2013 Team Outlook: Philadelphia Eagles

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2013 Team Outlook: Philadelphia Eagles

A fantasy football preview of the Philadelphia Eagles this season. Profiled players include Nick Foles, Matt Barkley, Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, and Bryce Brown.

Update: Vick has been named the starter, but keep Foles' name on speed-dial because we all know Vick likes to dive head first into defenders. In Chip Kelly's offense, Foles, who will go undrafted in your draft, will eventually be one of the hot waiver wire pickups of the season.

It's not often the drafting of a quarterback is considered a good thing for a not-so established QB already on the roster. Nick Foles' tale might be another story. Selected in 2012 for Andy Reid's West Coast offense, the large and not terribly athletic passer didn't appear to be a great fit for Chip Kelly's read-and react attack (which in college deployed fleet-of-foot players at quarterback). You know, someone like Michael Vick. Then a strange thing happened: the Eagles drafted Matt Barkley, another pocket passer nobody would pick to win a foot race. The selection indicated Kelly's openness to different options. Ultimately, he wants a quick thinker more than a quick mover. Some reports have Foles in the lead over Vick entering camp. Should he be named the starter, Foles would land somewhere in the 19-25 QB range, but as with most Eagles this season, his value could fluctuate greatly depending on how quickly Kelly's system takes off.

For now, Barkley' s journey from USC stalwart to NFL rookie is nothing but a downhill trajectory, seeing as he went from a potential top-5 pick in 2012 to an actual fourth selection in 2013. However, the future does not look so gloomy seeing as the two passers in front of Barkley - Michael Vick and Nick Foles - are not locks to hold the job down. Barkley has already received praise for his adjustment to coach Chip Kelly' up-tempo offense. Don't expect him to enter the QB battle this season, but next season is a possibility, meaning 2014 could be a much better year.

Update (8-20): The Eagles announced that Vick would start the regular season opener against the Redskins. In two preseason games, the mobile left-hander is 13 of 15 for 199 yards with one touchdown and one explainable interception. Seeing as Vick is an obvious injury risk, backup Nick Foles will likely play at some point. Seeing as Vick's running ability makes him a tremendous fit for Philadelphia's new offense, he makes for a high-upside and arguably ideal fantasy backup.

Profile - We have a potential boom or bust situation here, though that pretty much sums up Vick's fantasy worth the past couple of seasons. If Chip Kelly's fast breaking offensive plans work, the mobile left-hander could post monster numbers both on the ground and through the air. That's also a big if seeing as Vick, who threw for 12 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions last season, also missed six games and hasn't played a full season since he returned to the NFL in 2009. On the other hand, Kelly's schemes could free Vick up for more running lanes and greater production while offering better protection due to quick reacting plays. In 12 team leagues, every owner should have a strong weekly start at QB, meaning the backup can largely be about potential and Vick has always oozed that. In that sense, Vick makes for a rather intriguing QB2 option playing in this system. That is provided he can stay healthy and fend off Nick Foles for the starting job in Philly. Heading into training camp, it is unclear whether either of those scenarios is possible. If he is the Eagles' opening game QB, then at least the stats should be there for as long as he plays.

McCoy is a top-8 RB fixture, but typically toward the back of that illustrious pack. It appears that 2013 is shaping up the same, though his dynamic pass catching ability gives him more value in PPR leagues. "Shady" is indeed a dual threat and one playing behind an unsettled QB situation and now in an offense with a heavy-run component. It will surprise no one if McCoy ends up surpassing his drafted value. However, the uncertainty over how Chip Kelly's system will work in the NFL makes everything in Philly, well, uncertain. There is also a bit of an injury history; he dealt with a concussion last season and missed four games after missing one in each of the previous two campaigns. Regardless, draft McCoy with confidence. He might be the last RB available owners take before the non-Calvin Johnson wide receivers. Almost regardless of league setup, they probably should.

What we learned about Brown during his rookie season: the 6-foot-0, 225-pounder is all instincts, no fundamentals. During a two-week stretch with LeSean McCoy out of the lineup, Brown was the talk of the NFL after rushing for 347 yards and four touchdowns. Then over the final games, his touches dipped, the yards decreased and the fumbling just couldn't be stopped. The latter issue had better not be one going forward if Brown wants consistent touches, but otherwise there will be no keeping him out of the lineup. McCoy remains the clear RB1, but the Eagles' new-look offense should include enough plays for the primary runners. Brown is more handcuff or middle-to-late round flyer than anything, but we've seen what he can do for fantasy owners, if he holds onto the ball.

Felix the Fragile left Dallas, but remains in the NFC East after signing a one-year deal with the Eagles. Jones actually played all 16 games last season for only the second time in his career. However, without the burst he entered the league with, Jones rushed for a personal-low 3.6 yards per carry. While a two-way threat, Jones only caught 25 passes last season. In other words, the former first rounder no longer plays up to his name vale. On the other hand, Philly should run plenty this season and with an injury to LeSean McCoy (and maybe Bryce Brown), Jones could find his way into receiving decent touches. No more than a late, late round flyer or perhaps a McCoy handcuff, sort of.