2019 Fantasy Football: Philadelphia Eagles Expanded Team Outlook
Philadelphia Eagles Team Outlook
In this Philadelphia Eagles Team Outlook, I will focus on each key aspect of the franchise: coaching, the draft, free agency, offensive line, schedule, defense and of course, each relevant Fantasy Football at the key positions: QB, RB, WR, TE and K.
From 1988 to 2016, the Eagles made the playoffs 16 times with a Super Bowl appearance in 2004. After missing the postseason for three straight years, Philly gave their fans a magical ride in 2017 for their first Super Bowl title with a 13-3 record in the regular season. Last year they lost their way offensively with regression as well on defense. In the end, the Eagles still made the playoffs with a 9-7 record, but they lost in the first round of the playoffs. Doug Pederson moved to the upper echelon in the coaching world with his Super Bowl win. Pederson has 29-19 record over three seasons at the head coach in Philadelphia. Over the previous three seasons, Doug was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs. He worked under Reid for eight years in Philadelphia and Kansas City.
The Eagles slipped to 18th in points scored (367) and 14th in offensive yards gained, which was well below in 2017 (3rd and 7th). They scored 90 fewer points. The loss of FrankReich may have been more of a factor than initially expected. Mike Groh returns for his second season as the offensive coordinator, but he has a lot to prove in 2019. Groh has six seasons of experience in the NFL coaching with the most coming as a wide receiver’s coach, which was the position Mike held for the Eagles in 2017.
The defense improved dramatically in the first two seasons under Jim Schwartz, but they slipped to 12th in points allowed (348) and 23rd in yards allowed. Schwartz will run the defense for the fourth straight season after taking a year off from the NFL in 2015. Over five seasons as a head coach for the Lions, Jim went 29-51 with one playoff berth. He has 12 years of experience as a defensive coordinator.
In the offseason, the Eagles made a pair of trades to hopefully beef up their offense. They acquired RB Jordan Howard and DeSean Jackson. The rest of the additions on offense came in backend WR depth – WR Johnny Holton, WR Carlton Agudosi, and WR Charles Johnson.
The Phillies parted ways with QB Nick Foles, RB Jay Ajayi, RB Darren Sproles, WR Golden Tate, WR Jordan Matthews, WR Mike Wallace, C Stefen Wisniewski, and G Chance Warmack.
On defense, they added DT Malik Jackson, DE Vinny Curry, LB Alex Singleton, LB L.J. Fort, and S Andrew Sendejo with all players projected offer bench depth. The Eagles lost DT Haloti Ngata, DT Timmy Jernigan, LB Jordan Hicks, LB LaRoy Reynolds, and LB D.J. Alexander.
Philadelphia Eagles Draft
In the 2019 NFL Draft, Philadelphia only had five draft choices with three coming over the first two rounds – T Andre Dillard (1st), RB Miles Sanders (2nd), and WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
First Round pick, 22nd overall: OT Andre Dillard, Washington State
Dillard is the future left tackle for the Eagles. His athletic style tied to his plus footwork give him an edge in his first season in the NFL. He projects well in pass projection while needing more time to develop all of his skill set the run game.
Second Round pick, 53rd overall: RB Miles Sanders, Penn State
Sanders has limited experience at RB while playing behind the great Saquon Barkley. He plays with power while having an intriguing combination of speed (4.49 40 yard dash and quickness). His pass-catching value is questionable, pointing an early-down role early in his career.
Second Round pick, 57th overall: WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford
Arcega-Whiteside is a big WR (6’3” and 225 lbs.) with strong hands and scoring value in the red zone. His speed doesn’t give him an edge, but his strength does. He needs to improve his route running and his release while needing to refine his overall technique.
Fourth Round pick, 138th overall: LB Shareef Miller
In the fourth round, the Eagles drafted LB Shareef Miller. His skill set has risk in multiple areas based on his size and strength. Miller doesn’t offer an edge in speed while needing to get stronger. He has risk at this point in his career vs. the run while needing to develop his pass-rushing skills. More of a project than an expected starter.
Fifth Round pick, 167th overall: QB Clayton Thorson
QB Clayton Thorson was the choice in the fifth round. He has NFL size (6’4” and 225 lbs.) with a serviceable arm. Thorson stands tall in the pocket but does take too many sacks with too many errant throws. His accuracy isn’t at a pro-level while showing vision and the ability to read defenses. Clayton lacks playmaking ability.
