Welcome to the 2018 Fantasy Football Season. We will be outlaying our team previews over the next couple weeks, starting with the NFC East. Today we begin with the Eagles who have some interesting questions at the RB position, get Carson Wentz back at QB as well as Jason Peters back on the Oline to bolster what was the best line in the NFL last season.
Carson Wentz will return in 2018 from his ACL tear which he suffered in Week 14 last year. Right now it looks like Wentz will miss all of the preseason, but is still expected to be ready for Week 1. Wentz progressed mightily in his 2nd season basically doubling his throwing TD’s from 17 to 33 and reducing his Int’s by half with just 7. Wentz displays excellent pocket presence, awareness and athletic ability. He looked completely comfortable last year and that should continue in 2018 playing behind what will arguably be the best offensive line going into the 2018 season. Wentz does rely a lot on his legs to escape and make throws on the run, so the recovery from his injury is something he will need to learn how to manage early on. Still, he is incredibly talented and surrounded by outstanding coaching. Despite offensive coordinator Frank Reich leaving, Doug Pederson will be calling the plays again in 2018. Wentz has being participating on 7 on 7 drills and individual drills, but stay tuned to his progress as continue to move through training camp. I do expect Wentz to come back strong and have another terrific season, he is a special player at the QB position.
Nick Foles will be Wentz backup again in the 2018 season. Unless Wentz does end up being out a week or two, then obviously no need to add Foles. If Foles does step in, we can obviously be confident in his ability to produce in this offense. I was always a Foles doubter, but he proved me wrong and shocked the world last year. Huge Props to him.
Jay Ajayi returns in a contract year to be the head of this RB corps. He came to the Eagles prior to Week 9 last year and saw his touches in improve as the season went on. He averaged about 14 carries a game and nearly 6 YPC, in this congruent Eagles offense. Ajayi is only 25 and should be a solid selection in Drafts. The situation doesn’t get much better playing for the Eagles and running behind their excellent offensive line. The one negative here is Ajayi only had 1 TD for the Eagles and barely had any goal line work. But now with Blount gone, that should change some.
The 2nd year RB out of Wisconsin, Corey Clement, returns to the Eagles in 2018 looking to parlay the success he had at the end of the 2017 season. Clement was a huge factor in the Eagles Super Bowl win, catching four passes for a 100 yards and a TD. Although he did not have a game over 70 total yards before that, he did however have six touchdowns. Averaging about 6 touches a game last year, Clement should be more of a factor in the Eagles offense in 2018, but the question is to what extent. Ajayi I believe is the better overall runner and you also have a healthy Darren Sproles and Donnel Pumphrey returning. Clement is a decent runner, more of a hybrid player that needs to be utilized in the passing game as well. This role should continue and he certainly will have success. I see him as a fairly solid flex play week to week.
Darren Sproles returns to the Eagles at the age of 35 coming off an ACL tear and broken arm injury suffered in week 3 last year. Sproles averaged 9 touches per game in Weeks 1 and 2 before going down. Early reports in camp are Sproles looks like his normal self. I do think the vet will demand touches in this offense and the Eagles coaches will be obliged to give him those touches. He will be a somewhat of a hindrance to both Clement and Ajayi, but won’t be enough of a factor to draft or add to your Fantasy Teams unless one of them gets hurt.
Another RB who is sort of a deep sleeper on this team is Donnell Pumphrey. A 4th round pick last year and an excellent player out of San Diego State, Pumphrey’s game looks a lot like Sproles. Pumphrey missed the entirety of the 2017 season with a torn hamstring. He has supposedly shined early on in training camp and I truly could see him being a factor in this offense at some point. A good late best ball pick, Dynasty, Keeper or deep bench league selection.
The Eagles also still have Wendell Smallwood, who has not looked good in camp this year and has not produced in his first two seasons in the NFL. I can see him being cut, either that or he will not be a factor. Matt Jones was also signed, but the plodding back has underwhelmed in his short three-year career and is currently hurt with a lower leg injury. That doesn’t bode well for him making the final roster. The last back on this team is rookie Josh Adams out of Notre Dame. Adams was undrafted and signed by the Eagles. He played behind arguably one of the best offensive lines in College Football, and ran through some giant holes, but he does have good speed for a big back, can break tackles and has some decent agility. (4.5 forty, 6’2, 225) But hey, from the best offensive line in College to the best offensive line in the NFL. I can see Adams making the roster, he’s worth keeping an eye on.
