Eagles Fantasy News
Monday, July 21, 2014, 10:49am
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.
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Friday, July 18, 2014, 1:23pm
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.
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'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.
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
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."
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
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.
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
"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.
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.
Sunday, July 13, 2014, 12:31pm
Celek turns 29 after the season and had his role changed in Chip Kelly’s offense, catching just 32 passes last year, his fewest since his second season.
Kelly drafted Zach Ertz with a high second-round pick last year. Ertz caught 36 passes for 469 yards last year and is expected to have an increased role this season.
Everyone kept waiting for the Eagles to use their TEs more last year, especially when WR Riley Cooper was struggling early on. While it never really happened, many feel this will be the year, especially for Ertz. We rank Ertz 13th among TEs. We all know by now this is a pretty top-heavy position with a lot of parity after that. Ertz is certainly among that group. But until the Eagles show they are going to use him more, he'll come with some risk.
Sunday, July 13, 2014, 10:30am
The biggest question surrounding the Eagles wide receivers for the 2014 season is how are the 82 catches, 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns that DeSean Jackson took with him to Washington going to be replaced?
There isn’t one answer.
“We have some options,” Eagles wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell said. “Our room is a little different this year. There’s been some change, but that makes it fun. It’s challenging. I like our room.”
From a fantasy perspective, the Eagles wide receiver situation is one to watch this summer. Can Riley Cooper continue his success without DJax and will Jeremy Maclin come back and stay healthy and put up WR1 numbers are two of the biggest questions. Eagle WRs could shape up to be risky plays. We rank Maclin 37th and Cooper 54th, so right now they should only be counted on as depth guys on your roster, but they certainly have the potential to be more.
Friday, July 11, 2014, 9:13pm
"There are tight ends in the league now I know he's better than -- an All-Pro tight end like Jimmy Graham," Huff told Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in May. "That's saying a lot. Guys like Tony Gonzalez, who's no longer in the league. Those athletic guys. Rob Gronkowski. I feel like he can be better than those guys."
The Packers were willing to take a chance, signing Lyerla to a free-agent contract in May. One of the more fascinating prospects in Green Bay's camp, the rookie's supporters continue to suggest one thing: His future is up to him.
"Just a monster," former teammate Terrance Mitchell told the newspaper. "Colt is a beast. I don't know how to explain it. A monster, a beast. ..."
While these comparisons are wild and probably inaccurate, it's still good to hear that his former teammates have a lot of confidence in him. If he can get his head on straight, he has a great opportunity to shine for the Packers, who are looking for a tight end to carry the torch.
Bryce Brown could be Bills' RB1 in 2015
Friday, July 11, 2014, 12:03pm
Brown is a decade younger than Jackson and comes to the team after piling up 4.6 yards per carry in limited action over 32 games for the Eagles. He plowed for 347 yards in back-to-back starts for Philly in 2012 but saw his snaps wither away last season under coach Chip Kelly.
He may not have much value in 2014, but Brown is shaping up to be a good dynasty acquisition, especially if Spiller and/or Jackson do not return next season.
Jaws: Eagles will need to tweak the offense
Friday, July 11, 2014, 11:40am
"I will guarantee you this: every pass that he threw last year was studied and watched by 30 personnel guys with the three teams in this division.They studied Nick Foles to every possible nuance: Where is his foot when he is coming out from under center? Does his heel come up a split second before the snap? Does he flick his hand to get into position before the ball is snapped? They will study every nuance of his game on coaches tape, on television to hear his voice inflection, to see where he turns. Is the ball snapped when his head is looking downfield rather than left to right? All these things, they will have broken his game down. Nick has to make that adjustment. Now that teams have adjusted to him, does he adjust to what they do?
"It's the same thing with the system: the familiarity with the system for the Eagles is great but now all the teams are studying that system. What does Chip do? Does he take this offense to the next level?
Jaws believes Kelly only utilized about half of his playbook last year, and can use more now that the players and assistants are better versed in the scheme.
"It was a vertical passing game. It was an explosive offense, big plays down the field...I think what [Kelly's] going to do instead of the vertical passing game, which was so effective last year, I think he tweaks it a little bit. I think it's going to be more of a horizontal game, sideline to sideline. Spread it that 160 feet on sideline to the other. Work in between the linebackers, maybe a safety will roll down, there's space in there. The offense might not be as explosive but it can be more efficient with that style of offense."
Both concerns (opponents studying the system and the loss of D-Jax) are valid, but Kelly seems ahead of the game scheme-wise, and the offense will compensate for the loss of Jackson by leaning on other playmakers. Darren Sproles, Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff are new arrivals, and the emergence of Zach Ertz should not be overlooked. We believe that Foles has top 5 potential in 2014.
Lions RB Theo Riddick is going to have 'opportunities' in passing game
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 1:03pm
"I'm telling you, if he doesn't have 50 catches this year, I'll be surprised because he's going to have opportunities and he's very talented at it," Orlovsky said. "I think he's going to play that Sproles role, for sure."
It strains credulity that a timeshare running back would have more receptions (50) in his second season than snaps (49) in his first season, but Orlovsky insists there are specific packages drawn up to put the ball in Riddick's hands.
"He's going to have eight passes a game," Orlovsky said, "whether they're screens, whether they're one-on-ones, whether they're checkdowns, where they're going to be pass plays called for him."
If Riddick sees as large of a role as Orlovsky predicts, it's going to put a dent in the workloads of Bell and Reggie Bush. We can envision a three-headed RBBC since Lombardi comes from the Saints, but we'll see how much buzz Riddick is generating in camp now that Bell is completely healthy.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 12:19pm
Pro Bowl is the mandate. We’re not here just to play football. We’re here to dominate.
That’s the motto that floated off the lips of Tom Bender when speaking of his Atlanta-based program, which trains anywhere from 25-35 NFL players at a time during the offseason. It sounds a bit bold until you consider that his clientele includes the likes of Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Demaryius Thomas, arguably the top three receivers in the game.
"He's learning a lot, he's integrating well and we're cleaning up some of his college issues," said Bender with a laugh.
"That's for us to discuss. It's just a matter of getting him to move better, clean up his routes, just clean up all aspects of his game."
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.
Monday, July 7, 2014, 4:20pm
But who takes the role of Darren Sproles – the shifty, multifaceted running back who can run the ball and make plays as a receiver in the open field?
Backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky has an idea. His bold prediction for the Lions’ 2015 season, as he told Ross Tucker on the Ross Tucker Football Podcast, is that Theo Riddick will catch at least 50 passes.
Those are pretty lofty totals, especially with two, fine pass-catching backs in Reggie Bush and Joique Bell ahead of Riddick. But if Bell or Bush were to go down at some point this season, Riddick may be able to fill in nicely without much loss in production if the Lions decide to keep the game plan the same.
Monday, July 7, 2014, 8:25am
The Lions Matthew Stafford had a down year in 2013, in part to drops. But some of those struggles were the result of the quarterback's inconsistent mechanics and occasionally questionable decision-making.
With a coaching staff dedicated to refining Stafford's technique, and an improved arsenal of weapons, it would be stunning if the Lions' franchise quarterback didn't take a step forward with his accuracy this season, while dropping his interception rate.
Stafford's mechanics have often come under fire and we've seen mixed results throughout his career. Still, the weapons around him are tempting enough to take a chance on Stafford as your fantasy QB this season, especially if you're set on not taking one of the Big 3 early in drafts. We rank Stafford 5th on our list, and he is among that second tier of QBs along with Nick Foles and Andrew Luck.