Oh, Philadelphia. What are we going to do with you? From a fan’s perspective, they’ve seen better days. They went from making the playoffs every other year to winning the greatest prize the game has to offer in the Super Bowl to just crashing into the Earth last year. I remember Week 1 in 2020 like it was yesterday. Carson Wentz looked strong in the opening frame, making great decisions, dropping a beautiful over-the-shoulder dime to Jalen Reagor. Then, it all changed. Maybe it was the hits he was taking or the fact the brass just drafted a QB in the 2nd round? Whatever it was, it signaled a change for Philly.
The season tanked, the head coach was fired, and by the time the offseason rolled around, Carson Wentz was a Colt. A lot can happen in a few months. That brings us to today. Nick Sirianni is the new head coach, Jalen Hurts has been given the team (sort of), and the team is going to look overall different than it did in the year that shall not be named. That’s where I come in.
I know what you’re about to say, “you’re an Eagles fan, you are about to be the most biased guy in the world.” WRONG! The only person who would criticize this team more would be Jerry Jones. That’s it. I’m here to give you my honest opinion about the 2021 Philadelphia Eagles for your redraft leagues and to see if anyone from this island of misfit toys can actually help you take home that sweet, sweet trophy.
A quick note: I will be providing three different ADPs from different fantasy platforms/websites for every position at the end of my thoughts on the player. I’ll be using FantasyPros.com, ESPN, and Sleeper. I did 10 different mock drafts on ESPN and Sleeper to find the average spot these players are going at this time. (June 1, 2021). You may use this information how you see fit for your draft strategy coming up in a few months.
I don’t know if you know this, but this is a big year for Jalen Hurts. While he technically played in five games with significant playing time last season, he really only started three games in 2020. He took over in the Green Bay game in Week 13 and then was pulled Week 17 against New York to troll them. (We know it’s true, come on.) However, in those three games, we got a small but intriguing glimpse into what we can expect this year but let’s take a look at what’s important. In those three games, he averaged 12.7 rushing attempts per game and 27.2 fantasy points per game. As a rookie, on an offense that could barely rub two sticks together all season to make any kind of spark, that’s impressive. Now he is in an even better situation.
Jalen Hurts goes into the season knowing he is the starter, getting a full offseason under his belt learning the offense Sirianni has planned for them. He gets Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard back, giving him the best offensive line the birds have had in a while. He also gets his former college WR1 as his new WR1, along with Reagor moving to the slot. Jalen Hurts is set up to be the “Konami Code” QB we all love and you don’t have to spend high draft capital to get him.
Hurts has league-winning upside and, if you are a “wait for a QB” player like I am, he is an excellent player to shoot for in the mid-to-late rounds. Rushing upside is important. Last year six out of the ten top QBs had rushing upside, seven if you count Patrick Mahomes. Despite the unknowns from the new offense, Hurts should still provide value at where he is going. His only competition is Joe Flacco and I’m not discussing Joe Flacco in 2021. Give me a break.
If there was one position I want to pay attention to this year as an Eagles fan and as a fantasy football player, it’s running back. Miles Sanders has been up and down, to say the least, the past couple of years. He started hot, going for 1327 yards from scrimmage and 6 total touchdowns as a rookie. Not bad at all. His rushing actually didn’t suffer too much in 2020 either. In four fewer games, he rushed for 49 more yards, three more TDs, nine more 1st downs, and averaged 21.2 more yards per game. That’s not the problem. The problem is the two little guys behind him: Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell.
Scott is a veteran of the team at this point and has always provided handcuff and target-taking duties. Last year, he had 36 targets compared to Miles Sanders’ 52 targets, despite being the backup. His 36 targets accounted for 37% of RB targets in 2020 for Philly. Kenneth Gainwell is the best receiving back in this class, check the film. He was a force at Memphis and is not your average fifth-round RB. This concern is compounded by the decline in performance from Sanders in the receiving department. I’ll put it this way: in 2019, he had 63 targets, 50 receptions, three TDs, and 509 yards. Not bad, right? Well in classic Eagles fashion, he regressed and in 2020, he had 11 fewer targets and put up just 28 (TWENTY-EIGHT!) receptions, zero TDs, and 197 yards. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN ZACH?