The Eagles fell to 28th in the NFL in rushing yards (1,570) with 12 rushing TDs. They averaged 3.9 yards per carry while gaining over 20 yards per rush in seven runs.
Philadelphia scored 29 passing TDs while doing an excellent job minimizing the damage in interceptions (11). They ranked 7th in passing yards (4,275) while gaining only 7.6 yards per pass attempt. Their offensive line allowed 40 sacks and 102 QB hits.
LT Jason Peters
Peters has been a steady force on the left side of this line over the last decade, but he did show regression in run blocking plus more weakness in pass blocking in 2018. The Eagles drafted a young stud (Andre Dillard) to take over at left tackle, which may push Peters to another position in 2019. Either way, the Eagles should have a productive player at this position this season.
LG Isaac Seumalo
Seumalo started the final 11 games for the Eagles in 2018, but he failed to make an impact in any area. Philly drafted him in the third round in 2016. If he struggles early in the year, he could be the player at the most risk to lose his starting job.
C Jason Kelce
Kelce remains one of the best players at his position in the NFL. In 2018, he had the most success of his career in pass protections while failing to match his elite success in run blocking from 2017. Kelce is a former sixth-round draft pick (2011) with six other strong seasons on his resume.
RG Brandon Brooks
Brooks played exceptionally well over the last three seasons while showing some fade in run blocking in 2018. Brooks offered an edge in four of his previous six years in the league as a starter after getting drafted in the third round in 2012.
RT Lane Johnson
Johnson played well in each of the five full seasons, but he was suspended for 10-games in 2016. Lane has strength in run blocking and pass protection. Johnson is a former first-round pick (2013).
2019 O-Line Outlook
Philadelphia has the talent to have one of the top offensive lines in the NFL. They have strength at four positions plus a rising star added to the roster in this year draft. Their one weak link comes at left guard, which may be upgraded by shifting around a player or two on the current roster.
Last year’s problem came in the run game, which may have been more of a running back problem than an offensive line issue. The Eagles have two upside backs on the roster, which will help this offense in all areas.
The above data shows the strength of schedule as far as rushing attempts (RATT), rushing yards (YDS), yards per attempt rushing (YA), rushing touchdowns (TDs), completions (COMP), passing attempts (PATT), passing yards (YDS), yards per attempt passing (YA), and passing touchdowns (TDS).
This information is based on 2018, which will work as our starting point for 2019. We’ll look at all the changes on offense on each team in the NFL plus the upgrades and downgrades on each team on the defensive side. We’ll update this table when we finish the research on all 32 teams.
- LG Average = the league average of all stats from all 32 teams in 2018.
- Results = this is the results for each team in the NFL.
- Adjustment is based on the 2018 league average and the 2018 results for each team, this number will show if each team is above or below the league average in each stat category and the basis for the strength of schedule.
Philly only has one plus matchup (MIA) for their rushing offense while expecting to be tested in three contests (CHI and DAL x 2). Their overall run schedule presents a slight edge.
Their best game to pass the ball looks to be against the Jets. Three-quarters of their games come vs. teams grading closer to league average in pass defense. The Eagles only have two tough games (MIN and BUF) for their passing offense.
When at their best offensively in 2017, Philadelphia ran the ball well while their QBs delivered plus TDs in the red zone. Their regression on defense last year led to more passes, which wasn’t helped by regression as a running team. Their goal would be more balanced offensively while having the hammer at QB if the offense comes together in 2019. I expect plenty of scoring chance this year.
Over the last two seasons covering 24 games, Wentz has 54 TDs and 14 Ints, which is an attractive ratio for a winning time. He set a career-high in his completion rate (69.8) in 2018 while being on paces for the most passing yards of his career (279 yards per game). Carson passed for over 300 yards in five contests, and he had three TDs in three games. Even with growth last year, Wentz did come up short in the red zone in multiple close games. Philadelphia signed him to a massive contract in the offseason, which shows the trust they have in his future.
His injury last year came on a run, which was surprising, considering he barely ran in 2018 (34/93) due to his recovery from his torn ACL. Carson has two elite TEs plus talent at WR. The running game should be improved, helping the ability to extend drives while adding to the scoring output. This season he could be undervalued, which makes him a viable cheat at QB. His next step is 4,500 combined yards with a chance at 35+ TDs.
