By Chris Schisler
Its no secret that popular consensus views Adrian Peterson as the best running back in the NFL. LeSean McCoy has made it no secret that he thinks he’s better than Peterson. It sounds crazy- Peterson is the guy who comes to mind when you think running backs. McCoy may have a point however.
2013 was a better statistical season for LeSean McCoy. He rushed for 1,607 yards (341 more yards than Peterson). He had 23 more receptions than Peterson for almost 400 more yards. Both scored a total of 11 touchdowns. Peterson had to battle through injury, 8 men constantly in the box and having mediocre quarterback play. In 2012 Peterson did not have a lot of help but rushed for over 2,000 yards. McCoy did have better statistics in 2013 but statistics alone do not tell the tale.
These are two different types of running backs. Peterson is the prototypical power runner. He runs downhill and is tough to tackle. It almost seems that Peterson looks for contact as if he is Godzilla and the linebackers are radioactive. The point is “All Day” Adrian Peterson is a power runner. He has incredible quickness and can juke with the best of him but his game is all about power.
LeSean McCoy runs with power but his game is about speed and agility. McCoy is great running inside the tackles but it is the open field where he makes his biggest plays. McCoy is more dynamic than Peterson in the sense that there are more ways to get him involved in the offense. McCoy is perfect for the new age offensive approach of Chip Kelly’s.
From a fantasy perspective (especially in PPR leagues) McCoy may be the greater value. Even if Peterson produces more yards on the ground, McCoy can outproduce him. In PPR leagues players get a point for each reception- making McCoy a hot commodity. McCoy has had 50 or more receptions in 3 out of 5 seasons in the NFLand has never had less than 40 receptions. McCoy also has better players around him. Peterson may have huge fantasy days (because Minnesota needs him to) but McCoy will probably have more consistency. In year 2 of the Chip Kelly offense its easy to see bigger things from McCoy. You do have to worry that Darren Sproles will take away some of his touches however.
From a purely football stance its a matter of preference. You simply cannot go wrong with either of them.
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