“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” That’s a quote from Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities, and it also sums up many people’s experiences playing fantasy football. Around 60 million people played fantasy football last year, and if you were one of them, then perhaps you can relate to the roller coaster ride of emotions that comes with it. My first season in a legitimate 10-man fantasy league, Tim Tebow led me to the championship game despite originally drafting Phillip Rivers to be my QB1. In that championship, I stuck with Mr. 4th Quarter (Tebow Time gifted me with numerous last second scoring outbursts that proved vital in my success), and that decision ended up losing me the title game. Tebow scored something like 8 fantasy points, and Rivers had a cool 20 on my bench (I wasn’t mad at all…it was actually funny…). Those are the types of things that happen in fantasy, but through the highs and the lows, it’s an experience absolutely worth having. As an Eagles fan, I always try to have at least one member of the Birds on my team, even if they’re just on my bench. Experiencing the Eagles scoring a touchdown while simultaneously scoring fantasy points gives you a rush of emotion unlike anything else (maybe I should get out more?).
That’s why I’m going to break down which Eagles players you should target in your fantasy draft. Doug Pederson showed last season that the offense was able to be so successful by sharing the football and getting everyone involved. While that’s great for the Eagles, it can be frustrating for fantasy owners. Nailing down who will produce the most on a week to week basis can be challenging. That’s why I’ve split them up into two tiers. I consider those in tier 1 to be playable most weeks and those in tier 2 to be considered based on matchups, bye weeks, and injuries.
(I’m going to assume you’re in a PPR (point per reception) league because it just seems like the trend fantasy football has gone in. If you still use standard scoring, well I respect your stubbornness/resiliency and you can adjust accordingly.)
*I’ll be using this website as a guideline on player’s average draft positions (ADP). I suggest using it as well in the broader scheme of your draft plans to gain a better understanding of your strategy come draft night. *
Tier 1 Players
Ertz, particularly in PPR leagues, is likely to be the Eagles’ fantasy standout again this season. He was third among TEs in fantasy points scored in 2017, behind only Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski. Ertz totaled 202.4 fantasy points (27.9 higher than Delanie Walker in 4th) and averaged 14.5 PPG. When asking if a player can have repeat success in consecutive seasons, it’s important to note how that player scored their fantasy points. In Ertz’s case, he averaged 7.9 targets per game and was able to reel in 5.3 of those for receptions, which gives him 5.3 fantasy points per game off the bat. Ertz also averaged 11.1 yards per reception, which would be good for about 58 yards per game. Depending on how the scoring works in your league, this gave Ertz 11.2 PPG before ever factoring in a touchdown. Touchdowns weren’t a problem for him either. In 14 games, Ertz scored 8 touchdowns, all of which came in the red zone. When you factor in that he was also 15th in total red zone targets and catching 64.71% of those in 2017, it becomes obvious how important he is to the Eagles’ offense. Philly Goedert might take some production away from him, but it’s hard for me to imagine his presence as a rookie would take more targets from him than Trey Burton was able to last season. Zach Ertz is seemingly going in the third and fourth rounds of most drafts, and is the third tight end off the board on average, so plan accordingly. He should be a top 5 fantasy tight end this season, and I would suggest starting him every week if you land him.
Carson Wentz is one of the best fantasy quarterbacks you can have. On average, he’s been the 6th quarterback taken off the board, and 60th player drafted overall, so you can potentially wait until the middle rounds to snag him (although, if you’re in a league with other Eagles fans, you might want to assume he’ll go earlier). Last season, Wentz had the second highest fantasy points per game average at 21.8, only behind Deshaun Watson (24.1). He was 5th in total fantasy points, and if it wasn’t for the injury, he would’ve surely been in the top 3. It’s fair to question how much coming off of a torn ACL will impact Wentz in terms of his fantasy production, but with him being the fifth or sixth quarterback taken in drafts, the value there is pretty great. If you do land Wentz, consider taking a backup along the lines of Matt Ryan, Tyrod Taylor, or Marcus Mariota, who should still be there once your league has all drafted a QB already.
I’m not going to consider Ajayi a RB1, but he should be a capable RB2 and would be a fantastic FLEX if you can swing that. He’s about the 20th RB being taken in fantasy drafts so far, so if you can get him as your second running back I’d consider that a success. Last season was a weird one for Ajayi since he was traded midseason. After going through the playoffs and having a full offseason with the team though, he should be more prepared for a larger role. He averaged 9.7 fantasy points per game last season, but if he can find the end zone more often this year (he scored only one TD in 2017), he should be able to improve his fantasy output. I would temper expectations of Ajayi in terms of fantasy, and make sure you have other running backs on your bench in case his production is inconsistent.
Jeffrey isn’t the fantasy behemoth he was in 2013/2014, but he’s still a capable WR2. Similar to his Eagles RB counterpart in Ajayi, he’s being drafted as the 22nd WR in drafts so far. This aligns right with his production in 2017, where he was the 20th best fantasy receiver in terms of total points and averaged 12.2 per game. Jeffrey saw the most targets last season among the Eagles receivers and tight ends, and I would expect Wentz to continue to target his biggest receiver on the outside. With Mike Wallace potentially attracting more attention with his over the top ability than Torrey Smith could, Alshon could improve on the 49.3 yards per game he averaged last season. He’ll also continue to be a red zone threat. He saw the same amount of red zone targets as Ertz did in 2017 and brought in 7 of his 9 touchdowns from inside that area. When drafting, try not to overreach on Jeffery. Landing him as WR2 would be just fine.
Tier 2 Players
I know I said these tier two guys should be considered starting based on matchups and bye weeks, but Nelly has a legit shot to be a starting flex, and his ceiling could even be a WR2. Let’s compare his stats to Alshon Jeffrey in 2017.
|Targets||Receptions||Yards||Yards/ Reception||Touchdowns||Catch Percentage|
As you can see, the two receivers’ production were quite similar. Alshon certainly faced tougher coverage, but we don’t actually care about that in fantasy, we just care about the numbers that they’re able to put up. The real surprise is that Alshon is being drafted as the 22nd receiver off the board, and Agholor is being drafted as the 43rd. It might be a good strategy to let others in your league take Jeffrey early while you wait on Nelson.
Clement is a guy who’s absolutely worth having at the end of your bench as a handcuff for Ajayi. If Ajayi were to get hurt at any point this year and miss some time, Clement would automatically become a RB2/FLEX option while he’s out. He has the ability to do everything: run outside, run inside, and leak out for passes. His role within the offense should grow this year, especially after his playoff performances, but with all the other mouths to feed in the Eagles offense it’s not likely you can rely on him week in and week out without an injury expanding that role. He’s currently being drafted as the 49th running back, so be sure to keep your eye out for him if you’re an Ajayi owner toward the end of your draft.
Mike Wallace is on average being drafted as the 76th wide receiver off the board. In other words, there’s a chance he goes undrafted in your league. The reason I’m including him is because he has boom or bust potential in any given week, and sometimes rolling the dice on a guy like that can pay off when the Birds face a secondary that is prone to giving up home runs. He likely won’t see the 92 targets he did in Baltimore last season, but he could surely replicate his 14.4 yards per catch. Consider Wallace as a guy you would use as a bye week fill in with potential to haul in a long home run. Fantasy football is sometimes about taking the highest risk, and if you’re going to take one it might as well be for a guy who can blow the top off opposing defenses.