The Eagles have had their ups and downs, and in true Eagles fashion, they aren’t just the normal ups and downs of an NFL franchise. The Eagles are never boring.
After the Carson Wentz fiasco seemed to leave the Birds rudderless, GM Howie Roseman has had quite a face turn in Philly, assembling a roster that looks like it could legitimately contend for the NFC title, following a series of shrewd moves that upgraded the Eagles’ worst positions — wide receiver and linebacker.
Still, Roseman has been correctly patient with young QB Jalen Hurts, who has shown some flashes in his two NFL seasons, but needs to progress rather significantly as a passer for the Eagles to commit to him long term and for them to be viewed as an actual contender. With WRs AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith perhaps the NFL’s best under-25 duo outside of Cincinnati, and likely the league’s best offensive line, Hurts is in a fantastic situation to show his stuff in 2022. And the Eagles are in a fantastic situation to evaluate whether or not they need an upgrade in 2023.
Philadelphia Eagles Franchise Focus Companion Podcast with The Athletic’s Bo Wulf
|Season Win Total (O/U)||9.5 (-120/+100)|
Season Prop Movement
Win Total: 8.5 (+100) in late March to 9.5 (-120) in early July
Super Bowl: +3300 in mid-February to +2500 in early July
Premium subscribers get Tom Brolley’s Betting Preview here.
Key Offseason Moves
|WR AJ Brown||DT Jordan Davis||LB Alex Singleton (Den)|
|EDGE Haason Reddick||C Cameron Jurgens||CB Steven Nelson (Hou)|
|WR Zach Pascal||LB Nakobe Dean|
|CB James Bradberry|
|LB Kyzir White|
|S Jaquiski Tartt|
Barrett’s Fantasy Strength of Schedule
Quarterback: 5th-softest (+0.29)
Running Backs: 2nd-toughest (-1.07)
Wide Receivers: overall softest (+1.67)
Tight Ends: 13th-toughest (-0.28)
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace splits by score (2021)
Pace when within a score – 27.6 (9th)
Pace when trailing – 25.8 (17th)
Pace when leading – 29.6 (20th)
Play volume (2021)
Passes per game – 32.4 (32nd)
Runs per game – 33.1 (2nd)
Total plays per game – 65.5 (16th)
Pass/Run splits by score/situation (2021)
Pass/Run when within a score (1st-3rd quarters) – 27th pass rate (55%) / 6th run rate (45%)
Pass/Run when trailing – 31st pass rate (60%) / 2nd run rate (40%)
Pass/Run when leading – 32nd pass rate (38%) / 1st run rate (62%)
Pass/Run on early-downs – 25th pass rate (50%) / 8th run rate (50%)
2021 was a tale of two seasons for the Eagles.
After an ugly 2-5 start in their first 7 games last year, it looked like the Eagles were going to be on the outside looking in for the playoffs again. It all changed in Week 8, though. HC Nick Sirianni gave up play-calling duties to OC Shane Steichen in a 44-6 beatdown of the Lions. The crux of the offensive change centered around making Jalen Hurts a running QB first and just running the ball down the throats of their opponents. All of the “running the ball doesn’t win games!” reactionaries can say whatever they want, but the Eagles switch from a pass-heavy offense to a run-heavy attack single-handedly saved their season and sent them to the playoffs. From Week 8 on, the Eagles went 7-3 with their losses coming to the Chargers (by 3 points), the Giants (by 6 points), and Cowboys (rested starters in Week 18).
The Eagles went 65% run-heavy (!!) on early-downs from Week 8-18, by far the highest rate in the league. Just for reference of how wild and unsustainable that is – consider that the Titans were the most run-heavy team on early-downs at 54%. That’s still 11% lower than the Eagles were in the back half of 2021! Crazy.
After the Eagles traded for alpha wideout A.J. Brown, we’re going to see their run rate decline a bit but the identity of their offense really hasn’t changed. They couldn’t sustain a 65% run rate regardless of whether they traded for Brown or not – his addition just makes them way better. It won’t be to the same degree as last season, but I fully expect the Eagles to be among the top-5 most run-heavy teams in 2022.
