Memorial Day has come and gone folks, which means summer is here, and summer is where Fantasy Football Champions are built. Now is the time to acquire the knowledge necessary to have the best draft possible for the 2015 Fantasy Football season. Over the next few weeks, Fantasy Smack Talk will be making sense of what has happened in the offseason – regarding trades and free-agency signings, position by position. Up this week? The most essential position on any fantasy roster, Running Back.
LeSean McCoy to the Bills
LeSean “Shady” McCoy was traded by the Philadelphia Eagles to the Buffalo Bills back in March of 2015. We’re all aware of the dynamic capabilities McCoy has as both a rusher and as a receiver out of the backfield. However, that was with Head Coach Chip Kelly’s offense. One that was notorious for utilizing the no-huddle, up-tempo style and incorporating the RB role heavily.
The Buffalo Bills hired Rex Ryan as well this offseason, who uses a more traditional style when it comes to running the football. With the tandem of perennial star Fred Jackson and LeSean McCoy in the backfield, we’ll see how McCoy’s fantasy stock adjusts in his 7th season. A decline is to be expected when considering all of the coaching changes, as well as playing in a new division that is slightly tougher. This probably slides McCoy to just at the end of the top-tier of RBs in 2015.
DeMarco Murray to the Eagles
DeMarco Murray had an excellent season in 2014. Many folks rode this hot RB right into the fantasy playoffs, and perhaps, even a championship. With his stats, it’s no surprise. In a surprising trade to the Philadelphia Eagles from the Cowboys during this past offseason, many are wondering if they can expect this success to continue. I say yes, and his draft stock is at an all-time high. Chip Kelly favors Murray’s extremely tough running style, which will fit perfectly into his lightning-quick offensive scheme. He was even quoted as saying he wanted “a down-hill one-cut runner” for his team. All the signs are there that Murray could have the best season yet. Barring injury and off-the-field issues, of course.
Darren McFadden to the Cowboys
Darren “DMC” McFadden did not impress fantasy owners last year. This has been an ongoing trend as McFadden has failed to average greater than 3.4 yards per carry every year except 2011. However, Oakland is not a place where players can thrive. A change of scenery seems to have had a positive effect on DMC – he has been receiving praise from coaches early in OTAs. Don’t forget that DMC and owner Jerry Jones also have the same alma mater, University of Arkansas.
McFadden himself mentioned to the press that the new, competitive atmosphere at Cowboys’ practices have been “…being around guys that work so hard, it just brings out the best in you. It’s something I look forward to.” There have also been rumors DMC might be a kick returner, giving him some added value in certain league formats. While the past is not a good indicator for future performance, there are some bright spots. Darren McFadden might be that perfect late round steal for your 2015 Fantasy Football Draft.
Frank Gore to the Colts
Frank Gore had a long, illustrious career with the San Francisco 49ers. But that has come to an end as he has signed with Colts, days after thinking he would sign with the Eagles. Gore, at 32, is at the end of his career as an NFL RB. Last year, he still managed to rush for over 1,000 YDS, but RBs have a documented history of declining production after age 28. Gore has always had a nose for the end zone and will give the Colts another valuable Red Zone option. The Colts will have a formidable rushing attack with both Trent Richardson and Frank Gore. This causes Gore’s value to decline a bit, but we think while overall rushing yards might be down this year, he should find paydirt more often.
Shane Vereen to the Giants
Vereen is yet another big name to leave the Patriots organization. After a Super Bowl season, too. But fantasy owners shouldn’t bump up Vereen’s stock too quickly. While Vereen is a healthy, young player, keep in mind he will be joining up with Andre Williams and Rashad Jennings as part of a tandem. He’s also never had more than 150 touches in a season, and never had more than five TDs in a season. If anything, this switch improves Eli Manning’s stock as the addition of Vereen simply gives the Giants offense more receiving options.
Reggie Bush to the 49ers
Reggie Bush is in the 10th year of his career, but after last year’s performance it seems Bush still has some gas in the tank for this year’s campaign with the San Francisco 49ers. Using Bush to fill Gore’s shoes, Bush will become a part of a tandem that includes Carlos Hyde, the second year RB who is highly regarded by scouts and coaches alike. Bush had nine total TDs last season, and over 1,000 total yards. Along with signing Reggie, the 49ers signed a new coach, parting ways with Jim Harbaugh, and brought Jim Tomsula aboard. No one is sure how this will affect the offense quite yet. Expect Reggie Bush to have similar value in San Francisco, with an offense that is more than capable of breaking off big plays.
Other Notable RB Team Changes:
DeAngelo Williams – CAR to PIT
Stevan Ridley – NE to NYJ
Ryan Mathews – SD to PHI
Dexter McCluster – KC to TEN
Roy Helu – WAS to OAK
C.J. Spiller – BUF to NO