The Eagles had an injury filled season as they tried to defend their Super Bowl title. Carson Wentz wasn’t healthy to begin the season, and seemed to struggle getting acclimated before going down once again with a back injury. Luckily for the Eagles, Nick Foles still had enough magic to get them back to the playoffs and pull off an upset against the Chicago Bears with the help of the unlikely “Double Doink.” The Eagles then came close to upsetting the No. 1 seed New Orleans Saints, but as they were in position to score to win the game a pass went through the hands of Alshon Jeffery for an interception to end their season.
With Foles now gone, the question this year is can Wentz stay healthy?
The Eagles were not making headlines this off-season, but when you have a strong roster you don’t need to. The Eagles pondered franchise tagging Foles to trade him, but in the end decided to let him walk and become a Jaguar. The Eagles showed a vote of confidence in Wentz’s ability to stay healthy by not replacing Foles with a high end backup QB.
Mike Wallace moved on after missing most of the season due to injury, but the Eagles upgraded their deep threat by acquiring DeSean Jackson. At running back the Eagles went out and traded a sixth round pick for Chicago running back Jordan Howard. In the draft, the Eagles traded up to take Penn State running back Miles Sanders in the second round. Low turnover is one of the biggest positives of the Eagles off-season with continuity being one of the most underrated aspects of fantasy football.
The Eagles figure to have a top offense with Wentz at the helm, but does that translate to fantasy value?
Wentz is currently the seventh QB off the board in drafted at the end of the seventh round. I think barring injury he is locked in to being a Top 5 fantasy QB, and with the depth at QB it wouldn’t be hard to find a replacement in the case he gets injured. I am usually a wait on QB drafter, but I figure with the uncertainty surrounding the players around him I like the value of Wentz given the aggressive play calling and loaded weapons.
Speaking of weapons, the Eagles have a plethora of pass catchers, but which ones can you rely on for fantasy? Zach Ertz is coming off a career year with a career high in targets and is being drafted as the TE2 at the end of the third round. I do think Ertz will finish as a Top 3 TE, but I’m not sold on his draft value. He is being drafted to repeat his performance from last year, but with Jackson and Dallas Goedert becoming more involved in the offense after a promising rookie season, I worry Ertz will not see the same target volume as last year. I find myself passing on Ertz at his draft price in favor of mid round TE options. Although I am excited about Goedert’s development and increased involvement, I don’t see a path to real fantasy value for Goedert barring an Ertz injury.
At WR, Alshon Jeffery is being drafted as the WR28 in the sixth round. Although Jeffery has touchdown upside, he hasn’t had a 1,000 yard season since 2014. The lack of yardage caps his upside with best case being a back end WR2. For those reasons I am typically passing on Jeffery for higher upside options. Jackson on the other hand has shown he’s still got burners, but is being drafted as the WR49 at the end of the 10th round. I think Jackson largely outperforms this value and can be a solid WR3 option, but will be interesting to see if he can get enough target share to be a consistent fantasy option rather than a boom or bust player.
The running back situation is one to closely monitor. At this point, reports out of training camp are Howard dominating first team reps. But aside from goal line work, Howard will struggle to get the type of carries he requires to wear down a defense. Sanders provides more upside as a potential three-down back, but we need to see him earn a starting role in pre-season. Both running backs are currently going back to back at the end of the seventh round as the RB35 and RB36. I think either one could be a solid RB3 option with Sanders having RB2 upside.
If Wentz can stay healthy I believe the Eagles should be considered a Top 5 favorite for the Super Bowl this season. Wentz is one of my favorite bets for MVP at 10–1 or 12–1 odds. Howie Roseman has put together a roster that is as good as any in the NFL and is made to withstand injuries outside of the quarterback position.
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