The Philadelphia Eagles enter the 2014 NFL season as a very interesting team from a fantasy perspective. There are questions that need to be asked–can the NFL teams catch up to Chip Kelly’s offense having seen it for a full season? Can the Eagles withstand the losses of key WRs Desean Jackson and Jason Avant? Can the Eagles replace their locker room leader Michael Vick? Let’s dive in and figure it out.
Philadelphia Eagles Offseason Changes
Offseason Acquisitions – RB Darren Sproles, FS Malcolm Jenkins, SS Chris Maragos, CB Nolan Carroll
Philadelphia Eagles Quarterbacks
Nick Foles was given an opportunity to win and run away with the QB job after Michael Vick went down (in normal Vick fashion), and run with it he did. He put up a stat line of 2891 passing yards, 221 rushing yards, 30 total TDs, and all while throwing a staggering two interceptions in 10 starts. Foles will be taking snaps behind a much healthier offensive line this season–an offensive line that, like their quarterback, now has a full season of the Chip Kelly offense under their belt. The backup job is up for grabs between Matt Barkley and Mark Sanchez. If Foles goes down and you are desperate, the backup QB on this team will fall into a great position.
Philadelphia Eagles Running Backs
The Eagles will trot out top three running back and PPR monster LeSean McCoy in 2014. McCoy’s speed is up there with the best, he turns loss of yardage runs into gains, and churns out TDs. Oh yeah, and he is a pass catching machine in the flat. McCoy got winded at various points last season, which was mostly due to being unaccustomed to Kelly’s go-go-go offense, but still managed to accrue 1600 rushing yards, 539 receiving yards, and 11 total TDs.
With the addition of running back Darren Sproles, I’d definitely look for a bit of a dip in the total yardage numbers for McCoy. Sproles is not much of a bruiser between the tackles, but much like McCoy he has a lot of burst and catches passes to earn his paycheck. Ultimately Sproles makes the Eagles better as a team, but hurts McCoy’s valuea little bit. Instead of the workhorse out-touching the backup three-to-one per usual, we may be looking at closer to a 60-40 split. In a PPR league Sproles will find a home in every league. Chris Polk will serve as the third string back, and will only have fantasy value if McCoy gets injured.
Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver
The wide receiver corps coming into this season consists of a gang of question marks. Jeremy Maclin, coming off of a season lost to injury, is the first. In 2012 he compiled 850 yards on 69 catches while catching seven TDs. Riley Cooper broke out a bit once Foles took over, grabbing 47 passes for 835 yards and eight TDs. Cooper has the potential to be an Eric Decker-type receiver, and if Foles repeats his 2013 season, we may see that him realize that potential this season. Josh Huff played under Chip Kelly in Oregon so he knows the offense and should have a leg up on the fourth receiver job right out of the gate. Jordan Matthews could step right in to the third WR spot, as he offers both red zone and blocking skills. Both are built for this lethal, fast-paced offense.
Philadelphia Eagles Tight Ends:
Zach Ertz will come into camp with the starting tight end job and should excel in 2014. In his rookie season he amassed 469 yards on 36 catches for four TDs, and I see all of those numbers climbing a bit this season. His backup will be long-time Eagle Brent Celek. Celek had 500 yards and six TDs last season, and if Ertz gets hurt or does not produce early can prove to be a quality matchup TE given the opportunity.
Philadelphia Eagles Rookies
WR – Jordan Matthews
WR – Josh Huff
Philadelphia Eagles Defense
The Eagles defense held opponents to 21 points or less in 11 of their final 12 games of the season. They really started to mesh and did not lose any major contributors this offseason while adding depth to the backfield. They should be drafted in most leagues.
Philadelphia Eagles Summary:
There are lots of offensive weapons on this team and plenty of sleeper potential at WR and TE. The main guys to concern yourself with on this team are QB Nick Foles, RBs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles, and WRs Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin. This offense is based on trust, so I would give Cooper the edge here over Maclin if I were forced to choose one.