A blockbuster NFL trade was agreed upon on Tuesday that will see the Buffalo Bills send linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for running back LeSean McCoy. The deal can't be finalized until March 10, but Shady will be running in Buffalo next season. With that in mind, where do you draft him in 2015 fantasy leagues?
- Michael Fabiano NFL Media Senior Fantasy Analyst
Young workhorses don't get put to pasture
Featured running backs are tough to find in the NFL these days, so McCoy's move to Buffalo isn't going to move him out of the first round in 2015 re-drafts. Sure, leaving Chip Kelly's offense could be seen as a negative, but McCoy was already being phased out at times. Last season, he lost playing time to Darren Sproles and goal-line work to Chris Polk. Now with the Bills, that's not likely to happen. Also, playing in a "ground and pound" offense under new coach Rex Ryan will mean that McCoy is going to see more than his share of opportunities to produce.
- James Koh NFL Fantasy LIVE Host/NFL Media Reporter
Shady falls from the first round
It's a horrendous trade for Shady. Unless Buffalo upgrades their quarterback spot, I can't see McCoy finishing as a top-10 running back. But James, Rex will employ ground and pound! Shady will get the rock 300-plus times! Shady will bounce back! Look, while Rex Ryan has a cool name for his offensive philosophy the actual X's and O's part of his game plan has been terribly predictable and overall terrible. The Jets finished in the bottom five in points per game each of the last three years.
Then consider the skill set. McCoy makes his money by bouncing to the outside. Rex's run schemes have been predicated on punishing defenses INSIDE. It seems like a square peg, round hole problem to me. McCoy is so talented that 1,200 scrimmage yards and eight touchdowns is still totally do-able but he goes from consensus top-5 pick to being taken in the second round. He will almost assuredly be over-drafted which makes Koh sad because Koh likes McCoy and Koh will likely not be drafting McCoy. =(
(ed. note: James specifically requested to keep the frowning emoji in his hot take)
- Alex Gelhar NFL Media Writer/Editor
Shady could shine in Buffalo
I might be among the most optimistic in this group for Shady's value in Buffalo (or maybe that's just because I own him in our NFL Dynasty league). For me, the biggest boon for McCoy will that he'll be working with a new staff that clearly believes in him, unlike what was happening in Philadelphia. His new offensive coordinator, Greg Roman, was a ground-and-pound, run-game specialist for the 49ers for the past four years, helping prolong the career of Frank Gore while also posting a top-10 rushing offense in attempts and yards every year. Shady is younger and more explosive than Gore, and if his new coaches can help him shake off some of the indecisiveness that hurt his production last season, he could be set to explode in fantasy once again. Let's also not forget that he should see the return of some of the 30-plus targets he lost last season to Darren Sproles. I'm going to wait and dig into this a bit more, but right now I don't see why he can't be the fifth or sixth overall selection in 2015 after the established elite running backs are off the board.
- Marcas Grant NFL Media Fantasy Editor
Worth it at the end of the first
McCoy is certain to remain among the first round fantasy running backs, but is it enough to return him to being a top three pick in most leagues? I'm not sure. Last season was definitely a disappointment for the hordes of fantasy managers who spent a No. 1 overall pick on McCoy, though in many ways that was a function of lower touchdown totals. The biggest concern is that he is going from a team that was among the NFL's best run-blocking outfits in 2014 to the team that was arguably the worst. The upside is that McCoy should see some of the targets that he lost to Darren Sproles last season. Nonetheless, I don't think I consider McCoy until the mid to late portions of the first round.
- Adam Rank NFL Media Writer
Everything remains the same
LeSean McCoy was a top five pick before his trade to the Bills. But after the trade? He's a top five pick. Seriously, what is the disconnect people are having with this? McCoy was a good running back last year, but he was being slowly phased out of the Eagles offense. Kind of like that top WWE superstar who starts losing a ton of matches and then all of a sudden is no longer on RAW. But McCoy's been saved in Buffalo.
Think about this. We will have a motivated (more likely very upset) McCoy, who will tote the rock on average of about 80 times per game in Rex Ryan's offense. Seriously. McCoy is going to get DeMarco Murray-levels of work this season for the Bills, who have clearly given up on the quarterback position. As evidenced by the acquisition of Matt Cassel. Sure, I'm just a little bit down on Cassel. And I might be a bit myopic on the 80-touch per game thing. But McCoy is going to be the most used running back in the game. And watch how improved the Bills offensive line suddenly becomes with a talent like McCoy. This was a brilliant move by the Bills and I'm on board with it.