2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: More concern for Alshon Jeffery changes Eagles' outlook
The Eagles are anything but healthy early in the preseason. Should we change our Fantasy expectations?
Most of us have been pretty willing to accept the extended stay on the PUP list for Carson Wentz. Some of us even expected it. But he's not the only Philadelphia Eagle who still isn't practicing. Ian Rapport tweeted on Monday that Alshon Jeffery may not be ready for the start of the season:
Now this is not even close to a confirmation that Jeffery is going to miss regular season time. But had you even been considering the possibility? At the very least we need to rank Jeffery as if it's a possibility. And we need to do the same with the rest of the Eagles.
The big beneficiaries if Jeffery misses a chunk of the season would be Nelson Agholor and Mike Wallace. This would also open up more targets for training-camp-star Dallas Goedert. Agholor is the one I'm most interested in, and he's underdrafted already. He's currently the No. 43 receiver off the board in drafts despite posting 62-768-8 in 2017 with Jeffery on the field. Draft Agholor knowing his floor is the same as his cost right now.
Of course, this would be bad news for Wentz if Jeffery is out. I don't feel the need to lower Wentz too much in my rankings because I already had him outside of my top-12. What this should reinforce is that the Eagles quarterback isn't worth his current ADP, even as it falls.
*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.
EXPECTED PPR FP
Breaking down the touches
Doug Pederson is one of many Andy Reid disciples currently coaching in the NFL and his three-year average above include one year as the offensive coordinator for Reid. That's important, because we don't know how much of that was Reid and how much was Pederson. The one thing that remains constant across all three years is Pederson's heavy usage of the tight end, specifically Zach Ertz. You should expect Ertz to continue being one of the most targeted tight ends in the league, which certainly lowers the upside of the Eagles receivers.
The bigger question is just how much the Eagles will pass. With their improved defense there is a chance my expectation of 562 passes will prove too high, but the Eagles led more than they trailed in 2017 and they still threw 564 passes as a team. That pass volume will be another key in determining whether Carson Wentz is a top 10 Fantasy quarterback in 2018.
- In the two years Pederson has been in Philadelphia, no running back has topped 173 carries. Ajayi has a good chance to top that this year, but I wouldn't expect him to be among the league leaders in touches. That lowers his ceiling significantly.
- Jeffery led the team in targets and receiving touchdowns in 2017, but Agholor caught a much higher percentage of his targets and was more efficient on a per target basis. If Jeffery is out there's reason to believe Agholor could be a borderline top-12 receiver.
- It will be interesting to see how Mike Wallace adjusts to being the fourth option in this offense. If he buys in he could help maintain some of last year's freakish efficiency from the passing game.
Before the team signed Wallace there were plenty of people getting excited about the opportunity for Mack Hollins. He caught 72 percent of his targets as a rookie and averaged 14.1 yards per reception. With Jeffery's injury history and Wallace's age it's not hard to imagine Hollins playing a major role in the passing game at some point in 2018.
Ertz wasn't the only tight end to be targeted last year and the team spent a second round pick on Dallas Goedert. If everything goes perfectly, Goedert could slide into that Trey Burton role from a year ago. But that's a pretty low ceiling barring an injury to Zach Ertz. Like most rookie tight ends, Goedert is better left for dynasty and a keeper leagues.
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