Eagles Fantasy News
Friday, August 1, 2014, 6:51pm
Saints RB Tarvaris Cadet is expecting a larger role in the offense. "Coach Payton is a mastermind," Cadet said. "He knows all of our tendencies and what not. I'm pretty sure he will put all of his players in the right positions to be successful. "I feel like my role is going to increase a whole lot." For all his talent, Cadet hasn't shown enough as running back to move up the depth chart in front of Mark Ingram, Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas. Same at receiver, where Marques Colston, Kenny Stills, Robert Meachem, rookie Brandin Cooks and others are expected to form the rotation. Maybe Cadet is ready to change the rotation.
Cadet was the first name that sprung to mind when the team traded Darren Sproles away, but then the Saints drafted the speedy Brandin Cooks. Cadet's role is to be determined.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Kenny Stills returned to the practice fields for Friday afternoon's walk-through at the Greenbrier resort. Stills participated in the walk-through, jogging through several plays. The walk-though is non-contact and is conducted at less than full speed. Stills suffered an injury one week ago during the Saints' first practice of the season. Saints coach Sean Payton described it as a quadriceps injury.
This is an indication that his quad injury is not serious. Stills is one of our favorite sleepers. He 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.
Friday, August 1, 2014, 5:09pm
The biggest name to be sidelined was Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin, who missed the second half of team drills. Why Maclin was sidelined wasn't clear as he sat with his helmet and watched the first team practice.
Friday, August 1, 2014, 4:08pm
Eagles QB Nick Foles has attempted more back shoulder throws in practice this week than he did all of last season, even with lengthy wideout Riley Cooper out with a foot injury. HC Chip Kelly likes to talk about “tools in the toolbox,” and the Eagles have the personnel this year -- Cooper, Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews -- to make the back shoulder throw more prominent in their offense. They’ve become trendy tosses for quarterbacks in a league where wideouts now resemble outside linebackers, and they’re effective because receivers don’t have to create separation with speed to make the play. All it takes is the proper adjustment to an intentionally underthrown pass. “It's part of the game,” offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. “I think they can be very effective if they're thrown with the right timing and at the right spot. So it's just one of the things guys work on. We try to take advantage of every opportunity to get the ball down the field, and that is just another way to do it.”
Friday, August 1, 2014, 12:44pm
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly described the injury to Riley Cooper as not serious, and said that the receiver should be back any day. That day, however, was not Friday. Sporting a walking boot on his right foot walking around the NovaCare Complex, Cooper was on the sidelines again on Friday as the Eagles took the field for training camp practice. The practice was the third straight day that Cooper has been either out of practice or limited.
Injuries to the Eagles' WR corps should be closely monitored because Jordan Matthews is a likely fantasy starter if he can work his way into starter's snaps for his own team.
Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane: I threw a little cold water on the Jordan Matthews hype in my Tuesday column, pointing out that few receivers make first-year splashes in the NFL. Plus, Matthews isn’t likely to get the number of snaps that are generally needed to generate such numbers. But that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been excellent in camp and won’t someday be a Pro Bowl-caliber player. He had a come-back-to-earth practice today, though. During one-on-ones, he got the better of Malcolm Jenkins on an “out” route. But Jenkins had tight coverage on a deep route in which Matthews failed to get separation. His next time up, Matthews faced undrafted rookie defensive back Davon Morgan, but once again he couldn’t slip a defender on a deep run.
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.
Thursday, July 31, 2014, 6:30pm
Saints WR Marques Colston says he made resting his ailing left foot a priority during the offseason and feels far healthier than he did a year ago.
After four straight top 20 seasons, Colston finished #27 in 2013. He got off to a decent start (#27 WR through the first four weeks) before a midseason swoon where he caught a combined six catches for 44 yards against the Bears, Patriots and Bills. Then, over the final 10 games (including the postseason), he averaged 6.1 catches for 76 yards and 0.50 TD, which equate to fringe WR1-type numbers. The 31 year-old should benefit from the loss of Lance Moore and Darren Sproles, who saw a combined 143 targets last season. Health is a concern, but Colston has only missed four games in the last five seasons.
The Eagles avoided major injuries after three days of training camp, but they aren’t 100 percent injury-free. Wide receiver Riley Cooper, running back Chris Polk and center Julian Vandervelde are missing practice Wednesday. Cooper is dealing with a foot injury, coach Chip Kelly said, while Polk is nursing a hamstring tweak and Vandervelde is sidelined with a sore back. Kelly said none of the injuries is considered major and all could be back “shortly.” Of the three, only Cooper is a starter.
As the article states, the injury isn't considered to be "major," so Cooper should be back at practice soon.
Saints beat writer Mike Triplett tries to predict the Saints' RBBC: It’s still too early in New Orleans Saints training camp to judge exactly how they plan to split the workload among their deep running back corps. My best guess is that Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson will split carries pretty evenly in base packages and early downs, while Pierre Thomas lines up more with the nickel offenses (sort of the old Darren Sproles role). That would make sense, since Thomas is both the best pass-catcher and the best pass-protector of all the Saints’ running backs. Saints quarterback Drew Brees offered some lofty praise of Thomas’ versatility Tuesday when asked if throwing the screen pass to Thomas is one of his favorite plays. “Yes. He’s one of the best screen runners there is, ever,” Brees said. “He does such a great job of timing, setting up his blocks, just hitting those seams and hitting the sidewalk. He does a phenomenal job at it."
Brees went on to say that Thomas is the "best all-purpose back in the league." 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 (though Travaris Cadet and Brandin Cooks should see some of Sproles’s work). 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.
