LeSean McCoy Is a Fantasy Football Value

LeSean McCoy had his ups and downs in 2015. Is he worth an early-round draft pick in 2016?

For the majority of his career, LeSean McCoy has been a high draft pick in fantasy football leagues. The chart below shows his average draft position (ADP) in standard scoring leagues according to since 2011.

Year Average Draft Position (Overall)
2011 8th
2012 5th
2013 6th
2014 2nd
2015 20th
2016 27th

It is easy to look at these numbers and believe that McCoy is approaching the inevitable "running back cliff" that many veteran running backs hit towards the end of their careers. However, after diving further into his production from last year and his situation in 2016, McCoy may simply be discounted.

The Advanced Metrics

Net Expected Points (or NEP) is a metric used here at numberFire that shows how many points a player contributes for their team in any given situation. For example, a 9-yard run on 3rd-and-8 has a much greater impact on the team's chances of scoring than a 9-yard run on 3rd-and-10. NEP accounts for this difference to show that all yards just aren't created equal.

You can read more about NEP in our glossary.

Here's a look at McCoy's Rushing NEP per rush numbers through the years, along with his rank among backs with 200 or more carries.

Year McCoy NEP per Rush League Average NEP per Rush NEP per Rush Rank Running Backs With More Than 200 Carries
2010 0.10 -0.03 3rd 23
2011 0.09 -0.03 1st 19
2012 -0.07 -0.03 20th 23
2013 0.12 -0.02 1st 22
2014 -0.02 -0.03 11th 17
2015 -0.01 -0.03 5th 15

There are two main takeaways from the chart above.

First, of the running backs with greater than 200 carries in a season since 2011, McCoy has consistently been ranked towards the top according to the NEP per rush metric. The outlier season is 2012, which was the season that was shortened by a concussion. He proved that season to be a fluke by coming back strong in the 2013 season.

Second, the total number of running backs with greater than 200 carries has been steadily decreasing, which makes owning one in fantasy football all that much more valuable. The only season that McCoy failed to produce 200 carries was his rookie year in 2009.


Speaking of opportunity, during Rex Ryan's press conference when he was introduced as the Buffalo Bills new head coach, he said he wanted to implement a "ground and pound" offensive system. Many view this as simple "coachspeak" that can be dismissed as meaningless. But statistics show that a Rex Ryan coached team will consistently rank towards the top of the league in rushing attempts.

Year Team Rushing Attempts League Rank
2009 NYJ 607 1st
2010 NYJ 534 2nd
2011 NYJ 443 16th
2012 NYJ 494 6th
2013 NYJ 493 5th
2014 NYJ 507 4th
2015 BUF 509 2nd


Most fantasy football players are aware that Karlos Williams had a successful 2015 campaign. Some fear that his production may reduce the value of McCoy in 2016.

Not so fast.

Given the number of rushing attempts that a Rex Ryan offense historically has, there will be plenty of opportunity for McCoy to succeed even if Williams averages 8 to 12 touches a game. McCoy should have no issue exceeding 220 or more carries in 2016, even with only a little over half the backfield share.

Second, it's been reported by The Buffalo News that Williams reported to minicamp in June overweight -- the latest estimates by The Buffalo News are that he was 20 to 25 pounds overweight. It's worth keeping an eye on to see what shape he is in when training camp starts in a few weeks. We all remember the weight issues that Eddie Lacy had last year that led to on-field struggles.

Injury Concerns

The main reason McCoy's ADP has fallen -- more than likely, at least -- in 2016 drafts is because of the injuries he battled last year. These are overstated, though, as he has only missed eight games over the last five regular seasons. To further prove this point, Sports Injury Predictor lists McCoy as a low injury risk heading into the 2016 season.

So What?

As my final takeaway for you, I'll leave you with this chart showing the week-to-week consistency that McCoy has provided fantasy owners over the past three seasons using standard scoring, obtained from

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Average
2013 24.9 16.7 21.8 9.4 15.2 17.1 8.1 6.6 14.0 16.1 27.0 Bye 11.5 34.1 10.6 28.2 17.4
2014 11.5 16.2 2.2 1.7 8.6 15.4 Bye 9.7 12.3 7.7 10.6 19.1 21.9 5.0 6.5 17.6 11.1
2015 8.7 11.6 8.6 N/A N/A 15.4 10.4 Bye 17.9 15.9 18.3 16.1 11.2 10.9 3.7 N/A 12.4

The days of McCoy being a top tier fantasy running back might be over, but he still has strong value in the mid- to late-second round as a high-floor option.