|By Rob Warner, Friday, September 12, 2014|
QB Nick Foles - Solid/Safe Pick
The Eagles have one of the better fantasy schedules for QBs (Weeks 1-16), with just three games against defenses that defended the pass well (SF - Week 4, CAR - Week 10, SEA - Week 14) and six favorable matchups. As an added bonus, the Eagles boast one of the best O-lines in the league with an elite left side of Pro Bowlers (Jason Peters and Evan Mathis). In his second NFL season, Foles had a major breakout year, finishing with a 27:2 TD-to-INT ratio in 10 starts. Don't pay for the 2013 production, as he averaged a mediocre 222 YPG and will have to deal with the loss of big-play WR DeSean Jackson (additions of Sproles and rookie Jordan Matthews could fill the void). Foles' current ADP (63.16) has him sitting at QB7, but he could be due for some regression in 2014 as the INT rate is sure to go up.
QB Mark Sanchez - Not Draft Worthy
The King of the Butt Fumble needed a change of scenery. He signed a one-year, $2.25 million contract to compete with Matt Barkley for the backup job in Philly. Sanchez should easily end the preseason as the Eagles' No. 2 QB. The former USC QB suffered a shoulder injury that kept him sidelined in 2013. The best of his prior four seasons was in 2011 when Sanchez averaged 217 YPG, with 26 TDs and 18 INTs.
RB LeSean McCoy - Stud (low risk)
ARGUABLY THE BEST BACK IN THE GAME: At just 26 years old, McCoy is a popular choice with the No. 1 pick in both dynasty leagues as well as redrafts. In 2013, he set career highs in carries (314) and rushing yards (1,607). He has also topped 50 catches in three of the past four seasons, but that could be in jeopardy with Darren Sproles on board. McCoy has missed six games over his first five seasons, which isn't a whole lot, and will benefit from running behind one of the best offensive lines in the game in Chip Kelly's run-focused offense. In 2013, under Kelly's tutelage, McCoy tallied 11 touchdowns and has 49 scores over five seasons. Although the Eagles will likely scale back his workload, another season with around 2,000 total yards is a distinct possibility as the bell-cow in the one of the game's most efficient offenses.
RB Darren Sproles - Quality Backup
STILL A PPR BEAST: The 31-year-old signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract after three seasons in New Orleans. He has averaged 77 catches for 660 yards during his time with the Saints and should see six to ten touches per game at minimum as the Eagles look to lighten Shady McCoy's workload. Sproles scored 21 TDs over the past three seasons, which seems attainable in an Eagles fast-break offense that averaged 28 PPG in 2013.
Editor's note: Sproles may be advancing in age and departing the Saints' pass-oriented cocoon is concerning; however, look for the Eagles to use him in creative ways. He has to be on your radar as a flex play in PPR formats.
RB Chris Polk - Fantasy Handcuff
With Bryce Brown traded to Buffalo, the third-year back from Washington could see an uptick in touches, but not enough to make a significant fantasy impact barring an injury. He tallied just 11 carries for 98 yards in 2013 (impressive 8.9 YPC). Head coach Chip Kelly is a big fan of Polk's north-south running style and he's worth taking a flier on in deeper leagues as a McCoy handcuff.
WR Jordan Matthews - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
ROOKIE POTENTIAL: Matthews has ideal size (6-foot-3, 209 pounds) and speed (4.46 at NFL Combine) with excellent work ethic. The SEC's career record-holder for receptions (262) and receiving yards (3,759) had a solid showing at the Senior Bowl, which led to the Eagles selecting him in the second round (No. 42 overall). In 2013, Matthews had 112 receptions for 1,477 yards with seven touchdowns and carried Vanderbilt to a bowl game. He has been running with the first team in some OTA drills, which is a sign that he is a player to keep on the fantasy radar for the upcoming season.The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jimmy Kempski labeled the rookie as the best WR on the field at OTAs. The hype is being reflected in ADP data as Matthews sits at WR44, while current starter Riley Cooper is at WR49.
WR Jeremy Maclin - Solid/Safe Pick
COMEBACK CANDIDATE: Maclin (26 years old) is returning from a torn ACL, which kept him out for the entire 2013 season. From 2010-2012, he averaged 67 catches for 893 yards (61 YPG) and will take over the Eagles' No. 1 wideout with DJax in Washington. His first 80 catch, 1,000-yard season is a real possibility. He remains an injury concern though, but an increased role in an up-tempo Eagles' offense is worth the risk. Maclin has 26 touchdowns over four seasons and should be considered a solid WR2, provided he doesn't suffer any setbacks in training camp.
Editor's note: We here at FFToolbox project Maclin to really outperform his ADP (69.68 or a mid- to late sixth-round pick). With our current WR projecction/ranking at No. 18, this places Maclin ahead of guys like DeSean Jackson, Victor Cruz and Percy Harvin.
WR Josh Huff - Dynasty Only
Chip Kelly selected one of his own by nabbing Oregon's Josh Huff in the third round (No. 86 overall) of the 2013 draft. Huff (5-foot-11, 206) started 36 collegiate games and totaled 144 catches for 2,366 yards (16.4 YPR) and 24 touchdowns. He had a solid combine performance clocking a 4.51 forty with a 35 1/2-inch vertical and 9-foot-8 broad jump. The physical, sure-handed WR has been mostly running with the third team in OTAs, but he's a player to watch in dynasty leagues.
WR Riley Cooper - Bust (overvalued)
Cooper's 2013 season represents a prime example of an overinflated career-year as he filled in for Maclin and finished with 47 catches for 835 yards (52 YPG) and eight touchdowns. Over his previous three seasons, the Florida alum totaled 46 catches with just five total touchdowns. Despite the loss of DJax, the Eagles have too many mouths to feed (McCoy, Maclin, Sproles, Matthews, Ertz) to expect Cooper to build on his 2013 production (highly unlikely he comes anywhere close to being a Top 25 fantasy WR like he was last season).
TE Zach Ertz - Sleeper (undervalued)
BREAKOUT TE CANDIDATE: In his first season, the Stanford alum finished with 36 catches for 469 yards (29 YPG) and four touchdowns. He should see his role increase significantly following the DeSean Jackson departure. Ertz has an excellent chance to leap into fantasy must-start territory (especially when you consider the high praise he recently received from Eagles tight ends coach Ted Williams which compared his skill set to that of Shannon Sharpe and Ozzie Newsome). Ertz will get a look from you or someone else in your league as a borderline TE1, especially if the Eagles part ways with veteran Brent Celek before Week 1 (Celek is owed $4 million in 2014).
Editor's note: After the top 10, you have several young tight ends with breakout potential to choose from this year; LaDarius Green, Ertz, Clay, Ebron and Eifert. Don't be surprised if someone in your league decides to take one of these guys in the 7 to 8 range. Ertz has Top 5 potential in the Eagle's offense.
TE Brent Celek - Bust (overvalued)
The 29 year-old has seen his production decline over the past three seasons and he could be asked to restructure his deal in order to remain with the team. In 2013, he finished with just 32 catches for 502 yards and six touchdowns. His blocking ability is valued, but that's not going to help fantasy owners.
Philadelphia - Bye Week Fill-in
The Eagles scored double digits in fantasy points in eight of their final ten games and finished 18th in total fantasy points. Their defense produced just two TDs and remains a work in progress. This offseason they added FS Malcolm Jenkins and Darren Sproles, which should bolster the special teams. Arguably their best player, Trent Cole will be 32 and is showing signs of wearing down. The Eagles DST is best drafted as a bye-week replacement with minimal potential.