With the addition of Darren Sproles and the emergence of Chris Polk, the Eagles have the luxury of reducing LeSean McCoy's touches in 2014 if they choose to do so. But the 26-year-old is in the prime of his career and head coach Chip Kelly isn't going to put any sort of strict limit on McCoy's workload.
"I don't know if there's a set number. Some guys can handle it, but our strength and conditioning staff and our athletic trainers do an unbelievable job of evaluating our players weekly," Kelly told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "There's times where I say, 'Hey, do we need to back off?' They're like, 'No, we can even go harder with him,' because all of our players are investing in themselves. They're getting the proper amount of sleep. They're eating the right way. They're doing what we've asked them to do. They understand it because they feel really good."
With the arrival of Sproles, we have to believe that McCoy's touches will decrease somewhat. We project McCoy for 336 touches, which represents an 8 percent drop from his 2013 totals (366).
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 3:01am
Eagles OC Bill Lazor on how QB Ryan Tannehill is picking up the new offense: “Ryan is extremely willing to do the way we want him to do it,” Lazor said. “He’s just trying as hard as he can to learn it. Some of the things are different maybe then what he’s done in the past, but that’s football. And we’re just going to try to give him opportunities to grow and keep going forward. Probably when four practices into training camp with a new system, one of the things you have to be as a quarterback is thick-skinned. You’re going to get a coat of shellac because things are happening fast. You’re trying to learn. I think Ryan’s doing a great job.”
Things to read into that: While coaches praise Tannehill publicly, they’ve been critical behind closed doors. I like that, because except for extreme circumstances, it serves no purpose to throw your players under the bus in public. It also serves no purpose to sugarcoat in private.
Through the first 15 weeks, Tannehill was the #12 QB in fantasy. Unfortunately, he stunk it up in the final two weeks of the season, posting just 286 yards to go along with one TD and three picks in the final two games combined as the Dolphins skidded out of a playoff spot. Josh Freeman’s 2012 late-season swoon was similar, but the Dolphins are more committed to Tannehill than the Bucs were to Freeman. The arrival of OC Bill Lazor (from Philadelphia) should help. The players are raving about the new offense.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 6:12pm
One common theory regarding Eagles WR Riley Cooper is that much of his success in 2013 was made possible because of the attention DeSean Jackson received on the other side. Some are skeptical whether Cooper will be able to post similar numbers this season now that Jackson resides in D.C.
What can't be denied is that Cooper -- who ended with 47 catches for 835 yards and eight touchdowns last year -- found himself in a whole bunch of one-on-one situations, which certainly helped his cause. According to second-year tight end Zach Ertz, that's unlikely to change this year even without Jackson on the team. That's because the man truly responsible for the single coverage is still on the roster.
"I think the culprit, why a lot of guys see single coverage on this team, is LeSean [McCoy]," said Ertz. "He's the key cog in this offense... Defenses have to stop LeSean first to try and stop this offense."
The players aren't buying into the notion Jackson opened things up for Cooper, going as far as saying that's not now the league works. HC Chip Kelly added that he thought most teams played the Eagles in single high coverage and man across the board on anybody, and no one was getting any help. Either way, there are a lot of questions about Cooper duplicating his success from last season. Perhaps more noteworthy is Cooper's success with Nick Foles at QB compared to Mike Vick. With so many targets on the Eagles, we still only rank Cooper 50th on our WR list.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 2:54pm
Bill Lazor, the former Eagles QB coach, seems intent on making a faster pace to the offense happen as the new OC in Miami. Lazor, in his first job as an offensive coordinator, is tasked with taking an offense that was No. 26 in scoring last season (19.8 ppg) and turning it into a weapon.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill is his main instrument. Lazor, who made Eagles quarterback Nick Foles one of the league’s most productive passers last seasons, knows what he wants to see from the position.
“At the quarterback spot it’s a couple of things – No. 1, it’s accuracy, No. 2 it’s decision-making, and then I think after that you’ve got to have a certain level of toughness.”
Lazor likely learned a hot from Eagles HC Chip Kelly and will put his own flavor on the Dolphins offense, too. But one thing the Eagles were know for last season was faster play calling and running a lot of plays and that's something Lazor wants to see. Tannehill is ranked 20th among our QBs, which makes him low-end QB2 in just about any format. Tannehill was actually #12 QB through the first 15 weeks last season before he began to struggle. If Lazor can keep Tannehill going, he has the potential to be a borderline QB1.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 8:42am
On those rare dark days when he would drop his guard and the self-pity would come rushing at him, Arrelious Benn would ask, "Why me, God? Why me?"
Many athletes are fortunate enough to play their entire careers without a major injury. Benn isn't one of them.
There have been not one, but two, torn ACLs. To the same knee. There has been a torn medial collateral ligament. There have been neck and shoulder injuries. There has been a concussion.
In four NFL seasons, the 25-year-old Eagles wide receiver has missed 27 of 64 regular-season games due to injury. Sixteen of those 27 came last year.
Benn is a bit of a forgotten man, but he is just a strong camp away from perhaps making some kind of impact on a team with a lot of questions at WR.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 8:34am
Just because few rookie wide receivers have come into the NFL in their first seasons and dominated doesn't mean that Eagles WR Jordan Matthews will not.
But some of the reports that have trickled out of Eagles practices about Matthews' feats have been downright hyperbolic when evidence contrary to his making a first-year splash is so overwhelming.
The Eagles don't need Matthews to put up those kinds of numbers even without DeSean Jackson. Their offensive personnel are designed so that they can play any type of game with balance at the three skill positions of receiver, running back and tight end.
It looks like Matthews will have a chance to contribute out of the slot, but like the article said, right now the Eagles don't really need him to put up big numbers. That's already difficult to do for a rookie WR. Matthews could end up having some value, but he'll have to see significant snaps to do so.
- Page 1