Some of the hottest topics in the free DLF Forum tend to revolve around “this guy vs. that guy” debates. Choosing who to target or keep between different players is one of the most difficult things to do in a dynasty league. Success involves a lot of thought, research, and a little bit of luck.
The dynasty debate series here on DLF focuses on two different players and attempts to make the picture a little more clear in terms of likely future production.
Today’s debate revolves around LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles, two of fantasy football’s top tier running backs.
Let’s take a look!
Charles = 5’11″, 199 pounds
McCoy = 5’11″, 208 pounds
There seems to be this thought out there that Charles is significantly smaller than a lot of the more productive backs in the league. Fact is, he’s simply not. McCoy is just a little heavier, but there’s really no advantage here between these two.
Many successful running backs bulk up to 225 pounds or so, but these two show you can still be explosive and productive hovering around 200 pounds. It could make them a little more susceptible to injury, but much of that risk comes with the position.
Before I jumped into analyzing this, I thought this was going to be a clear advantage for Charles. I figured his number of touches were going to be significantly less than McCoy’s.
Fact is, they’re not.
LeSean McCoy rushed for 1,080 yards on 207 carries (5.2 average), and caught 78 passes for 592 yards in 2010. His 285 total touches accounted for 1,672 yards, and nine total touchdowns.
Jamaal Charles rushed for 1,467 yards on 230 carries (6.4 average), and caught 45 passes for 468 yards in 2010. His 275 total touches accounted for 1,935 yards, and eight total touchdowns.
Ten touches is amazingly close, isn’t it?
In a non-PPR league, Charles outscored McCoy. In many PPR leagues, McCoy outscored Charles. There just isn’t enough one way or another to give a clear advantage to either player at this point.
Andy Reid seems pretty entrenched in Philadelphia, though the rope is likely getting just a little bit shorter. Regardless, McCoy’s job as one of the few featured backs in the league is pretty safe.
In his current role, he’s never going to be option number one with Michael Vick around to vulture rushing touchdowns. The Eagles are also an incredibly pass happy team. While other teams run to set up the pass, the Eagles are notorious for doing the opposite. Those two factors limit McCoy’s potential a little bit as of right now.
In Kansas City, Charles is the most explosive weapon on the team. While the Chiefs were concerned about his durability going into the season, he’s answered the bell thus far. Thomas Jones was rented last season to help alleviate some of the burden off Charles, but Kansas City simply couldn’t keep Charles off the field too much.
The Chiefs may always employ a two-back approach, regardless of the coach. However, there’s always a chance they decide to let Charles be the featured back and give him over 300 touches in a season. If that happens, look out!
Slight Advantage: Charles
Both players are extremely productive, but Charles has an explosiveness that may be unrivaled in the league.
For the season, Charles’ yards per carry average was one of the four highest in the history of the NFL. He also had a rush of at least 10 yards in all but one game in 2010, and all but four in the last two years combined. He’s also had a touchdown rush of at least 75 yards in each of the last two seasons.
McCoy is no slouch in the explosiveness department. He’s had a rush of at least 10 yards in all but 10 games the past two seasons. However, he’s had only five runs of over 40 yards in his career, compared to eight for Charles.
While both players have the ability to score whenever they touch the ball, Charles’ tendency to hit the home run for a fantasy owner give him the edge.
Slight Advantage: Charles
In my mind, this debate is much closer than some may think. It’s no slam dunk that Jamaal Charles is the better dynasty commodity, contrary to what one may think without really looking at the numbers.
This debate really comes down to the concept of a fantasy football “ceiling.”
It’s very likely that LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles could easily repeat their numbers in 2011 and beyond. However, it’s tough to look at McCoy and think he could do a whole lot more damage in the future than he did last season. With the limitations of McCoy’s pass-based offense and the presence of Michael Vick, his chances are going to be somewhat limited in the near future. You have to look at McCoy and think he may already be at his ceiling.
With Charles, there’s always the chance he’s given more opportunities. While his size may limit the chances of that happening, he’s proven to be durable enough to handle a bigger load. The simple chance that he gets more than 300 touches in a season makes you think he may not have hit his ceiling quite yet.
The debate between LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles is a good one. In the end, I’d love to have either on my dynasty fantasy football team. If I had to choose one, I’d go with Charles, though.
Stay tuned to DLF, your offseason home for fantasy football.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK