2011 Team Outlook: Philadelphia
Now this is a fun team to watch. The Eagles not only play a consistently winning style of ball, they also make the highlight film as much as any team in the league (at least as long as Michael Vick is on the field). One can only imagine what Vick will do once he gets a full training camp to work as the starter (well, you know, assuming there is training camp). Few passers have weapons like DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin at their disposal and if the Eagles make upgrades to their offensive line and defensive playmakers, this could be an incredibly scary squad. But regardless, a fun one to watch, unless its your week to face one of them.
QB Michael Vick, --- - Stud (low risk)
Now that's what you call a comeback. After spending time in prison and being largely ignored (with good reason) in fantasy drafts, Michael Vick exploded back onto the scene in 2010 -- being the player who more than others led his trusting owners to championship glory. From the moment he took over for the injured Kevin Kolb, Vick showed his elusive legs were back, his cannon of an arm intact. The only concern then and going forward is how well his body can handle the constant hits his attacking style generates. Positional weight aside, Vick was and is the top fantasy player going and even for the risk-adverse, it would be tough to select any QB other than Aaron Rodgers ahead of Vick. If you fall into that category, then look elsewhere. Just realize that when you next gaze into Vick's direction, odds are he and the non-fearing owner will be racing past you toward another fantasy title.
RB LeSean McCoy, BUF - Stud (low risk)
Not sure there was a situation in 2010 I was more wrong about than the Eagles' running attack. While I could bore you with the reasons as to why my theories fell flat, I also don't intend to make the same mistakes going forward. We knew McCoy was a dual threat, but he took it to a truly high level; his weekly consistency made him a cut above many selected before him. Though he only broke the century mark on the ground three times, McCoy racked up nine games of 100+ yards from scrimmage and tacked on nine total touchdowns for good measure. That effort has propelled him into first round fantasy discussion, if not cemented it. Ronnie Brown is a more significant backup than anyone on the Eagles squad a season ago, but he shouldn't put a serious crimp into McCoy's style unless he steals scores in fluky ways. McCoy is a top RB option this season, probably No.6 behind Ray Rice and ahead of Darren McFadden or Stephen Jackson.
RB Dion Lewis, NE - Dynasty Only
As a freshman with the Pitt Panthers, Lewis looked like a sincere future NFL playmaker with his combination of spurtability and surprising inside running despite being a 5-7 back. Since that time (perhaps from overuse), Lewis' game dropped as did his draft value. Not much will be asked from the 5th round pick as a rookie, but Lewis could eventually work his way into a situational option. Until LeSean McCoy or Ronnie Brown goes down, Lewis stays down on waivers.
RB Ronnie Brown, --- - Gamble (high risk)
Brown always seemed like an overrated fantasy option with the Dolphins, but still a tad stunning that he couldn't land a gig where he'd be closer to being the starter or in a true RBBC. He's an obvious handcuff for LeSean McCoy, but you won't be able to draft him as one; expect Brown's name to get him drafted higher than appropriate. We'll go with the gamble tag because it's possible that Andy Reid develops packages with Brown in mind, but don't count on weekly value.
WR Jeremy Maclin, KC - Solid/Safe Pick
Question: in standard leagues, who led the Eagles in fantasy receiving points last season? That's right, Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles' "other" potent weapon who caught 10 scoring passes last season while hauling in 70 receptions for 964 yards. Sure he played a full season while DeSean Jackson (who finished right behind his teammate among fantasy receiver scoring in 2010) missed two games, but Maclin was also the more consistent threat week-to-week.
Now, about that illness...? Until we know more it's impossible to speculate, but there is a bit of a concern with reports of weight loss and his inability to reach the field. It was already unlikely that Maclin would duplicate his level of scoring production, but the 23-year old also has room to grow. Maybe he is ultimately the number two receiver on his team, but Maclin can fit that role for fantasy owners as well and would make for an explosive WR3, assuming good health of course.