Running Back Draft Report: Familiar Faces in Different Places

DeMarco Murray will see last season's number shrivel under Chip Kelly

DeMarco Murray will see last season’s numbers shrivel under Chip Kelly’s watch

A busy offseason for the NFL saw three premier backs being shipped off or signed to other team: DeMarco Murray, LeSean McCoy, and C.J. Spiller. Fantasy owners should always be wary of newcomers on a team, even if they have a proven history of greatness and success in the league.

LeSean McCoy, Bills

LeSean McCoy should have the greatest of concerns of the three names of this list. Even with a wild offensive machine led by maestro Chip Kelly, McCoy still saw his yards per carry fall almost a whole YPC from the previous year and three fumbles. In fact, McCoy was 13th among running backs in getting points in standard leagues last season, behind the likes of C.J. Anderson (who started eight games), Lamar Miller, Jeremy Hill, and Alfred Morris. In the offseason, McCoy was traded to the Bills in a surprise deal, and the Bills have an even weaker offensive line than the one McCoy enjoyed in Philadelphia. But McCoy went from one offensive-minded coach to another in the classic run-first Rex Ryan. Combine that with an experienced OC in Greg Roman (who ensured Frank Gore always got at least 15 touches a game in San Francisco) and a top-two defense that could give the historic Seahawks Legion of Boom a run for their money, and suddenly Shady’s situation in Buffalo isn’t all that bad. Though his numbers will increase (perhaps even drastically), he surely isn’t due for a historic season like…

DeMarco Murray, Cowboys

DeMarco Murray had last year. In case you somehow forgot, Murray was consistently on pace to catch and even surpass Eric Dickerson’s single season record 2,105 yards. Unfortunately, after two straight sub-100 yard efforts, the record was as good as gone; Murray still, however, managed to break Emmett Smith’s franchise records for rush yards in a season. Well, there are many reasons that this season won’t look like last season for Murray. First off, and most importantly, Murray carried the ball a whopping 392 times last season—an average of 24.5 per game—a number he won’t even come close to in Philadelphia. So, not only does he have to concede a considerable number of touches to Ryan Mathews, another growing concern is, again, the comparison of offensive lines. Although, arguably, the Eagles boast a top-five, maybe even top-three offensive line, it just doesn’t compare to that of the Cowboys, whose starters on the line are all former first-round picks. But let’s not count Murray out entirely; we seem to always be surprised by Chip Kelly’s ability to churn out offensive explosions, so let’s wait and see what he can come up with. Part of that means figuring out the questionable quarterback situation, and perhaps turning Sam Bradford into an actually productive quarterback with solid potential. Eagles’ fans are definitely worrying about the quarterback position, something that…

C.J. Spiller, Saints

C.J. Spiller won’t have any second thoughts on. With Drew Brees as the offensive maestro on a resurging Saints team, Spiller will be a hybrid back with a good amount of targets as well as a high volume of carries this season. With Pierre Thomas, Jimmy Graham, and Kenny Stills all gone, the opportunity is there for Spiller to return to fantasy stardom. The competition in New Orleans is also crazy low as well: not only is Mark Ingram highly inconsistent, but the Saints’ weapons have declined and they will look for Spiller to try to fill the void. Spiller has a solid RB2 potential, as the Saints will surely remain a pass-first team. With Brees never dropping below the 650-attempt threshold within the last five year, Spiller will have the opportunity to wreak havoc in the backfield and gain tens of easy points just from receiving yards alone, something that the other two names on this list can’t say about themselves. The future remains bright for C.J. Spiller, and this move to the Saints will undoubtedly increase his fantasy value once more.

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