Commentary

Brown no threat to McCoy's value

Updated: August 2, 2011, 6:15 PM ET
By Christopher Harris | ESPN.com

The Eagles certainly are going for it.

Let's list the big names they've acquired this summer. Vince Young. Nnamdi Asomugha. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Cullen Jenkins. Jason Babin. And now they've picked up Ronnie Brown.

Listen, Brown is never going to be a golden god in fantasy. The days of his big-time potential are gone. He averaged 3.7 yards per carry in his final season with the Dolphins, and managed exactly one 1,000-yard season in six years. He was often an injury waiting to happen. Yes, he was a linchpin in the ascension of the Wildcat offense, tormenting the big, bad New England Patriots one September afternoon in 2008 to the tune of four TDs, but defenses figured out that formation rather quickly, and by '10 it was but a footnote in the Miami offense.

But as a backup in Philadelphia? Sure, I'm on board with that. Before the Eagles signed Brown Monday afternoon, rookie Dion Lewis was nominally LeSean McCoy's backup, and that was never going to fly, as Lewis is approximately the size of Winona Ryder. Brown would be able to pick up the slack for a game or two if McCoy gets hurt. Plus he's a very good pass catcher, and thus will be hailed as a natural fit in Andy Reid's offense. That sounds all well and good, but the fact is that McCoy is a much better pass catcher (he registered an NFL-high 78 grabs in '10, compared to Brown's career high of 39 in '07), so he's not getting yanked much in favor of Ronnie.

And that's why I don't view this roster move by the Eagles as any kind of death blow to McCoy's fantasy value. Where exactly is Brown going to lunge forward and steal a ton of looks? On third downs? It's possible, but McCoy is probably better in that role. On first and second downs? The Eagles aren't ever going to be a run-straight-at-you kind of squad with the speed they've got at QB and on the outside, and I'm not sure Brown has much left in the tank as a power back anyway. At the end zone? That's a possibility, but was anyone projecting many short TDs for McCoy anyway?

Do I think Brown is a worthy late-round handcuff to McCoy owners? I can see that logic. Shady is a pretty small guy himself and toughed through some minor injuries last year; one good shot and he could miss time. Outside of that, though, I think this is a good insurance move by the Eagles, and not much else. If you were anticipating taking McCoy late in the first round of your fantasy draft later this month, I don't think this does anything to alter your plans.

Christopher Harris is a fantasy analyst for ESPN.com. He is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writers Association award winner. You can ask him questions at www.facebook.com/writerboy, and follow him on Twitter at @writerboyESPN.