Daily Dr. Roto — August 29, 2018
Philadelphia Eagles Team Preview
Outlook: The Eagles shocked the world last season winning the Super Bowl even after their star QB got injured. Normally, Super Bowl winning teams struggle the following season, but the Eagles are lucky in that the NFC East is still filled with some horrible defenses. Expect the Eagles to make the playoffs once again this season, but another Super Bowl appearance is probably out of the question.
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QB: I knew Carson Wentz was going to be a top QB when I saw him play in college, but I had no idea that he was going to be this good so quickly. Wentz threw 33 TD passes last season (with only 7 INTs) and could have easily had 40 TDs had he not injured his knee. Wentz’s knee injury is supposed to keep him sidelined for a total of nine months, and the team is deciding as of this minute whether to activate him for Week 1 of the season. My best guess is that Wentz will sit out the first few games to ensure that he comes back fully healthy. There is no reason to risk Wentz's future with Nick Foles fully capable of playing for a few games. Fantasy owners have been taking Wentz anywhere from QB3 to QB 10. I think I would take Wentz much closer to 10, as I am slightly worried about his mobility and how he recovers after taking his first real shot to his knee. If I draft Wentz, I will not only draft Foles; I will also draft a backup who can start like Mariota or Alex Smith. Super Bowl hero Nick Foles will be the starting QB if Wentz is unable to begin the season. I have no interest in drafting Foles outside of owning Wentz as I think his value is short-term and I would prefer to use my picks on players who can play the entire season.
RB: The Eagles proved last season that teams could win Super Bowls with running back committees. The Eagles main ball carrier is Jay Ajayi who came over from Miami in the middle of last season. Ajayi is a solid first and second down running back who should see about 45-50% of the team’s overall carries. It is because of splitting time that I probably won’t draft Ajayi this season. He is going as a late fourth round pick in most drafts, and I want more certainty from a player at that spot. Right now, I project Ajayi at around 1000 yards rushing and about 8 TDs, but I don’t feel great about that projection. I would much rather draft backup Corey Clement in Round 11 than Ajayi in Round 4. Clement flashed nicely as a rookie last season showing decent hands and a nose for the end zone. Team insiders think that Clement might have a chance for 40-50 receptions this season, which I think is a fair assessment. Regardless, Fantasy Football success is predicated on finding value, and Clement seems to offer more value. Lastly, the Eagles still like to give the ball to Darren Sproles on occasion. Sproles is more of a gadget guy than runner right now, but he does offer some upside in PPR formats and also as a return man.
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WR: Recent reports have WR1 Alshon Jeffery missing at least the first two games of the season with a shoulder injury. As of now, the Eagles are hoping to activate him for Week 3, but if they put him on the PUP-list, he cannot be activated until Week 7. This should drop Jeffery down considerably in drafts. He was going as a late third or early fourth round pick, but now I think he should fall somewhere around round 7 or 8. Even if he returns in Week 3, I am a bit worried that he will not be a target monster and could see a 15-20% reduction in catches. Jeffery's injury opens up the door for Nelson Agholor. Agholor showed marked improvement in his third season, practically doubling his output from 2016. With more targets, I would expect to see Agholor's confidence improve and he might become the Eagles top receiving threat by season's end. Agholor could flirt with 1000 yards receiving and 9 TDs this season if he can remain healthy. Although he is 32 years old, Mike Wallace will step up and be the Eagles WR2 with Jeffery out. Wallace still has speed and runs solid routes, and he could be a sneaky source of production for the first month. Mack Hollins will most likely be the WR4 and could step up as the WR3 with Jeffery out. Hollins is super quick and could be a nice late round stash in best ball formats.
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TE: I would like to thank Zach Ertz for helping me to win many Fantasy Championships last year. I drafted Ertz in Round 7 of almost all my drafts, and it paid off handsomely as Ertz stayed healthy for most of the season and he had a career-high 8 TDs. I still like Ertz in 2018, but I doubt he will be on too many of my teams. He is being drafted in Round 3 and 4 of most leagues, and I think that is paying full price for him. I would gladly take him in Round 5 if he is available, but nothing sooner than that. Backup Trey Burton signed with the Bears in free agency this off-season, but the Eagles covered themselves by drafting young rookie Dallas Goedert in Round 2 of this year’s draft. I am a huge fan of Goedert and the only thing holding him back from early stardom is Ertz. I still think that Goedert could be an exciting stash and cash in redraft leagues.
K: Jake Elliott did an outstanding job last season and should be one of the first kickers selected in drafts. He plays on a good offensive team, and he should have tons of opportunities.
D: Keep your eye on DE Derek Barnett as he is ready to run havoc on opposing QBs. While I don't love this team for IDP purposes, the defense plays very well as a unit, and they are one of the top five defenses in seasonal formats.
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