I’ll tell you. It means Sanders’ ceiling is capped, at least in the passing game. Boston Scott will slowly but surely be pushed out but Gainwell was drafted to work with the passing role. I wouldn’t count on it right away but it will happen. That doesn’t make Miles Sanders undraftable, however. His ADP is RB16 on fantasypros.com, and for an RB2 price, I’ll take that when you can get him. I prefer him over CEH and Josh Jacobs but not over Joe Mixon and Najee Harris, ya know? Just know his passing work is capped. As for the other two, outside of Best Ball, I wouldn’t even waste a pick and would just play the waiver game with them when you need them.
Fantasy Pros RB16
Now we get to the value portion of it all. What if I told you you could get the WR1 on a team at WR47 prices? Well, look no further than the Heisman winning, record-setting, former Bama WR DeVonta Smith. (Ok, my bias showed up a little, sue me!) All jokes aside, the kid can ball. Put him outside, put him in the slot, it doesn’t matter. With news of Reagor taking over the slot, that speed will be hard to deal with on both ends.
As mentioned above, the improved O-Line will give Hurts plenty of time to find someone open. Smith having that much time to get creative is a dangerous game to play. The most attractive thing about Smith, however, is his cost. On all 3 platforms, he is WR47. He’s going to be involved from day one, especially since he is playing with his former teammate. I’ll take that value at the end of my drafts all day, as well as the other Eagles’ WRs.
The way I expect them to run their offense is with Reagor in the slot and Fulgham and Smith on the outside. Jalen Reagor is WR56, Fulgham is WR100. All could have starting roles and won’t cost you an arm or a leg. Reagor is an end-of-round kind of player and Fulgham will almost uncertainly go undrafted. For a time, Fulgham was lighting the NFL on fire. Like, really. You read that right. Travis. Fulgham. From Weeks 4-8, he was putting up 16.4 fantasy points per game. Now, he finds himself as Philadelphia’s only big-bodied receiver. He could play on the outside opposite of Smith and he’ll be absolutely free come draft day. His ADP on FantasyPros is WR100. He went undrafted in all mock drafts. Easiest dart to throw in my opinion.
This situation could change since the time of this writing but as of right now, Zach Ertz is a Philadelphia Eagle, and that’s not ideal for fantasy purposes. Sure, for a time, Zach Ertz was a top-3 TE. Those days have changed as Ertz clearly isn’t the same player he used to be. It’s the Dallas Goedert show now, but that doesn’t mean Ertz won’t be a factor. If Ertz is on the team, he will absolutely get targets. Not all of them, but certainly enough for me to be out on Dallas Goedert and his TE6 ADP. That’s just too pricey for a guy that could be sharing work and hasn’t really shown too much to invest that high of a pick.
Goedert has shown flashes and, if Ertz was gone–which he could be soon–then this would be a different story and his ADP is right where it should be. In dynasty, I love him because there is no chance Ertz is on this team come 2022 and Goedert is already in contract extension talks with Philadelphia. I just want Ertz gone. Go to Arizona or Buffalo, they will love you. So that’s my verdict. Ertz is gone, I’ll take Goedert. Ertz still there, Goedert is going to have a hard time finding any consistent volume early and he just won’t be worth the price tag.
Fantasy Pros TE6
Word of Warning: If you plan on drafting Eagles’ players this year, know this: There is a lot of value to be had with these players but tons of risk. It’s a new offense, new coach, new everything so how the offense will get run and who will get the ball will be up in the air until after Week 1. This is just a very interesting case. Good luck kids.