Other Options: Nate Sudfeld, Cody Kessler, Clayton Thorson
After shining in his rookie season (1,611 combined yards with seven TDs and 29 catches), Howard had back-to-back years of regression for the Bears despite plenty of touches (2016 – 281, 2017 – 299, and 2018 – 270). His slide is clearly tied to his yards per rush (3.7 in 2018 and 5.2 in 2016). In his career, Jordan averages 18.1 touches per game. Last season he had two games with over 100 yards rushing (19/101 and 21/109/2), which came over the final four weeks of the year.
I expect Howard to be a good fit for the Eagles, but I can’t say that he’s a better player than Miles Sanders, which is going to be a problem for Fantasy owners in 2019. The Eagles’ RBs rushed for 1,458 yards on 357 carries with 12 TDs in 2018. The Philly will need to lean on one back on early downs, which points to 250 touches for 1,000+ yards and double-digit TDs. My bet has to be on the under for Howard as I’ve seen too many times in this offense where the coaching staff just rotates in multiple backs. More of stash than a target if his price falls in a favorable area.
Update 8/16/2019: The starting job at RB for the Eagles remains in question after the first two preseason games. Howard has been getting positive reports while Fantasy owners continue to place their bet the more explosive Miles Sanders. As of now, both players will be in a timeshare while the pass-catching role will slide to Darren Sproles who signed in July. In the second preseason game, Howard rushed for 15 yards on four carries.
With the great Saquon Barkley in front of him on the depth chart in 2016 and 2017, Sanders gained only 429 combined yards on 64 touches with four TDs and eight catches. In his first season as a starter, Sanders failed to get the whole show leading to questionable stats in the run (220/1274/9) and receiving game (24/139/0). His path to college painted him as a high-upside RB with plenty of experience touching the ball. Sanders offers an excellent combination of short-area speed with vision and power. If given space after breaking the line of scrimmage, he knows how to get defenders flat-footed with subtle moves and head and shoulder fakes. Miles follows his blocks well with a gear to burst through the line while breaking tackling with his legs. His value in the receiving game looks below par based on his opportunity.
If given a chance in pass protection, I expect Sanders to handle his job. Overall, he comes into the draft slightly underrated, but I see enough to be a serviceable lead back in the NFL in an early-down split role with a complementary pass-catching back. With Philadelphia, Miles will compete for touches with Jordan Howard. If the Eagles decide to rotate in both backs, they won’t have playable Fantasy value in many games. In the early draft season, his ADP (109) is relatively close to Howard (96). I can’t overpay for a bench player, so a Fantasy owner must follow this situation carefully over the summer.
Update 8/16/2019: In the second preseason game, Miles Sanders gained 31 yards on five carries highlighted by two long runs (12 and 16 yards). The 12-yard run came on a huge hole on the right side of the field where any RB in the NFL would have gained big yards. His second long run started at his own five-yard line where Sanders finished his runs with eight to ten extra yards after contact. His speed will be an edge while needing to be a factor in the passing game to set a higher ceiling.
Fantasy owners expected more juice out of Clement in 2018 after showing some upside late in 2017. His best game in the regular season came in Week 9 (67 combined yards with three TDs and one catch). Corey came up big as well in the Super Bowl (108 combined yards with one TD and three catches). In 2018, Clement only had 451 combined yards with two TDs while failing to make an impact in the passing game (22/192 on 25 targets). Most of his stats came in five games (379 combined yards with two TDs and 16 catches). Corey may lead the team in catches, but I don’t expect his opportunity to be high enough to chase him in Fantasy drafts. Last year the Eagles’ RBs caught 78 passes for 657 yards and four TDs on 106 targets.
Update 8/16/2019: Corey Clement struggled with a knee issue in late July, which looked to be clearing up in August. He’ll compete with Darren Sproles for pass-catching chances.
Other Options: Wendell Smallwood, Josh Adams, Boston Scott, Donnel Pumphrey
Heading into 2018, Jeffrey started the year on the shelf for three games due to a slow recovery from torn rotator cuff injury in his right shoulder that required surgery after the 2017 Super Bowl win. Fantasy owners thought that hit Fantasy value gold after three strong games (8/105/1, 8/74/2, and 7/88/1) in his first four starts. Unfortunately, a string of disappointing games (4/35, 4/48, 4/33, 3/39, and 3/31) led to trust issues.
