Eagles Fantasy News

Monday, July 28, 2014, 8:44am

Philly.com - [Full Article]

Since his return to practice back in April, Jeremy Maclin has professed that he is a "stronger" version of his former self. "You can just base it off certain things that you do in the weight room, on the football field," he said. "And also mentally stronger. When I talk about stronger I mean everything that goes into it."

In the four mostly healthy seasons that preceded his lost one, Maclin provided the kind of consistency and dependability Kelly has preached since the day he arrived. Maclin also fills nicely some of the leadership void created by Jason Avant's departure, an ideal veteran for rookies Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff to model their work ethic around.

Still, it is hard to tell if Maclin is physically stronger than he was before that gruesome injury.

It is also hard to believe that he is mentally stronger. This is a man, after all, who was abandoned by his father at 9 and raised by the little league football coach. This is also a man whose undisclosed illness in 2011 forced him to miss a chunk of training camp and led to wide speculation about cancer and his career ending, a man whose ACL tear last August was the second to that knee in his career and, coming at the onset of his final contract season, led to even more speculation about the end of his career.

Fantasy Impact:

Maclin is poised to fill a big role on the field too now that DeSean Jackson is out of the picture. Maclin isn't Jackson in terms of speed, but the Birds feel Maclin will still fill in nicely opposite of Riley Cooper. While QB Nick Foles is one of our top-rated at the position, Eagles WRs are further down our list. Maclin comes in at 36th, but his ADP of the 7th round is considerably lower than those ranked around him, so owners are banking on a productive season.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014, 4:26pm

Philadelphia Magzine - [Full Article]

The Eagles ran a package with RBs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles on the field together. On one play, they both line up in the backfield. On the next play, Sproles sets up in the slot and runs a shallow crosser.

Fantasy Impact:
This could be a dangerous package for defenses to stop as both McCoy and Sproles are good out of the backfield catching passes. It also shows that Sproles may not just be limited to lone-back formations backing up McCoy or even just third downs or returns.

Sorting out the Saints backfield

Saturday, July 26, 2014, 4:43pm

USA Today - [Full Article]

These Saints are stocked deep at running back. They have Pierre Thomas, the 8th-year veteran likely to assume more of a third-down role as the group's best receiver and pass protector following the offseason trade of dual-threat back Darren Sproles. Mark Ingram was running with the first team at Saturday practice, a sign he will likely get every chance to wrestle the starting job from Thomas. Payton and his staff hope Ingram rises to the challenge. If not, there is last year's late-season standout Khiry Robinson, the quick, powerful undrafted free agent from West Texas A&M whom Hall-of-Fame coach Bill Parcells compared to a young Curtis Martin.

Fantasy Impact:
Thomas racked up 224 touches for 1,062 yards and five TDs as the lead back in the 2013 version of the Saints’ committee at running back. With Darren Sproles gone, Thomas’s catches aren’t likely to take much of a hit, especially if he plays more on third down, as the article suggests. The team has shown signs of moving to Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson more in the running game, so PT may have trouble pushing 150 carries again in 2014. Still, he’ll be a regular part of the rotation in a potent offense and should be a good value in the middle rounds. In PPR formats, he has finished in the top 30 in PPG in five of the last six seasons. It looks like Ingram will get first crack at carries on 1st/2nd down, but Robinson will be in the mix as well.

Saturday, July 26, 2014, 4:25pm

NJ.com - [Full Article]

Although he is just a rookie, Eagles receiver Jordan Matthews already talks and acts like a 10-year veteran. Part of the reasoning for that could be that during this last month, when other players were resting and preparing for training camp, Matthews sought out the advice of some of the best receivers in the NFL in Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions and A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals. "People put a lot of stock into the first day of training camp, but (succeeding in the NFL) is about who can sustain and who can make it through the season," Matthews said. "That is what I went to train with A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson for. To learn about longevity, learn about being a professional over a long period of time."