Alshon Jeffrey didn’t have a big time Fantasy Season in his first year with the Eagles finishing with just 57 catches for 789 yards, but he did end up with the 2nd best TD total of his career, catching nine TD’s. He also had a strong playoff run catching 12 balls for 219 yards and three TD’s in three games. Jeffery had offseason rotator cuff surgery and is currently on the PUP list, but like Wentz is expected back Week 1. It may take Jeffrey a little while to get going, but once he does I think he will out due his 2017 season. He is the Eagles best WR and their best red zone target. Jeffery has a chance to 80 catches, 1,000 yards with double-digit TD’s in 2018.
Remeber the 3 year rule for WR’s? Nelson Agholor fit that rule last year with a career season in his 3rd season in the NFL. After being labeled a bust after two seasons, Agholor finished with 62 catches for 768 yards and eight TD’s in 2017. Whether or not it was the sports psychologist, getting smarter on the field or simply the system or QB play, Agholor proved his doubters wrong. Now, he didn’t put up bigtime numbers and I don’t think Agholor is a special WR, but playing in this offense he is going to produce as a fairly decent WR3. There are some concerns with the addition of Mike Wallace, who is definitely an upgrade over Torrey Smith, but I think Agholor can still finish with similar numbers to last year.
The speedy veteran Mike Wallace joins the Eagles in 2018. 32 years young, Wallace still has plenty of juice and is still a playmaker. Wallace isn’t a special route runner, he’s all speed. He is never going to be a guy who finishes with a ton of catches (73 is career high) but he is capable of putting up 1,000 yards and double-digit TD’s. Will that happen in 2018? Probably not, but Wallace is going to be a nice addition to this offense. Look for him to finish with around 50-70 catches for 700-800 yards and about 5-8 TD’s.
Mack Hollins a 4th Round pick from last year, will likely be the Eagles 4th WR to start the season. A beast in College at UNC, the 6’4, 220 Hollins has 4.5 speed and the potential to really grow as a player in 2018. Hollins will also enjoy the comforts of having the same WR coach he had in college in Gunter Brewer. He will likely need an injury to be truly Fantasy Relevant, but at some point this season he could emerge. You know how Fantasy Football goes, unknowns come out of nowhere all the time. Anybody who gets playing time in this offense can prove valuable. Hollins could prove to be a good pick in best ball, dynasty and deeper leagues or simply a good addition off the waiver wire.
The Eagles currently have six other WR’s on their current Depth Chart with Greg Ward who was a former QB at the University of Houston, Shelton Gibson who was a 5th round pick last year out of West Virginia, UDFA’s Bryce Triggs, Rashad Jones and DeAndre Carter as well as veterans Markus Wheaton and Kamar Aiken. You can forget about Markus Wheaton, maybe Aiken can make an impact at some point and of the other guys possibly Rashad Jones (runs a 4.3, great return guy) Greg Ward and Shelton Gibson who have all received praise from the coaching staff this preseason. More than likely none of these guys will do anything this season to be Fantasy worthy.
In both 2015 and 2016, Zach Ertz finished the season strong. In 2017, Ertz came produced consistently throughout the year finishing with 74 catches for 824 yards and eight TD’s. Ertz is easily one of the most talented and polished Tight Ends in the league and you can expect him to finish with similar numbers to last year. Love Ertz, sound, smart player, good route runner playing with an excellent QB and system.
The Eagles lost a very talented player in Trey Burton, but looked to have replenish that loss just fine with the addition of 2nd round pick Dallas Goedert out of South Dakota State. 6’5 256, this guys play reminds me a lot of Gronk. He stands out to me on tape and this is a player I would look to target in all leagues. Obviously Best Ball, Dynasty and deep leagues are the best fit. But this is a guy you need to keep on your radar. The talent is there, although the playing time may not be initially, you have to think the Eagles will find ways to get this kid the ball. Wow, just really impressed with this kid. Dallas Goedert, the Eagles knew what they were doing when they drafted him.
Former packer Richard Rogers is also on the roster, he’s at least worth mentioning in case there is an injury to Goedert or Ertz, as Rodgers is a capable player and could produce in starting role on this team.
The Eagles will return with another prolific offense in 2018. Arguably the best offensive line in the game, a great coaching staff and two good QB’s. The Eagles basically have a built-in insurance plan that will ensure any players you draft from their team. If Wentz goes down, Foles can step in and operate this offense just fine. They have solid depth and have plug and play options at every position. No doubt they should repeat as NFC East Champs.
Next up: The New York Football Giants.