LeSean McCoy is awesome. No further analysis is needed. The real question concerning the Philadelphia Eagles and fantasy football is whether or not head coach Chip Kelly’s system was a fluke on the ugly nerd scoring a hot model level, or if it’s here to stay. Built in with that impossible to determine question is whether or not Nick Foles is the Peyton Manning-level God we saw against the hapless Raiders last year, or the sad sack we saw against a dreadful Cowboys defense.
Let’s stir up this hot soup by getting started with the guy with the high school aged shag – Foles. The cool thing about Foles is that he looks like he should be out skateboarding, but he happens to have quite a bit of natural talent for the quarterback position. Blessed with great size and an underrated arm, Foles has all the good stuff – pocket presence, patience, vision, accuracy, precision, ball placement and timing. He senses the rush well, can read the defense and really just knows how to slap defenses around.
I’ve just got one problem. Foles has lit up dumpster diving defenses. He torched the Raiders for seven touchdowns. A standing ovation for the number of touchdowns, for sure, but the opponent? Come on. He threw another combined 15 touchdowns against the damn Giants, Buccaneers, Packers, Vikings, Bears and Cowboys. All of those teams were dog shit defenses. That shouldn’t be impressing anyone.
While the schedule clearly favored Foles, the end result was still a ridiculous 27 touchdowns to just two picks. He also got the Iggles into the playoffs and they almost beat the Saints. I think all of that is enough to prove the shaggy haired bastard is legit. But I don’t think it means he’s truly elite just yet. The system bodes well and he has the talent, but his schedule was super easy and DeSean Jackson jetted for Washington. Losing a target like that who had a monster career year is a big deal.
In summary, Foles threw 22 of his 27 touchdowns against defenses that should be ashamed of themselves. And he lost DeSean Jackson. He shouldn’t be drafted as a top-six quarterback. That’s damn insane.
It starts with Foles in Philly, but good God does it not end there.
Riley Cooper, anyone? While Cooper is surely better at slinging racist remarks than he is at actually being a truly good NFL wide receiver, he actually does possess good size and some decent ball skills. Even though he lacks top level speed and any real separation ability, he does have that Anquan Boldin knack for coming up with “how the fuck did he get that” catches. Those mostly resulted in touchdowns last year, but it’s worth noting that five of Cooper’s 8 scores came in just two games. You know, against those brutally tough matchups in the Raiders and Packers. God, that must have been awful for Coops, finding ways to creatively outwit such terrible pass defenses. He should have gone to the Pro Bowl or won an Emmy or some shit.
In reality, Cooper is just an average talent who benefited from being on the field due to his solid blocking ability and massive size. Truth be told, just about every one of his touchdowns seemed to be the result of him happening to be on the field and the play taking long enough that he happened to be in the end-zone. Twenty minutes later, when Foles finally unleashed his pass, the cornerback “covering” Cooper was asleep in the endzone, pillow and blanky, and all. But Cooper is clearly a God receiver and needs to be drafted over Calvin Johnson, right? Actually, he’s an overrated WR3 spare that is probably closer to a WR4 that will inevitably crush your soul. Good luck with that guy.
Rookie receiver Jordan Matthews and the latest returnee from a shredded knee, Jeremy Maclin, are your two other bets to replace D-Jax at wide receiver in Philadelphia. Matthews is actually pretty damn talented and somehow still underrated. He bitch slapped the SEC routinely, but since he wasn’t Sammy Watkins and went to fucking Vanderbilt, no one gives a shit about him. Truth be told, especially in Kelly’s offense, he’s probably going to be a stud. It won’t happen right away, but he’s so fundamentally sound he might replace sad sack Cooper – this year. I expect him to first start out of the slot and as the Eagles see he’s more than just some rookie, he’ll get more time.
That leaves Maclin as the most likely guy out of this receiving corps to do anything of significance, as he’ll run in Jackson’s old role. He has great long speed, quickness and playmaking ability, but has been slightly underwhelming since coming out of Missouri. He has insane upside, though, so he could be amazing this year. Or he could shred both knees. He’s worth the risk as a mid-round pick, though. He needs to be drafted before all other Philly receivers and offers solid WR2 upside.
Tight end Zach Ertz is probably the biggest breakout candidate in this passing game, though. He has awesome size and speed for his position and the Eagles appear to be excited about using him inside the 20. Bet on that. There is always a young tight end that busts out and it’s probably time for someone to leapfrog Brent Celek’s hands of stone. Ertz has the talent and came on strong to end 2013. He’s a major sleeper and could finish in the top-10.
The Eagles have a kicker and Chip Kelly hates kickers. Or kicking. Or maybe he just hates watching kickers kick. Their kicker, Alex Henery, finished 18th in fantasy football last year. He made 45 extra points and he probably will make even more this year, yet I bet he slips even further. The Eagles just don’t kick field goals. Blame Chip Kelly.
The Eagles are a terrible defense. They’re in a transition, but just like a sex change patient crying about the difficulty of hormones, remember, they brought this on them damn selves. Philly will get better, but that’s like saying your Shingles will go away “after a while”. Yeah, it will, but it’s going to be an unbearable mess while it’s here. Draft accordingly.
*Photo credit – Matthew Straubmuller via Flickr.