Breaking down the Lions' backfield

Saturday, July 26, 2014, 1:40pm

Detroit News - [Full Article]

When new OC Joe Lombardi was in New Orleans, the Saints mixed in three or four backs each game, as well as a fullback, and each back had a variety of assignments. The most likely scenario in Detroit is for Joique Bell to play the Pierre Thomas role as the “starter” who receives the bulk of the inside carries, particularly on first and second down, while also being involved in the screen game. Reggie Bush fills into the Darren Sproles role as a player who’ll receive some carries but often line up as a receiver and be dangerous on third down. The most carries Bush had during his five seasons in New Orleans was 157, and even though he’s a better runner now, he’s still most effective in space. Then there’s Theo Riddick, who will earn more playing time because of his versatility as a runner and potential slot receiver. Riddick looked great during the offseason, and after being the No. 3 back out of camp last year, there’s no reason to expect a change in 2014. If the Lions use their backs like the Saints, there will be many times where two backs will be on the field together. Bell and Bush could both be in the backfield, Bush and Riddick could line up out wide, Bell could be out wide with Riddick in the backfield — the options are endless.

Fantasy Impact:
The uncertainty starts with Bush, who averaged 15.9 carries per game last season compared to the 8.7 carries he saw in five seasons with the Saints. Even though his role was different while in New Orleans, he averaged 10.0 PPG in standard formats (RB18-type numbers) and 14.9 PPG (RB11 numbers) in 60 games with the Saints, though his catches may be under pressure if Theo Riddick lives up to the hype. Bell figures to be a good value in the 5th round, but Bush's role is harder to pin down. He should be a solid RB2 in PPR formats if Lombardi uses Bush in the same role as he had while with the Saints.

Beat: Jordan Matthews 'could emerge' as WR1 by end of season

Saturday, July 26, 2014, 12:53pm

NJ.com - [Full Article]

Eliot Shorr-Parks says that Eagles WR Jordan Matthews is a player to watch: Despite being a rookie and third on the depth chart, the most intriguing name on the Eagles' offense is receiver Jordan Matthews. Part of that has to do with the uncertainty in the unit, as any one of the trio of Matthews, Jeremy Maclin or Riley Cooper could emerge as the No. 1 receiver by year's end. Matthews certainly seems to have the talent to do it, as he has a combination of height and speed that the other two simply don't. Although he was running with the second team during minicamps -- behind receiver Brad Smith -- that is likely short lived. Seeing where Matthews lines up during training camp will give a major hint as to how Kelly plans on using him during the regular season.

Fantasy Impact:
Matthews will likely see snaps in the slot (at least) this season. Jeremy Maclin is working his way back from an ACL injury and Riley Cooper is solid, but unspectacular. There is opportunity in this offense if Matthews has a great summer, and by most accounts he has. Rookie wideouts usually don’t live up to their ADP, but there is the occasional exception.

Saints WR Kenny Stills (quad) 'pulled up lame' in practice

Friday, July 25, 2014, 2:51pm

NOLA.com - [Full Article]

Wide receiver Kenny Stills pulled up lame on a pass route and had to leave the field. Payton said it was a right quadriceps injury that flared up on the play. Payton said Stills had similar tightness two weeks ago.

Fantasy Impact:
Stills figures to see a jump in snaps and targets after the Saints lost both Lance Moore and Darren Sproles, who saw a combined 143 targets last year. Stills should get at minimum the 5.5 T/G that Moore saw in the past three years, making him an intriguing WR3 with upside. The arrival of Brandin Cooks does take some of the wind out his sails, but that should only serve to keep his ADP at a reasonable level. Drew Brees had a QB rating of 139.3 when throwing to Stills, the highest in the league. He’s bound to improve as a second year receiver and is playing in one of the best pass offenses in the league. There’s a lot to like here. Hopefully the quad injury doesn't linger.

