The Philadelphia Eagles weren’t exactly a gold mine for fantasy team contributors last year. Carson Wentz was in his first year, Ryan Mathews was often injured, and the receivers were unmentionable. Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson set out this off-season to change that, and suddenly, the 2017 Eagles might not be the fantasy desert that they were in 2016. So, the LWOS Eagles department created the Eagles Fantasy Outlook to help our Philly faithful tinge their fantasy teams with some favoritism!
2017 Philadelphia Eagles Fantasy Outlook
Quarterback Two — For now, Wentz shouldn’t be your top quarterback option. He has loads of potential for his second season, but there are quite a few unknowns as well. For one, the run-game has been a problem. No run-game means weak passing game. Wentz has a lot of weapons to use in 2017; but there have been other young, quarterbacks with weapons and poor production (Blake Bortles). Wentz is worth a late-round stash pick and/or backup consideration though.
The only reasons Wentz’s backup should be considered for your fantasy teams is if: A) you’re in a league with a lot of players so the waiver wire is slim; B) The Eagles are getting a lot of production from the QB position and Wentz goes down with an injury. A lot of conditions, a lot of risk. Look elsewhere.
Running back Two — Despite what you may have been told, Blount is not gearing up to be some massive disappointment. Yes, he didn’t play with the same ferocity as did with the New England Patriots last year. But consider these two things: the run-blocking was abysmal and it was preseason. Blount’s nature as a power runner leaves him exposed in the preseason. Going full-throttle in a meaningless game is only going to lead to a meaningless injury. The coaching staff has faith in Blount – give him the benefit of the doubt. No matter, as far as fantasy production goes, Blount isn’t always yards-guy, but he’s a touchdown machine. At the very least he’s worth a flex start. Especially against teams with poor red zone defenses.
Low Running back Three — Sproles falls into that category of great players who simply have little fantasy value. He won’t get as many carries as Blount, he won’t catch as many passes as any of the starting receivers, and he rarely scores. He does have value as a returner, but most leagues lump returners into the “Defense or Special Teams” category. As much as it hurts, leave Sproles off your team unless you have no other options.
High Running back Three — As of right now, Smallwood is little more than Blount insurance (no, not that kind). He only played in one preseason game, but he played well. Averaging seven yards-per-carry (admittedly on only four carries), Smallwood was crisp and effective. If Blount disappoints after all, then Smallwood is worth a waiver risk.
Low Running back three — While Clement looked pretty good in preseason, he’s buried on the depth chart. So far he’s shined, but it’s easy to forget that Clement has mostly played against backups and players that won’t even make their respective rosters. For now, Smallwood should be the guy to look at if Blount plays poorly. However, keep Clement on your radar.
Donnel Pumphrey & Byron Marshall
There’s a scenario where neither Pumphrey nor Marshall make the roster. Pumps played better against Miami, but he didn’t necessarily wow the world either. Marshall’s been buried on the depth chart since 2016. Both have potential, but it’s very unlikely that either will make a major fantasy contribution.
For those wanting a more comprehensive, non-fantasy perspective on the running backs, check out our breakdown!
Low Wide Receiver One — Jeffrey has the potential to be one of the best fantasy receivers in the league. He’s a big, athletic target in an offense that will be able to throw decoys. There are some injury concerns, but they’re not nearly as serious as the public perception. Jeffrey should be in contention for a 1,000 yard season with a decent number of touchdowns.
Low Wide Receiver Three — Smith isn’t a player you should seek out in a draft, and that has nothing to do with his 2016 season. He’s on a much better team with a quarterback that loves to (and can) throw deep. The concern is his volume of targets. As a deep threat, Smith isn’t likely to see a lot of targets so his production will likely be boom-or-bust all season.
Wide Receiver Three — There’s a scenario here where Agholor finally lives up to his pedigree and delivers quality fantasy production. Agholor looked much better this preseason than he ever has. He was quick and his mental-errors were limited. Agholor stilll had a few drops, but again, he looked better overall. Still, it may be wise to see how he does for a game or two before picking him off the waivers.
Wide Receiver Three — Hollins could be a sleeper threat. In his first preseason game, he caught a 40-yard pass touchdown and stiff-armed two Green Bay Packers into their graves. If he does that during the regular season then he’s almost certainly going to earn a lot more playing time. For now, he still has a wide receiver two ceiling. But watch him.
Wide Receiver Four — Like Hollins, Johnson has shown some potential as a quality receiver for the Eagles. However, it’s probably best to hold off on adding him to your fantasy team. Hollins has been more consistent and Johnson could be used sparingly.
Tight End Two — Every year the fantasy experts rave about this being Ertz’s breakout season. We almost saw it last year, if not for a dry start to the season. The introduction of the other receiving threats throws Ertz’s volume into question though. Temper expectations until proven otherwise.
Tight End Three — Burton has a legitimate chance to snag Brent Celek‘s hold on the tight end spot, however, his fumble in the first preseason game suggests he’s not as well-polished as starter Zach Ertz. There’s certainly potential there for Burton, but not necessarily fantasy potential.
Tight End Three — Since head coach Doug Pederson entered the picture, Celek has been relegated to more of blocking role. Ertz and Burton seem to have the lion’s share of the targets.
Defense and Special Teams
Eagles Defense and Special Teams — Top Ten — Eagles special teams coordinator Dave Fipp is the secret success of the Chip Kelly era in Philadelphia. The Eagles have been incredible on special teams since his addition to the team and there’s little reason to expect that to change.
It now looks like the same could be said of Coach Pederson and Jim Schwartz for the defense. The defensive line looks amazing. Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Tim Jernigan, and either Derek Barnett or Chris Long are sure to put up some serious numbers in 2017. The cornerback position may be of some concern, but Ronald Darby and Sidney Jones could be the saviors the secondary’s been needing for years. Throw in some ball hawking safeties like Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod and the Eagles defense and special teams is looking like a top-ten finisher in 2017 across most leagues.
Caleb Sturgis, Kicker — Top Ten — Sturgis hasn’t had an amazing preseason, but he’s got the backing of the coaching staff and a great 2016 to build on. The concerns are exaggerated and Sturgis belongs on your fantasy team.