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How to Approach the Eagles' Fantasy Options Moving Forward


The Philadelphia Eagles blew a fantastic opportunity to solidify themselves as a playoff contender with a 27-20 home loss to their arch-rivals Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. With the loss, the Eagles dropped into a tie for second place in the NFC East with Dallas at 4-5. Philadelphia, coming off its bye its week, really struggled offensively albeit against a strong Cowboys' defense. The Eagles quickly fell behind 3-0 after going three-and-out on the opening possession of the game. Then on the first possession of the team's second possession quarterback Carson Wentz threw a bad interception that set Dallas up in prime position at Philadelphia's 38-yard line. After managing 154 yards of total offense in the first half, the Eagles got things cooking in the second half. Philadelphia went 47 yards on eight plays on its opening drive in the second half after the Eagles' defense forced a three-and-out possession by the Cowboys. While the Eagles were only able to muster a field goal to cut the deficit to  13-6, they scored touchdowns on their next two possessions to knot the game at 20. Dallas answered Philadelphia's second touchdown by going 75 yards on eight plays over 4:08 to take the lead for good.

That is not to say the Eagles gave up because they didn't. The Eagles, on the possession following the Cowboys last touchdown, marched down to the Cowboys 35- yard line but they once again turned the ball over on downs. The 20 points tied for the third-lowest scoring out that the Eagles have produced this year and it is two points fewer than their season average. However, the 421 total offensive yards they racked up were the second-most of the campaign.

The defending 2018 Super Bowl champions appear to be fighting an uphill battle to make the playoffs. The Eagles -- currently two games in back of the division-leading Redskins -- are in 11th place in the conference. Furthermore, they have the most difficult remaining schedule in the league per ESPN Stats & Info -- the Eagles' remaining seven opponents are a combined 40-23 on the season. This is not to say that the Eagles can't catch fire and reach the postseason, but they need help to do so. The good news is that  Darren Sproles (hamstring), as well as wide receivers Mike Wallace (shin) and Mack Hollins (groin), and starting right tackle Lane Johnson (MCL) may return from their injuries soon. The Eagles have plenty of weapons with the addition of Tate. Which begs the question who will see the most playing time going forward? More importantly for fantasy owners, which Eagles’ players should you have in your lineup?

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Quarterbacks

Carson Wentz

Wentz continued his solid play against the Cowboys. The 25-year-old gunslinger, coming off a heck of an October, completed 32 of 44 passes (72.7 percent) for a season-high 360 yards. He also tossed two touchdowns while adding seven yards on the ground.  It marked the fourth straight game that he has completed at least 70 percent of his passes and the second time in the last four games that he threw for 300 yards. Wentz has 10 touchdowns and two interceptions, although one in each of the previous two games, during this stretch.

 

Running Backs

Josh Adams

The undrafted rookie has led the Eagles in rushing in each of the last two games even though he has been on the field less than 20 offensive snaps in each game.

Two weeks after setting a career high with 61 yards on nine carries against Jacksonville, Adams rolled up 47 yards on seven attempts against the Cowboys. That equates to 106 yards on 16 attempts for an outstanding 6.7 yards per carry over this two-game stretch.

Wendell Smallwood

Smallwood has started the last five games at running back for Eagles. However, his workload and playing time have decreased in each of the three games after posting season highs in carries (18), and offensive snaps (44) against the Giants in Week 6. He compiled just 34 total yards from scrimmage on five touches against Dallas. He finished the game with four rushing yards on two attempts and hauled in three receptions for 30 yards. Still, the 24-year-old leads the team in both rushing yards (261) and attempts (62).

Corey Clement

Like Smallwood, Clement has seen his role diminish since the Giants' game. After turning 14 touches into 69 yards -- 43 yards came on 11 carries -- in Week 6, the 24-year-old has totaled 21 chances over the last three weeks. He was limited to 13 rushing yards on five carries against the Cowboys. Meaning that the second-year pro has accumulated a whopping 25 yards on the ground over the last three games. Clement also has four receptions for 10 yards during this period.

Darren Sproles

Sproles has been out with a hamstring issue since Week 2. He came into the season expecting to share the backfield workload with Ajai. The 35-year-old back was the starter in Week 1, but he and Ajai were both on the field for 40 percent of the offensive snaps. Sproles garnered nine touches in the game, although he produced just 10 yards on five runs. The 14th-year vet also grabbed four passes from Nick Foles for 22 yards.

 

Wide Receivers

Nelson Agholor

Agholor has followed his breakout season in 2017 with a solid campaign, so far. The 25-year-old, who began the year as the team's No. 1 receiver, leads the team in yards after catch with 230. He is also second on the squad in receptions, targets along with receiving yards.

Agholor had one of his best games of the season against the Cowboys. The fourth-year pro hauled in five of seven targets for 83 yards for a 71.4 percent catch rate last week. His 16.6 yards per catch and 11.8 yards per target were his second-best totals in those two categories this season. It was his fifth game this year that he has hooked up with the Eagles' quarterbacks on 70 percent of his targets.

Jordan Matthews

Matthews, who signed with the organization before Week 3, has been more involved in the Eagles' offense over the last two games. After being on the field for more than 50 percent of the offensive snaps just once in his first five games with the team, the 26-year-old has done so in each of the last two contests. He has made the most of his opportunity as well, bringing in seven receptions -- on nine targets -- for 133 yards. The fifth-year pro caught three passes for 40 yards, with a long of 18 yards, against the Cowboys.

Matthews leads the Eagles in yards per reception and yards per target.