Despite the Eagles having both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert on their roster for the first six weeks of the season in 2021, the Eagles 12 personnel rate actually went up from 20% in Weeks 1-6 to over 27% from Week 7 on after Ertz was traded. Head Coach Nick Sirianni made a clear shift in the offense game plan following their Week 7 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, when Jalen Hurts threw the ball over 30 times. Hurts only threw the ball more than 30+ in a game once following that loss because the team shifted to a more run-heavy approach. Through the first seven weeks of the season, the Eagles ran the ball out of 12 personnel just over 50% of the time. Following Week 7 they ran the ball out of 12 personnel over 75% of the time.
Whether the Eagles had Ertz on the team or not, they likely were always going to be a pass-first team if Hurts played well enough to let them do it. They are likely going to take the same approach in 2022 by running over 70% of their plays in 11 personnel, where they can be a pass-first team unless Hurts doesn’t take the step forward they are looking for. The addition of A.J. Brown and another year of experience for DeVonta Smith will be a big help to the offense and keep them in that personnel more often than not.
Miles Sanders was a dominant runner on outside zone concepts in 2021, averaging over 7 yards per carry. The next closet runner on the Eagles on outside zone runs was Boston Scott, at just over 5 yards per carry. With Sanders healthy heading into 2022 expect the team to lean heavily on the outside zone scheme with the other backs working in on passing downs and short yardage situations.
Projected Fantasy Contributors
Jalen Hurts (Proj: QB5 | ADP: 63 | Pos ADP: QB6)
Hurts ascended to the Konami Code QB stratosphere in 2021, returning a massive profit on a modest investment for our #1 QB target a season ago. He finished as the overall QB9 in total fantasy points, but he also missed two games — he was 6th with 21.5 FPG. But prior to suffering a high-ankle sprain in Week 12, which cost him one game and hobbled him the rest of the season, Hurts was second among all players in total fantasy points, behind only Josh Allen. And the rate stats check out too. In his 19 career full starts, Hurts averages 20.8 fantasy points per game. Hurts has finished as a top-12 scoring QB in 14-of-19 (73.7%) his starts. For reference, Allen has finished as a top-12 scoring QB in 61% of his starts over the last two years. Patrick Mahomes is at 66%. Now, obviously a big part of the reason why Hurts is such an asset in fantasy is because of his legs. Hurts is averaging 55.7 rushing yards per start. That is easily second-most among all QBs since the start of 2021 with Lamar Jackson (65.6 rushing yards per start) leading the way. Philadelphia went 55.6% run-heavy over their last eight games, which was by far the highest rate in the league. And that was after they came out throwing the ball a ton early on, and Hurts just didn’t have the goods to deliver. That is going to change in 2022 — the Eagles acquired AJ Brown and Zach Pascal this off-season, giving them a young, deep group of WRs. Philadelphia’s organizational philosophy under Jeffrey Lurie’s ownership — dating back to the Andy Reid days — has always been to be progressive with throwing the football. That is something coach Nick Sirianni had to change to suit Hurts last year, and Sirianni did it well. But the Eagles’ off-season moves indicate they are expecting HUGE progress in that department. Can Hurts deliver? And if so, what does that do to his rushing production? It’s probably a little unfair to say Hurts is a terrible passer — Per SIS, 75.6% of Hurts’ throws were on-target last year – which was tied with Mac Jones for 18th-best. Hurts’ average depth of target was 8.8 yards, which was nearly a full yard ahead of Jones (7.9), too. So, in theory, Hurts’ throws in general were more difficult to complete. Hurts was pretty accurate on deep throws, too. On all throws beyond 15 yards downfield, Hurts delivered an on-target ball 62.5% of the time (seventh-best) right behind Russell Wilson (62.8%). The Eagles have put a lot of weapons around Hurts, and perhaps most notably, he’s in the same offensive system for two consecutive years for the first time since high school. His work ethic is famously great, and he’s a high-character guy. It won’t be for lack of trying if Hurts doesn’t come through this year. And if he doesn’t, the Eagles will replace him next year. But for fantasy purposes, he is slated to post massive numbers again.