Friday, July 25, 2014, 2:49pm

NOLA.com - [Full Article]

Drew Brees can certainly get used to New Orleans Saints first-round pick wide receiver Brandin Cooks terrorizing secondaries with his speed and ball skills. Cooks came up with the play of the day as the Saints wrapped up their first full training camp practice Friday morning at the pristine facility at The Greenbrier. It probably won't be his last. The wideout darted through the Saints secondary on a deep post pattern. Brees' pass was slightly behind Cooks, but Cooks displayed why he deserved a first-round selection as he adjusted to the approaching football by slowing down. Cooks then outleaped rookie safety Ty Zimmerman to haul in the reception.

Fantasy Impact:
The Saints spread the ball around, but not only do they have to replace the departed Lance Moore, the team has to also replace the production of Darren Sproles in the receiving game. The two combined for 143 targets in 2013, so while we're expecting Kenny Stills to see a larger role, there are targets for the speedy Cooks as well.

Eagles TEs Ertz, Celek 'playing two different positions'

Friday, July 25, 2014, 12:34pm

Philly Mag - [Full Article]

Brent Celek is the starter and that's not expected to change this year. In a way, Celek and Zach Ertz are playing two different positions. Kelly explained that Ertz [as well as James Casey] is being used as a "move" tight end in this offense. That is similar to the way Aaron Hernandez was deployed in New England -- as more of a "Joker" that lines up in various spots and is used primarily as a pass-catcher. Celek is more of the traditional "in-line" tight end where blocking is a bigger priority. Celek could very well end up with more snaps, but that doesn't mean that Ertz won't be featured prominently.

Fantasy Impact:
Ertz averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. With Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson gone, Ertz could play a lot in the slot, though the arrival of WR Jordan Matthews may limit Ertz’s snaps there.

Monday, July 21, 2014, 10:49am

NJ.com - [Full Article]

Jordan Matthews hasn't suited up for even one NFL game, but there it is fair to ask if he is already the most talented receiver on the Eagles' roster. Teammates and coaches raved about him during minicamps, as the rookie receiver caught everything thrown his way. HC Chip Kelly said after drafting Matthews that he will start the receiver out in the slot, but it will be interesting to see how much he is moved around. If Matthews lives up to expectations he set this offseason, he is going to be much more than third wide receiver.

Fantasy Impact:
Matthews will likely see snaps in the slot (at least) this season. Jeremy Maclin is working his way back from an ACL injury and Riley Cooper is solid, but unspectacular. There is opportunity in this offense if Matthews has a great summer, and by most accounts he has.

Friday, July 18, 2014, 1:23pm

ESPN - [Full Article]

Saints beat writer Mike Triplett on rookie WR Brandin Cooks: I usually consider myself a voice of reason when it comes to predicting the level of impact any rookie can have in the NFL. But even my practical, sensible side believes Cooks can become the Saints' first offensive rookie of the year in nearly three decades, joining Rueben Mayes (1986) and George Rogers (1981). Cooks was the 20th pick in the draft, and no other offensive weapon landed in a better place to immediately showcase his skill set. Even if Cooks is only the third or fourth option in New Orleans' versatile offense, you know coach Sean Payton will find a way to create mismatches for him and quarterback Drew Brees will find a way to exploit them. I'm not necessarily predicting blockbuster numbers for Cooks, since the Saints spread the ball around so much. But even if he catches something like 70 passes for 800 yards, he'll be doing it for a Super Bowl contender. And he's likely to hit a lot of "home runs" on a variety of screens, reverses, deep balls and punt returns.

Fantasy Impact:
The Saints spread the ball around, but not only do they have to replace the departed Lance Moore, the team has to also replace the production of Darren Sproles in the receiving game. The two combined for 143 targets in 2013, so while we're expecting Kenny Stills to see a larger role, there are targets for the speedy Cooks as well.

