We’re just weeks away from the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season when the reigning Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons on September 6. While we all can’t wait for the Eagles to begin their Super Bowl defense, there’s one other piece of business that some of us have to address first: assembling our fantasy football teams.
Regardless of the intensity of your fantasy league, it never hurts to be prepared. So here we’ll explore the fantasy prospects of the pertinent players on the Eagles roster in an effort to help you earn those bragging rights come December.
We’ll break down our exploration into three parts, starting with the quarterbacks and running backs.
Carson Wentz (Average Draft Position 60th, 6th QB taken) (ADP/Rankings Via Fantasy Pros)
If not for Wentz’s late season injury last year, we’d be discussing him among the elite fantasy quarterbacks. Even with the questions surrounding his health, he’s still being drafted in the late 5th round on average as the sixth QB off the board.
People interested in drafting Wentz will be hampered by uncertainty as it’s unlikely we’ll get a look at him in the preseason. Instead it will be a guessing game as to where he is health-wise and how much rust has accrued.
However, Wentz’s MVP-caliber performance pre-injury last season showed the kind of production he is capable of, and it’s certainly enough to carry you to fantasy glory. Like most fantasy decisions, this one comes down to value and risk/reward. Don’t reach for Wentz, but if he falls into your lap after round six, don’t be afraid to snap him up.
If you’re willing to deal with Wentz shaking off the rust in the early going, it could have a major payoff as he rounds into form down the stretch and into the fantasy playoffs.
It’s worth noting that despite the missed time at the end of the season, Wentz was still the eighth-most productive fantasy QB last season.
Nick Foles (ADP N/A, QB 40)
Nick Foles will live forever in the hearts of Philadelphia Eagles fans, but fantasy football isn’t about heart. Unless you believe Carson Wentz won’t be ready for week one, Foles shouldn’t be on your fantasy radar. Even if you believe you’ll get a week (or two or three) of Foles as the Eagles starter, he should only be selected late and after you have picked an established QB1 to carry your team season-long. As hard as it will be, don’t be swayed by the images of February 4.
Note: For fantasy purposes, the Eagles have the fifth-easiest schedule for quarterbacks.
Jay Ajayi (ADP 39th, 20th RB taken)
We’ve seen a revival of running back love in fantasy football, and that is being reflected by this season’s ADP where the top five picks and 11 of the top 13 are currently running backs. The problem is that can start to skew the value of running backs in the later rounds and can induce fantasy players to reach. Ajayi’s value is further clouded by his boom or bust potential.
In his boom scenario, Ajayi steps seamlessly into the lead-back role in Philadelphia, maintains the 5.8 yards per carry he had with the Eagles last season, shows the ability to find the end zone that he demonstrated in Miami in 2016, and proves he can be at least serviceable in the passing game. If all those things happen, Ajayi could find himself approaching top 10 running back status, and you look like a genius if you snagged him anytime after the fourth round.
However, if Ajayi fails in one or more of the areas mentioned above, or if he simply falls victim to the running back by committee situation in Philadelphia (with Darren Sproles and Corey Clement in tow this is a very real concern for fantasy purposes), picking Ajayi in the third or fourth round could turn into the kind of bust that hampers you all season long.
Corey Clement (ADP 130, RB 46)
Clement is a great story and a fan favorite for good reason. His performance in the Super Bowl proved his value as an NFL player while demonstrating intriguing fantasy potential. He can break big plays, and his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield boosts his value in PPR leagues.
However, he is hampered by the lack of a clear path to consistent touches, and therefore is nothing more than a late round flier or a waiver wire watch. There may be a week or two where he could be a fantasy difference-maker, and if you manage to identify what weeks those are then you are likely heading towards fantasy glory, but Clement isn’t a weekly must-start and not worth a valuable draft pick.
We don’t list Sproles’ ADP because, well, unless you are in a ridiculously deep fantasy league, there is no reason to consider drafting Sproles. He has had an incredible NFL career, producing both on the field and in the fantasy realm, and there is no reason to doubt that he will contribute to the Eagles winning football games in 2018. But his age, the fact that he is coming off serious injury, and the running back situation in Philadelphia push Sproles off the radar. Should something happen to Ajayi or Clement (knock on wood), Sproles is worth waiver wire consideration.
Note: The Eagles have the 24th easiest schedule for running backs.
Frankly, there aren’t a whole lot of particularly sexy fantasy choices in this group. Both Wentz and Ajayi represent high risk/high reward options, and if you plan on drafting either of them doing so at the right spot in your draft will be key. Each has a chance to be a fantasy difference maker, and each comes with legitimate questions. Proceed with caution.
Be sure to check back later this week for our look at the fantasy possibilities for the rest of the Eagles.