Gardner Minshew (Proj: QB39 | ADP: 216 | Pos ADP: QB45)
The Eagles know the value of a good backup QB more than any organization in football, and they have one of the best in the gunslingin’ Minshew, who doesn’t have a big arm but can certainly come in and win a game if need be (as he did for an injured Jalen Hurts against the Jets last season). Minshew started two games for the Birds in 2021, one of them in a meaningless Week 18 game with the majority of starters out. He threw 4 TD to 1 INT in those starts, with 428 yards passing. As someone who has started and won games in the NFL before, the Eagles know Minshew can be the caretaker for their offense if he’s called upon. And there is a non-zero chance the Eagles could make a move to him at some point if Hurts doesn’t tangibly improve as a passer, though he will be given every opportunity to do so. If that’s the case, Minshew could put up some numbers with this solid supporting cast.
Miles Sanders (Proj: RB28 | ADP: 81 | Pos ADP: RB27)
Sanders is a frustrating player for Eagles fans and fantasy players alike, as nagging injuries, drops, and ball security issues have dampened the career of an overall solid, explosive playmaker. In 12 games in 2021, Sanders posted 754 rushing yards on 137 carries, with 26/158 receiving on 34 targets. He missed three games with an ankle sprain and two more with a broken hand, meaning he’s missed nine games over the last two seasons. But the injuries were not the most notable part of his 2021… it’s that he didn’t score a single TD. Sanders became one of just 17 unfortunate running backs to have at least 125 carries in a season and score 0 TDs since 2000. For whatever it’s worth, Sanders’ YPC (5.5) was by far the best among that group of scoreless backs. He did get chances, however. In his 12 healthy games, Sanders had 11 carries inside of the 10-yard line. Boston Scott had eight inside-10 carries while Kenneth Gainwell had 4. And those two combined for 5 TDs on those 12 attempts. Meanwhile, Jalen Hurts got a whopping 20 (!!) inside-10 carries in the 12 games that Sanders was active last year. The big question is how valuable Sanders’ role is. Hurts is still the goal-line back and Sanders doesn’t have a lock on the passing game work, either. In their 12 games played together last year, Gainwell out-targeted Sanders 40 to 32. Gainwell’s efficiency was also much better, as he averaged 1.79 receiving yards gained per route run while Sanders was way down at 0.75. So it’s entirely possible that Sanders is the Eagles’ primary back between the 20s on non-passing downs… and unfortunately, those are low-calorie fantasy touches. Nonetheless, even modest regression will have him pretty easily topping his 2021 output behind the game’s best offensive line… even if Sanders himself doesn’t think you should draft him (it seemed to be a diplomatic answer about fan reaction, not suggesting he doesn’t believe he can put up good numbers).
Miles Sanders didn’t hold back responding to fantasy managers’ criticism of the Eagles’ offense.— NBC Sports EDGE (@NBCSportsEdge) June 29, 2022
Listen to the full interview with @NBCSPhilly’s @JClarkNBCS here:https://t.co/Jwup7EDquA pic.twitter.com/WpfmrZV8L9
Kenneth Gainwell (Proj: RB42 | ADP: 157 | Pos ADP: RB48)
If we were to tell you Gainwell scored 6 touchdowns last season, would you believe us? Well… he did. And he did it on only 101 touches, too. (Poor Miles Sanders.) While Gainwell didn’t particularly stand out as a rookie — well, with the exception that Jalen Hurts suffered a high-ankle sprain on a Gainwell missed block — there is clearly something untapped here, especially in the passing game (his 33 catches tied him for 33rd among all RBs). In their 12 games played together last year, Gainwell out-targeted Sanders 40 to 32. Gainwell’s efficiency was also much better, as he averaged 1.79 receiving yards gained per route run while Sanders was way down at 0.75. At bare minimum, that suggests that Gainwell could be the Eagles’ primary receiving back this year, and we know they want to throw the ball more. But if Sanders continues to deal with injuries and ball-security issues, can there be more here to be untapped? Given the upside for this run game behind what is likely the NFL’s best offensive line, and Gainwell’s ability as a receiver, there’s a lot to like here.
Boston Scott (Proj: RB66 | ADP: 257 | Pos ADP: RB78)
We know this — if Scott is picking up a start against the Giants, you want him in your lineup. In six career games against the Eagles’ division rival, Scott averages 19.8 FPG with 8 TD. Against all other opponents in 27 games, he averages 6.5 FPG with 6 TD. Obviously, that’s just a strange quirk of the schedule when Scott’s opportunities have come available, but what it does illustrate is that the short-but-stout back can contribute when called upon, as both a runner and receiver. Miles Sanders has had injury issues in recent seasons, and the Eagles (as of yet) haven’t brought back Jordan Howard.