Jeffery rebounded in his last four games (6/50/1, 8/160, 3/82, and 5/59/1) leading to the 27th ranking in WR scoring in PPR leagues. His pace over 13 games prorated over a full season would have pushed him to 16th in WR scoring. Jeffery's catch rate (70.7) was a career-high while averaging only 7.1 targets per game. His best two years came in 2013 (89/1421/7) and 2014 (85/1133/10) with the Bears. Jeffrey offers scoring and big-play ability, but he can’t make a significant impact without growth in his opportunity. I’ll set his floor at 80+ catches for 1,000+ yards with eight to ten TDs.
Update 8/16/2019: Alshon Jeffery will be the comeback player of the year for Fulltime Fantasy.
After a five year vacation in Washington and Tampa, Jackson returns to Philly where he played the best ball of his career. DeSean has five seasons with over 1,000 yards receiving. Over the last four years, his game has taken a step back in three seasons (30/528/4, 50/668/3, and 41/774/4) while working as 3rd/4th WR for the Buccaneers in 2017 and 2018. He’s led the NFL in yards per catch four times in his career while posting a low catch rate (55.7) in his career.
Last December, he suffered an Achilles injury. Jackson should enter training camp healthy while becoming the deep threat for the Eagles in 2019. With a 16-game season, DeSean will catch 50+ balls for 800+ yards with five to seven TDs. More of a flash WR4 in PPR leagues with a chance to offer starting flex value if Philadelphia’s offense regains its fire.
Over the last years, Agholor delivered two similar seasons (62/768/8 and 64/736/4) while averaging six targets per game. The difference in TDs (4) and yards (52) in 2017 led to him finishing 23rd in WR scoring in PPR leagues compared to 34th last season. Nelson started all 16 games in 2018 while expecting to have a bump in chances over the first three games (8/49, 8/88/1, and 4/24) with Alshon Jeffrey on the shelf. Over his next ten games, he only caught 34 passes for 435 yards and no TDs on 57 targets while becoming unplayable in the Fantasy market in most weeks. Agholor made more plays over the last two games (5/116/1 and 5/40/2) before disappearing again in the playoffs (3/32 and 1/6). His catch rate (65.3 and 66.0) over the last two seasons does point to more upside if given more looks. Boring top 36 WR option at this point of his career who I’d rather own as a WR5 based on his lack of consistency and explosiveness.
In his three seasons with playing time for Stanford, Arcega-Whiteside showed growth each year (24/379/5, 48/781/9, and 63/1059/14) while showcasing plus yards per catch each season (15.8, 16.3, and 16.8). J.J. brings size (6’3” and 225 lbs.) to the WR position. His hands and strength give him an edge on jump balls in the end zone, but he needs to improve his route running and his overall technique to become a complete player at the next level. Arcega-Whiteside lacks speed, so his success will come by his ability to be physical on his release and his route running.
Other Options: Mark Hollins, Shelton Gibson, Charles Johnson, Braxton Miller, Greg Ward
After three good seasons (75/853/2, 78/816/4, and 74/824/8) while missing five combined games, Ertz turned into a beast or a WR1 in 2018. He set career highs in catches (116), receiving yards (1,163), and targets (156) while matching 2017 in TDs (8). His catch rate (72.7) was elite. Zach started the year with double-digit targets over the first five games while adding four more games in his last 11 starts. He gained over 100 yards in five games with five awesome games in catches (11, 10, 10, 14, and 12). The TEs on the Eagles caught 154 passes for 1,561 yards and 12 TDs on 201 targets. This offense runs through the TE position, but Philadelphia does have a second TE of value on the roster. Ertz has a 90+ catch skill set, which gives him a chance at another 1,000+ yards with plenty of value in TDs.
Fantasy owners invested a high draft pick in Goedert in 2018, but he failed to deliver on his upside. Even with a short season (33/334/4 on 44 targets), Dallas did flash explosiveness and scoring ability at times highlighted by three games (7/73/1, 4/43/1, and 4/44/1). He finished with an elite catch rate (75.0), which will command more targets going forward. This season he’ll steal some chances away from Ertz while being an electric option if an injury creates a starting opportunity. Over his last two seasons at South Dakota State, Goedert caught 164 passes for 2,404 yards and 8 TDs with his best success coming in 2016 (92/1293/11). A special player if his price point is favorable.
Update 8/16/2019: In the first preseason game, Dallas Goedert caught three passes for 49 yards, but he did suffer a calf injury. Philly expects him to be ready for Week 1.