Alshon Jeffery

Jeffery is unquestionably the Eagles' top wide receiver. Despite missing the first three games of the season, Jeffery is third on the team in targets and receptions (by a large margin) as well as second in touchdowns.

The 28-year-old had mixed results against the Cowboys with four receptions on eight targets for 48 yards.

Golden Tate

Tate had an inauspicious debut last week. After catching Wentz's first pass of the day, he was targeted just three more times. Tate, who was on the field for 18 offensive snaps (29 percent),  finished the game with two receptions for 19 yards.

Mike Wallace

Wallace in his first year with the team started the first two games. He was unable to come up with any of his three targets on the season.

Mack Hollins

Hollins was placed on injured reserve hours before the Eagles' season-opening game. Hollins had 16 receptions and one touchdown for 224 yards in 16 games last year.

 

Tight Ends

Zach Ertz

Ertz had a huge day against the Cowboys, posting season highs across the board. Ertz had 14 receptions on 16 targets for 144 yards and two touchdowns. The big tight end leads the team in targets, catches, yards, and touchdowns.

Dallas Goedert

Goedert, ranks 19th among tight ends in fantasy points, was not targeted despite being on the field for 17 plays in the loss to the Cowboys last week.

 

Wentz and Ertz Are Must Starts

Wentz and Ertz are the only two Eagles' players that fantasy owners must have in their lineups for the remainder of the season.

Wentz is one of the top passers in the league. He throws a lot of passes (38.7) and completes them at a 71 percent clip, which ranks fifth in the NFL, while also not throwing many interceptions. Wentz ranks in the top-10 in the league in passer rating, passing yards per game, yards per attempt, attempts per game, adjusted yards per attempt, adjusted net yards per attempt, completion per game, lowest interception rate, as well as QB rate.

In regards to fantasy, he is 20th among all quarterbacks with 140 points in standard leagues. But on a per game basis, he is averaging 20 points a game which would move him up to No. 10.

Wentz has a fantastic matchup against the New Orleans Saints, who are surrendering the ninth most points overall in the league, in Week 11. The Saints are also giving up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks in the league at 24.5 points a game. The Saints are allowing the 10th most completions, second-most passing yards, fifth-highest completion percentage and the seventh most passing touchdowns per game.

Wentz also has a better than an average matchup against the Giants in Week 12, who he threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns earlier this season. His Week 13 game against Dallas is at least an average matchup.

Ertz has been a top-75 player and top-10 tight end the past for the past four seasons. He is arguably the top player at his position this year. The sixth-year pro has brought in four or more passes in each of the Eagles' nine games. Eight of those games, he has posted five receptions for 40 or more yards, which includes four games of hitting double-digits in receptions. Ertz, who is on pace to obliterate his personal bests in several categories, has four 100-yard receiving games.

Ertz has a strong history against the Eagles'next three opponents. Of the Eagles next three opponents, Dallas has done the worst job defending opposing tight end. The Cowboys are giving up the 17th most fantasy points while the Redskins are permitting the 26th and the Saints the 28th most.

Goedert is locked in as Ertz's primary backup with second-year Josh Perkins being placed on injured reserve on Nov. 16. In a corresponding move, the team activated tight end Richard Rodgers from injured reserve. Goedert's only fantasy value, and only if Ertz gets hurt, is as a cheap DFS flier.

The Eagles receiving corps is a little bit tougher to get a handle on. Jeffery will remain the Eagles No.1 receiver the rest of the season, which puts him as a fantasy WR3 at worst.

Jeffery has been relatively quiet the last few weeks as he has combined to haul in eight of 13 targets for 83 yards in the previous two games. Still, he is averaging 5.5 receptions a contest as he sees almost nine targets a game. The seventh-year wideout, who currently possesses a career-best catch rate of 63.5 percent, has been targeted at least eight times in five of his six contests.

Jeffery is averaging nearly 10 fantasy points a game, which would of put him among the top-20 or so wide receivers had he not missed the first the three games to start the season.

Agholor and Tate are a little bit tougher to gauge. The two players are very similar as both can do a little bit of everything. On separate teams, Tate was a WR2 with significant WR1 upside while Agholor -- depending on the matchup -- was a WR4/Flex at worst to a low WR2 with some upside.

Agholor was on the field for 55 snaps compared to Tate's 18 last week. Agholar also saw nearly twice as many targets as Tate (seven-to-five) and had two-and-a-half times as many receptions (five-to-two). But one has to think that Tate will see more time on the field and more targets at some point. Depending on how the roles shake out, Tate is probably a low-budget WR2 with upside at best and a flex option at worst. Agholor, on the other hand, probably drops to a WR3 at best and at least worth a flier in DFS in the worst case. Tate has been a top-35 wide receiver for the past seven years.

Mathews is the Eagles' fourth receiver going forward, at least until Williams returns in December.  Williams and Mathews are only fantasy worthy, if one of the top three receivers suffers an injury, as a cheap DFS flier.

The Eagles running game is a mess. Sproles is probably the best option due to his versatility, but he has been ruled out for the game against New Orleans. If Sproles can come back this season, he may be worth a look as a flex play in PPR DFS action after his role is more clearly defined. It would be shocking if 100 percent healthy, he is not the team's starter at the end of the season (if the Eagles are still in the playoff hunt).

Adams is currently the best option at running back, and he will likely get the most carries. Smallwood and Clement will probably split time in third down and goal line situations. Smallwood could see a little more time spelling Adams than Clement. Regardless, none of the three players are fantasy worthy for the remainder of the season. The lone exception being that one of the three becomes the clear No. 1 back.




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