AJ Brown (Proj: WR11 | ADP: 25 | Pos ADP: WR11)
You think the Eagles want to throw the ball more? Throughout the entirety of Jeffrey Lurie’s ownership of the team, Lurie has liked to brag about the Eagles being progressive in more ways than one, and he was always smitten with the passing game as soon as he interviewed Andy Reid back in 1999. In fact, the Eagles — even with Jalen Hurts at QB and a barely functioning receiving corps early last season — came out throwing the ball like crazy until it was obvious they couldn’t do it anymore, and Nick Sirianni made adjustments. Well, with Brown now in the fold, we expect them to “adjust back,” at least somewhat. Still, Hurts is a certain kind of QB, and the run game will always be a part of a Hurts offense. And the Eagles were the run-heaviest team in the NFL last year, so how much can we expect Brown to produce? Maybe more than you think. In 2020, when Brown was in Tennessee, RB Derrick Henry ran for over 2000 yards, and the Titans were the third run-heaviest team in the NFL, running the ball more than 50% of the time. In that environment, Brown posted over 1000 yards and 11 TDs in 14 games, despite Henry running for all the yards he did, and Corey Davis ranking as the WR30 for fantasy (the Titan TEs, by the way, combined for 118 targets that year). And despite all that, Brown was the WR7 in FPG, a hammer WR1 in a run-first offense. Now, you can make an easy argument that Ryan Tannehill is a better passer than Hurts, but it’s easy to draw personnel comps to the 2020 Titans. The Eagles don’t have Henry, but they do have a solid stable of RBs to go with Hurts’ legs, but they also have another projected top-36 fantasy WR (DeVonta Smith) and a TE expected to eat up plenty of targets (Dallas Goedert). Brown has proven he can succeed in such a food chain, where we expect he will be the WR1. Make no mistake — he’s a monster. Since his rookie year (2019), Brown ranks fourth-best in yards per route run (2.53). The top 4 WRs vs. man coverage since 2019 are: #1 Justin Jefferson (3.32), #2 Cooper Kupp (3.27), #3 AJ Brown (3.14), and #4 Davante Adams (3.13). And just having Brown on the field and dictating coverage is going to make the offense better as a whole. Tannehill’s YPA dropped by a full yard (7.4 vs. 6.3) and his completion rate fell (from 66.8% to 64.4%) when Brown was healthy vs. inactive last season. The health, especially his knees, is a concern. But Brown fits like an absolute glove in Sirianni’s YAC-focused offense. He gives Hurts — his best friend in the world, by the way — a rocked-up target on short RPO and “bang” play-action throws, which have been a staple of Brown’s game since he entered the NFL (his YAC per grab numbers plummeted in 2021, but he led the league in that department in 2019 as a rookie). He and Smith are likely the second-best 25-and-under WR pair in the NFL, behind only Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. It’s wild how things changed for the Eagles in such a short period of time at the position.
DeVonta Smith (Proj: WR33 | ADP: 68 | Pos ADP: WR33)
Smith was the WR45 by FPG last year, but putting his rookie year in context reveals a strong season – especially considering how infrequently the Eagles threw the ball last year. Take a look at this list of WRs who had 60+ receptions and 900+ yards in their rookie season – it’s quite strong…
|Odell Beckham Jr.||22||NYG||12||2014||24.58||130||91||1305||12|
|Amon-Ra St. Brown||22||DET||17||2021||13.37||119||90||912||5|
Smith’s rookie year, of course, coincided with Jaylen Waddle breaking the rookie receptions record and Ja’Marr Chase going absolutely nuclear while breaking the rookie receiving yards record, and they all had an extra game to do so, but his season was a strong one nonetheless. And we’ve been told that some defensive coaches around the NFL already regard Smith as one of the top route technicians in the entire sport. That should play very well in the new pairing with alpha dog AJ Brown, who will likely play a lot of boundary X, freeing up Smith to get clean releases off the line as the movement Z, perhaps making him the better downfield option with Brown eating up a lot of the short throws (Smith’s aDOT in 2021 was 14.2, compared to 11.6 for Brown. Smith’s aDOT was behind only Tyler Lockett among WRs with 100 or more targets). The Eagles will throw the ball more, but how much Smith can produce depends on the development of Jalen Hurts. There’s a lot to like about this young WR. If Hurts can take a big step forward, this will be a fun offense.
