Fantasy spin: LeRon McClain

Posted March 15, 2012 @ 11:17 a.m.
Posted By William Del Pilar

LeRon McClain first showed fantasy skill with the Ravens in 2008 but then went to a fullback role and last season played for the Chiefs and is now a Charger. He signed a three-year deal but terms were not released.

Used mostly as a blocking fullback the past three seasons, his fantasy highpoint was in 2008 when he had 234-902-10 TDs rushing and 19-123-1 on 30 targets. An average of 16.5 utilizations for 64.1 yards from scrimmage and 0.7 TDs in 16 games.

That was it for his fantasy relevance, as he became the blocking fullback for Ray Rice the next two years. Last season, he was primarily a fullback even when the Chiefs lost Jamaal Charles to an ACL injury in September. In five seasons he has totaled 329-1,236-13 rushing and 84-535-3 receiving.

Why are we talking about him? He replaces Mike Tolbert, who showed tailback ability and forced the team to use him as an offensive weapon. Should we expect that with McClain? It depends on Ryan Mathews and his health but it's not likely despite McClain's skills as a runner or receiver. However, he will have his moments. Tolbert ended last season with 121-490-8 rushing and 54-433-2 on 79 targets, so if you draft Mathews in larger leagues, it would behoove you to pick up McClain. However, as long as Mathews is healthy, McClain's role will probably be limited to a blocking fullback with goal-line upside as a short-yardage specialist.

Watch how the team uses McClain in training camp and preseason but the truth is that his value is unknown and until then view him as a late-round pick at best but preferably a waiver-wire pickup inseason.

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