent at what he does, and that's what makes him Shady. He's a great player and he improves every year." McCoy, who participated in minicamp last week after missing part of OTAs with an illness, will turn 30 years old in July and currently ranks fourth in career carries among active running backs. Critics point to his career-low 4.0 YPC from 2017 as the beginning of the end for McCoy, but one needs to keep in mind that he also handled the third-heaviest workload of his career last season as the centerpiece of a Buffalo offense that finished second-to-last in passing yards per game. Along the way, McCoy continued to display his trademark burst with 12 carries of 20-plus yards, the second-most he has recorded in nine NFL seasons. With Buffalo skipping on drafting a running back in a loaded rookie class, all signs point to McCoy continuing as a workhorse in 2018, with only the newly signed Chris Ivory a legitimate threat to steal carries. With that said, McCoy's efficiency probably won't see much improvement given the questionable state of the team's passing attack and offensive line.
McCoy is not participating in Thursday's OTA session due to illness, Joe Buscaglia of WKBW.com reports. While we see a number of veterans around the league opting to sit out OTAs due to unhappiness with their contract or simply because they don't want to go through the extra team work, that appears not to be the case for McCoy's absence. We'll see if he returns to a session later in this OTA round, as his teammates could benefit to get some looks in an offense where he'll once again be the featured player.
McCoy won't have Richie Incognito blocking for him this upcoming season, as the 34-year-old guard plans to retire, Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News reports. The Bills also will lose starting center Eric Wood, who is expected to retire due to a neck injury. These are troubling developments for a team that was quiet in free agency, with QB AJ McCarron and RB Chris Ivory representing the only major signings on offense. Heading into his age-30 season, McCoy finds himself with a franchise that seems to be rebuilding, though the same thing was said last year and the Bills ultimately squeaked into the playoffs. He expressed his disappointment Tuesday on Instagram, acknowledging that Incognito and Wood have been important to his success. McCoy dropped off to a career-worst 4.0 yards per carry last season, but he made it up to fantasy owners with 287 carries, 59 receptions and eight touchdowns. The Bills likely plan on giving him a similar workload in 2018, and any downgrades on the offensive line would be offset by the development of a legitimate passing attack that can keep defenders out of the box. The team does own picks No. 12, 22, 53, 56, 65 and 96 in the upcoming draft, but it won't necessarily help McCoy's cause if the selections are packaged to move up for a quarterback. For what it's worth, Incognito has been having trouble with his agent and for having to take a pay cut, so we suppose there's a small chance he changes course.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/16||Los Angeles Chargers||23||18.38|
|4||09/30||@Green Bay Packers||16||17.38|
|8||10/30||New England Patriots||17||17.47|
|10||11/11||@New York Jets||24||18.50|
|14||12/09||New York Jets||24||18.50|
|16||12/23||@New England Patriots||17||17.47|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||241||1100||7||47||365||2||200|