Zach Pascal (Proj: WR122 | ADP: 313 | Pos ADP: WR138)
Prior to the shocking AJ Brown trade on draft night, “The Rascal” was the Eagles’ big off-season addition at WR. And while that alone would have been underwhelming, combining him with Brown, DeVonta Smith, and speedster Quez Watkins gives the Eagles a lot of depth at the position. A strong blocker and chain-moving type of receiver, Pascal is noted for his work ethic, which makes him a favorite of head coach Nick Sirianni (the two worked together in Indianapolis). At 6’2”, Pascal is also the Eagles’ tallest WR, and his 15 TDs in four NFL seasons show he’s a solid red-zone weapon (and why we refer to him as “The Rascal,” because those TDs are rarely fantasy relevant). Predominantly a slot receiver, Pascal was one of the least efficient WRs in the NFL a season ago, averaging just 0.9 yards per route run (the much maligned Jalen Reagor was at just 0.6). But there’s a role for Pascal to play in Philly, and he’s much better suited as the #3/4 type of receiver he is here than what he was relied on to be in Indianapolis.
Quez Watkins (Proj: WR126 | ADP: 237 | Pos ADP: WR106)
The speedy Watkins was productive for the Eagles last year, posting 43/647/1 receiving on 62 targets (15.0 YPR). Of course, he also had the ignominious honor of one of his receptions being a 91-yard catch… after which the Eagles failed to score a single point. It’s one of the longest plays in NFL history that was part of a scoreless drive. Of course, that’s not Watkins’ fault, and the play does highlight his utility in this Philly offense as a deep threat who is also very useful on screens and quick-game stuff. (Watkins’ 11.9 aDOT was over 2.0 yards lower than DeVonta Smith, which is because coach Nick Sirianni likes to use him on screens.) Predominantly a slot receiver in 2021, Watkins will likely split that role with Zach Pascal depending on what the Eagles are looking for in a specific package — size or speed. That limits his overall fantasy upside, but he’s a really good player whose emergence as a reliable speed threat from the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft helps to mitigate the Jalen Reagor disaster from the same class.
Jalen Reagor (Proj: WR134 | ADP: 326 | Pos ADP: WR141)
In a weird twist of irony, it’s Reagor’s spectacular failure as a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft that has essentially led to the Eagles attacking the WR position aggressively in each of the last two NFL Drafts… first by selecting DeVonta Smith with a top-10 pick in 2021, and then using a first-rounder in 2022 to trade for AJ Brown. That has reshaped the Eagles’ WR room into one of the more intriguing groups in the league. Reagor has 66 catches and 5 (mostly high-profile) drops in two NFL seasons. His 0.7 yards per route run (SIS) was the second-worst among all WRs in 2021, and was half of the 1.4 he posted in a poor 2020 rookie season. Now, he’s buried on Philly’s depth chart, likely fifth among WRs… if he makes the club at all. The good news is there is now no pressure on Reagor to do anything, and any positive contributions would be a luxury for Philly… and perhaps it convinces a team to give Reagor a fresh start elsewhere.
Dallas Goedert (Proj: TE11 | ADP: 96 | Pos ADP: TE8)
Goedert is one of the better TEs in the NFL, though he has never had a true breakout season for fantasy. Perhaps that comes in 2022, which is the first year he will open the season without Zach Ertz on the same roster. In 2021, Goedert posted 56/830/4 on 76 targets (missing one game with a concussion and another in a meaningless Week 18), ranking as the TE8 in both total FP and PPR FPG. Goedert was quietly the most efficient tight end in the league with a position-high 2.33 receiving yards per route run and a second-best 14.8 YPR (behind only Kyle Pitts). In terms of target share, Goedert’s role was pretty strong last year once the Eagles traded Ertz. Following Ertz’s departure, Goedert became way more involved as his target share spiked to 26% from Weeks 7-18 — Goedert’s target share in Weeks 1-6 was a lowly 12%. The big question for Goedert this year, of course, is if he can keep a high target share with DeVonta Smith a year older and the Eagles bringing in Alpha Dog X AJ Brown to revamp their WR room. Though Philly will throw it more this year, an offense with Jalen Hurts at the helm will always use the run game as a critical element. The guess here is Goedert remains a bit inconsistent and frustrating, but likely posts start-worthy numbers by the end of the season.