Other Options: Richard Rodgers, Joshua Perkins, Will Tye
In his first season in the NFL, Jake made 26 of his 31 field goals (83.9 percent) while showing upside form long-range (5-for-6). In 2018, Elliott matched his field goal output exactly with regression from long range (2-for-5). He’s made 72 of 77 extra points in his short career. Last year Philadelphia scored 41 TDs, which was 12 fewer than 2017. Solid leg for a team that should create plenty of scoring chances.
Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Schedule
The Eagles’ defense won’t be challenged by their opponents in many games in 2019. The only team that had a high level of success running the ball last year was the Seahawks. Philly will have an edge defending the run in six different games (ATL, GB, NYJ, MIN, and NYG X 2). Of these teams, three have elite ERs with upside (Le’Veon Bell, Dalvin Cook, and Saquon Barkley).
Philly has a favorable schedule for their pass defense. They have nine games (DET, NYJ, CHI, SEA, MIA, WAS X 2, and DAL X 2) vs. opponents that struggled to pass the ball in 2018. The Eagles will be tested five contests (ATL, GB, NE, and NYG X 2) in the passing game.
Philadelphia Eagles Defense
The Eagles slipped to 7th in rushing yards allowed (1,551 yards), which was helped by a league-low 20.8 rushing attempts per game. They allowed 4.7 yards per rush with 14 TDs and 14 runs over 20 yards and four rushes over 40 yards.
Philly fell to 30th in passing yards allowed (4,308) while allowing 7.1 yards per pass attempt. QBs tossed only 22 TDs with 10 Ints while being sacked 34 times. The Eagles did allow 60 completions over 20 yards.
DT Malik Jackson played well in the pass rush in 2016 and 2017 (15 combined sacks) for the Jaguars while also chipping in with seven defended passes and four defended passes. Last year he had regression in all areas, but Philly thought enough of him to sign him to three-year $30 million contract.
DT Fletcher Cox is a top run defender who set a career-high in sacks (10.5) in 2018. Over the winter, he had surgery to repair a foot issue.
DE Brandon Graham had regression in the pass rush (four sacks) while remaining an edge in run support. His overall game should add value in all areas while starting the year at age 31.
DE Derek Barnett missed ten games last year after getting drafted in the first round in 2017. In a part-time role in 2017, Barnett had five sacks and 21 tackles. Derek projects to have value against the run with solid vision and hands to pressure the QB. His first step quickness and speed won’t offer an edge, so Barnett will try to cheat the snap to create an early win off the ball, but this plan can lead to mental mistakes and penalties. Derek is still a thinker, which leads to a lost step if he’s late dissecting the developing play. Barnett loses value when asked to make a significant change of direction moves.
Nigel Bradham was on the field for a ton of plays in 2018 (1,053 snaps), which led to success vs. the run while offering minimal impact value in the pass rush and risk in pass coverage. The Eagles may need to find another option at linebacker to rotate in with Bradham.
Zack Brown delivered 286 combined tackles in 2016 and 2017 for the Bills and the Redskins in 29 games, but he didn’t quite live up to expectation last year for the Redskins. Brown posted 96 tackles with one sack and two defended passes.
Kamu Grugier-Hill showed growth in 2018, which led to a career-high in tackles (45) with one sack, two defended passes, and one Int. He projects as a rotational player with no impact value.
S Malcolm Jenkins has been a top cover player in his career in the NFL with success in run support. Last year he had 97 tackles and eight defended passes, but he did fade vs. the run. Jenkins wants a new contract, which could be a problem at his age (31).
S Rodney McLeod missed 13 games in 2018, which came after a fade in production in 2017. He has some risk vs. the run while doing a decent job in pass coverage.
CB Jalen Mills didn’t play well in 2018 while missing eight games with a foot injury. He tends to allow a high catch rate while showing risk in TDs allowed in 2017. I view him as a weak link, especially when asked to cover the long field.
CB Ronald Darby had injuries in back-to-back seasons for the Eagles leading to 17 missed games and torn ACL in his right knee last November. When healthy in 2016 for the Bills, Darby was excellent in support with some risk in coverage. Ronald did play well in his eight games in 2017 for the Eagles.
Eagles Defense Fantasy Outlook
I see a ton of disaster on this defense, especially if they have regression in the pass rush. The defensive line can handle the run game, but the linebacking position does have risk while lacking depth and the next impact player. The secondary has many question marks with one player more motivated to his next payday. I want no part of the defense in the Fantasy market. On the positive side, the regression on defense will force Philadelphia to score more points to win games in 2019.