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The Lowdown: Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy, and Cam Newton

LeSean McCoy

Marshawn Lynch

There has been a lot of talk surrounding Marshawn Lynch this offseason. Most of it, not so good. Holdout talk and “bogus” assault allegations. After all is said and done, Pete Carroll thinks it’s about time to get the man some carries.

“It’s time for him to get some carries and get involved a little bit. I really could not be more pleased with the conditioning level that he’s had, the consistency of practice and his preparation has been great. He’ll be ready to go and I know he’s looking forward to that too,” Lynch said, via Curtis Crabtree of PFT.

Some fantasy players are concerned about Lynch breaking down since he leads the league in carries since 2011. Some are concerned about a timeshare. While I do have three reasons that two running backs can be successful in Seattle, with Lynch in the last year of his contract, I wouldn’t be shocked if Seattle had plans to run Lynch like there’s no tomorrow. Lynch has two years left on his contract, but Seattle will save $7 million against their cap by releasing him after this year. Shawn Siegele has Lynch ranked No. 10 on his RB projections using the projection machine. I’m a rather conservative drafter, and there are too many moving pieces around Lynch to make me want to pull the trigger and draft him in the first round.

The Eagles Backfield

After being sidelined with a minor case of turf-toe, LeSean McCoy participated in Thursday’s preseason game against the Steelers, only to exit with a thumb injury. Not believed to be serious, but he’s getting awfully banged up quite fast before the regular season arrives.

Before going inside to get checked out, McCoy showed no ill-effects from a toe injury that’s bothered him, racking up 50 yards on six touches. On his final play before departing, McCoy turned a short reception into a 22-yard TD.

Aside from McCoy, Darren Sproles has been the second-most talked about RB surrounding the Eagles. While Sproles may be an important piece for the Eagles, if anything were to happen to McCoy, I believe the true handcuff would be Chris Polk, but he’s been sidelined for over two weeks with a bad hamstring.

“It’s a big factor,” Kelly said of Polk missing time. “You gotta be able to play. It’s tough for us to say, we know what you can do, but you also have to go out on the field and show it.’

James Todd has some sound advice regarding the Eagle’s backfield. Lets not forget the recent trade for Kenjon Barner.

“Kenjon will hopefully bring some depth to both our running back and return positions,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said in a team-issued statement Tuesday night. “He’s obviously a guy I know really well from Oregon, where he had a very productive career. He has a lot of speed, explosiveness and had a knack for making some really big plays. But our plan with him right now is get him in Philadelphia as soon as we can and plug him in at running back and returner and let him compete.”

The first step would be for Barner to make the team. Here are some comparables from Shawn Siegele about Barner and Sproles from last year. Both RBs had impressive agility scores.

Cam Newton

Cam Newton returned to action last week in Carolina’s preseason game against the Chiefs.

There has been enormous amounts of pessimism surrounding Newton this year. The last two years, his ADP has slowly been falling. In 2012 Newton had an ADP of 2.04, in 2013 it was 5.02. In 2014 with the loss of his WR corp and ankle surgery, it has dropped again.

Coach Ron Rivera thinks this injury may have even helped in the development of Newton as a pure passer.

“In an interesting way, this may have been the best thing that happened to him in terms of his pure quarterbacking development. He’s had to stay in the pocket, he’s had to have good footwork, he’s had to step into his throws. I think this has been a plus for him.”

Average_Draft_Position__ADP__-_Fantasy_Football_Calculator

Newton has never had a fantasy season where he finished outside the top four among quarterbacks. That’s a pretty impressive feat. Some people are concerned about his loss of weapons, but he’s never really had weapons that were very strong to begin with. An aging Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell? Arguably, his most important weapon is still there, and that’s Greg Olsen. There also may be a Julius Thomas clone on board as well. Lets not forget newly acquired Kelvin Benjamin who comes in at 6’5″, 243 pounds. If you’re a regular reader of RotoViz, then you know there’s no shortage of articles of Benjmain on this site. Matthew Freedman, Scott Smith, and Jon Moore do an excellent job of sizing him up. Benjamin makes for a great late round target, too. He should provide some extra muscle in the red zone that Newton desperately needs. Newton has at least comparable weapons to his prior years in the league, if not better. Newton will keep his high floor with his running ability and will hopefully raise his roof ceiling with the new personnel at his disposal.

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