Tyree Jackson (Proj: TE62 | ADP: N/A | Pos ADP: N/A)
A former college QB with a massive frame (6’7”), Jackson was a star of Eagles training camp a season ago as Jackson tried to make a transition similar to that of Logan Thomas. But a back injury put him on the sidelines until November… and then he suffered a torn ACL in Week 18 on the same day in which he scored his first career touchdown. He’s a candidate to start the 2022 season on the PUP list.
Grant Calcaterra (Proj: TE79 | ADP: N/A | Pos ADP: N/A)
A former big-time recruit and prospect at Oklahoma, Calcaterra was a “next big thing” at the TE position until concussions derailed his career, actually forcing him to retire at one point. He chose to return to action and transferred to SMU, reestablishing himself as a draftable prospect with 38/465/4 receiving in 2021. Calcaterra is small for the position (6’4”, 240), but he tested well and projects to be a strong #2 receiving TE. The question is how much the Eagles will run “12” personnel in 2022, given they have two WRs in Zach Pascal and Quez Watkins who do most of their work from the slot. Calacaterra is more a developmental guy at this stage.
Huber’s Dynasty Buy-Low
Since the acquisition of A.J. Brown, the ADP for DeVonta Smith has dropped half a round, while he’s slipped from the WR20 to WR24. If we needed time for Smith to develop, that slight drop would be insignificant. However, with Brown now drawing safety attention underneath, it’s going to be a boon to the wideout that ranked with the eighth-highest air yards/target during his impressive rookie season (15.0). Smith accomplished his 68/976/5 receiving line last season entirely on his own within the previous Philadelphia WR rotation. Inserting Brown into the mix should result in career seasons ahead for AJB, Jalen Hurts, Dallas Goedert and Smith. That trade with Tennessee should have resulted in Smith’s ADP rising; take immediate advantage.
Hansen’s Final Points
We took the Jalen Hurts plunge last year and Hurts came through majorly. The OL remains elite with better depth than most teams ,plus a new Alpha WR has been added in AJ Brown, whose game should greatly help Hurts’ passing efficiency while also opening up opportunities for DeVonta Smith, who showed very well last year and is still ascending. Since Hurts proved so much last year, the only question we have with him is whether or not he can grow as a passer. If he cannot, the Eagles will revert to their run-heavy ways of ‘21, and then it’ll be time to bail. But our Adam Caplan has reported that Hurts has made real progress in terms of his timing this spring/summer. It’s very early, but he’s trending toward improving. Hurts’ pocket work and passing doesn’t need to improve dramatically for him to go down as a winning pick, given his reasonable cost vs. his upside. His stock is climbing, though, but we’re still at QB5 on the season and the market’s at QB7 as of 7/1, so he’s one of my/our top QB targets.
The Eagles want to be more of a passing team this year, if not a pass-happy team, but if Jalen Hurts cannot handle more volume and responsibility, Philly will likely go back to previous form and run the rock a ton like they did last year. And if that’s the case, then it’s Gardner Minshew time in Philly, and Hurts tenure as the starter will be over. Minshew, of course, is not worth draft consideration for 99% of the leagues out there.
Hey, Miles Sanders feels your pain and has advised not to draft him in late June, and we know he’s mainly talking about not getting the touchdown love, and possibly also his sporadic usage in the passing game. All the key Philly TD vultures are back from 2021, so expecting TD regression for Sanders is now officially the definition of insanity. He has run very well on film the last two seasons, confirmed by our Greg Cosell, so it’s possible that he’s just not a good short-yardage/goal line back and is also lacking high-quality skills as a receiver. The silver lining is his ADP continues to drop, and he’s down to an ADP of 80 and RB27. We have him priced just a tick above the markets, but we’re not exactly indicating a strong buy. If we did bite, we’d consider Kenneth Gainwell the better handcuff than Boston Scott.
His rookie season was a little odd in that he was not expected to excel as a goal line back, but we’re told they are very high on Kenny Gainwell, who showcased some of the best hands on the team last year. He’s probably just a satellite player, and those types tend to underwhelm and need planetary alignment to come through, but I’ve liked Gainwell all year at his ADP, which has risen steadily over the last 2-3 months. He’s not a value per se, but if you’re looking for some RB juice 130-140 picks into a draft, we can get behind the still-ascending Gainwell. He should hold decent standalone value and, with only Boston Scott to worry about, could easily produce RB2 numbers if Miles Sanders misses more time.