'No surprise' if LeSean McCoy matches '13 workload

Thursday, July 17, 2014, 11:15am

Philly Mag - [Full Article]

Philly Mag's Sheil Kapadia... The pressing question: Will Chip Kelly lighten LeSean McCoy’s workload? On his way to setting the franchise record for rushing yards, McCoy led the NFL in carries (314) and touches (366). Only Chicago's Matt Forte played more snaps. The Eagles added Darren Sproles in the offseason. Does that mean they want to give McCoy more of a breather in 2014? The answer, as I see it, is no. McCoy often mentions how his running style lends itself to fewer big hits, and the numbers suggest there could be something to that. In the Eagles' final four regular season games, he piled up 519 yards and averaged 6.3 YPC. In the fourth quarters of games, he led the NFL with 441 yards and averaged 6.0 YPC, according to STATS, Inc. In other words, there were no signs that his production took a hit because of the heavy workload. McCoy is only 26 years old and the focal point of the Eagles' offense. Matching last year's number of touches would be no surprise. Assuming health, he's as close to a lock as there is to finish as one of the top three rushers in the NFL.

Fantasy Impact:
Due to the arrival of Darren Sproles and Jordan Matthews, and the expected emergence of Zach Ertz, we would be surprised if the Eagles didn't lighten McCoy's workload a bit. We currently have him projected for 337 touches, which represents an 8 percent drop in touches. He's still a top 3 RB in both PPR and standard formats.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:38pm

Philly Mag - [Full Article]

Eagles beat writer Sheil Kapadia was asked to come up with a couple possible surprises in the team's starting lineup: "It's difficult to come up with a second one, but I'll go with Zach Ertz. I know that won't "shock" anybody, but the TE situation is a fascinating one to monitor. We won't know until the season starts how much the offense misses DeSean Jackson. But if teams continue to play man coverage against the Eagles, and guys don't get open, Kelly will have to feature Ertz more. He's a superior option to Brent Celek in the passing game at this point. "If I'm putting money down, I still say Celek starts and plays more snaps - primarily because he's a much better run blocker. But the TE situation is one to keep an eye on."

Fantasy Impact:
For Ertz, snaps may be the only thing standing in the way of a breakout season. Ertz averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. With Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson gone, Ertz could play a lot in the slot, though the arrival of WR Jordan Matthews may limit Ertz’s snaps there.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014, 6:43pm

philadelphiaeagles.com - [Full Article]

Part of the expected release of pressure on Eagles RB LeSean McCoy comes in the addition of Darren Sproles, the dynamic running back who is the NFL’s leader in all-purpose yardage since 2007. That the Eagles parted with a fifth-round pick tells you that the team has a large role in mind for Sproles, who had no fewer than 71 receptions in each of his three seasons with the Saints. Meanwhile, Sproles should be expected to contribute as a returner on special teams as well – which is something the Eagles are well aware of after his 39-yard kickoff return in the Wild Card round put New Orleans in great field position to set up the game-winning field goal as time expired.

Fantasy Impact:
Given the amount of plays the Eagles should run, McCoy shouldn't lose a ton of fantasy value with the presence of Sproles. However any hit will likely be some receptions. Still, we think McCoy and Sproles are around the 50-catch mark this year. Sproles could have some value in deeper PPR leagues.

Monday, July 14, 2014, 5:28pm

NFL.com - [Full Article]

Coming out of a spring that saw Eagles rookie Jordan Matthews earn rave reviews as the team's top pass-catcher, expectations around Philly's second-round pick continue to climb. "You guys are seeing the same things we are," Eagles receivers coach Bob Bicknell told NJ.com. "He's looked very good so far." Coach Chip Kelly wasted no time after the draft talking up Matthews as a candidate to man the slot alongside Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper. With DeSean Jackson out the door, the rookie is in good position to make an impact for a wideout group that Bicknell called a "little different this year" in terms of on-field skills.

Fantasy Impact:
An NFL scout added to the article by saying, "I think Matthews is really going to help them. That was a good pick. He could step right in and contribute for them. Can he start? Possibly, that depends on the other guys." It looks like Matthews could at least be the slot WR between Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin. There are a lot of question marks around the team's WRs and only Maclin cracks our top-35, coming in at 31. But all three could certainly offer some mid-to-late round fantasy value with Nick Foles at QB.