I do like Kenny Gainwell, but the fact is, Boston Scott may very well go down as the better value, since the two players are separated by more than 100 picks. But all Scott needs to have some serious fantasy juice, as we saw in Week 17 last year when he was a championship week winner, is an injury to Miles Sanders. He’ll also get some table scraps each week with a chance to do something. As long as he opens the season as the clear RB3 here, he’ll stand out as a value player if you're still selecting players 225+ picks into a draft.
I’ve never been a big AJ Brown guy, but I’ve been mostly wrong about him. I thought his lack of juice could be limiting, but I didn’t realize he’d be such a man among boys in the NFL. Per our Adam Caplan, extensive tape study on Brown has revealed him to “win” on about 95% of his routes, which is insane. Brown routinely gets “leverage” on defenders, and the Eagles appear equipped to utilize him well right away. He’ll remain in a run-oriented offense, but he could see an uptick in targets in Philly. We have him priced with the markets, but if I had a little more confidence in his availability, I’d probably group him among the truly elite fantasy WRs this year. For what it’s worth, I like my receivers to run away from people, not over them, and to be fair, AJB’s style of play is not ideal.
He could possibly underwhelm playing second-fiddle to AJ Brown in a run-heavy offense, but if Jalen Hurts can figure out how to win from the pocket more, DeVonta Smith could break out this year. He’s already shown so much as a route-runner, so he’s a rocket ready to be launched with better QB play. His upside alone makes him a strong target for me around 80 picks into a draft. His positional ADP on 7/1 was WR38 and we had him at WR33 and he stands out as a sneaky WR3 before a dropoff in talent a round or two later.
I started calling Zach Pascal “The Rascal” not as a slight, since I think he’s very solid and can help this team with more size and reliability inside, but due to the nature of his fantasy production. 2021 was mainly a lost season, but in the past this guy would score when you didn’t expect it, and then he’d catch 2 balls for 12 when you did. This is neither here nor there because no one’s drafting Mr. Pascal, as evidenced by his 300+ ADP.
Quez Watkins wasn’t much more than a tease in 2021, highlighted by a 91-yard catch in which he failed to score. He was used mostly in the slot last year, which should continue with AJ Brown added, but he will almost certainly lose snaps to Zach Pascal this year, so he’s barely a blip on the fantasy radar. It would help his chances if they opted to trade Jalen Reagor, which is possible.
There’s a lot of irony surrounding Jalen Reagor and his two-year tenure with the Eagles, and also some fantasy irony because I view him as a more appealing fantasy pick than
Zach Pascal or Quez Watkins. He was clearly overdrafted, but he can be explosive vertically and horizontally, and our Greg Cosell noted several times last year how explosive Reagor looked on film. Sure, there’s a good chance he won’t catch it if he’s thrown the ball, but Reagor at least has a decent chance to be on another roster this fall, and the old change of scenery could work for him like it worked for Nelson Agholor, another first-round bust at WR for the Eagles.
I had high expectations, especially after interviewing him his rookie season, and our guy Greg Cosell certainly liked him coming out, but Dallas Goedert has left me underwhelmed the last two seasons. Injuries have been a problem, but he also had a lot of drops in key spots last year. If he’s healthy and his hands improve, he could be a juggernaut if the chips fall well for him. Then again, with just under 200 career receptions, this just may be who he is. He’s someone we’re all willing to give a bump to this summer if the vibes are good, but we head into training camp pricing him a little below the markets. That said, we do still view him as a TE1 and a viable pick at his 90 ADP.
You’d have to be in the deepest of dynasty leagues to consider Tyree Jackson, but I will admit I’ve done it (superskank league). But he’s a project and a PUP candidate, so nothing to see here at this time.
The Eagles are quite thin at TE behind Dallas Goedert, who hasn’t exactly been the picture of health and they’ll have a slew of camp bodies this summer, none of which are worth a look heading into camp at least. Rookie Grant Calcaterra should make the team, but then there’s Jack Stoll, Tyree Jackson, and maybe even JJ Arcega-Whiteside will be in the mix! And lest I forget Dick Rodgers. Ignore all of these people.