The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t lived up to their preseason expectations, specifically on the offensive side of the ball.
The Birds haven’t been able to move the ball efficiently as they rank 23rd league-wide in total offensive yardage. They average 5.1 yards per play; their lowest total since Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz took over the Eagles in 2016.
When it comes to fantasy football, however, there are many instances in which players can flourish within an underperforming offense.
Jaguars’ wide receiver DJ Chark currently ranks as the sixth-best at his position in fantasy football while his offense doesn’t even crack the top ten. Within the 25th ranked offense, Broncos’ running back Phillip Lindsay stands as the 13th-best option among backs.
Therefore, even if the Eagles’ offense has been horrendous at times, could any offensive player make the argument to be in your starting lineups?
QB Carson Wentz
Current Rank Among Quarterbacks: 14th
Anyone who consistently watches the Eagles on Sundays would argue that Wentz is at minimal fault for the offensive woes.
When playing with newly acquired wide receiver DeSean Jackson in week one, Wentz was able to throw the ball all around the field. He posted 25 fantasy points; a mark he hasn’t been able to surpass since.
While Wentz has 16 touchdowns through ten games, it is important to note that nine came in the month of September. Over the span of the last two months, Wentz has only thrown seven scores.
With Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson constantly dealing with injuries, Agholor massively underperforming, and the younger receivers obviously not NFL-ready yet, Wentz doesn’t have a lot of flexibility.
The Eagles’ wide receivers have been unusable. The Birds have turned to the tight ends and running backs more than ever this season, as they have accounted for 56% of the team’s receptions.
Carson Wentz is a premier talent at the league’s most important position; however, just like every signal-caller, one can only go so far until their supporting cast must play a factor.
RB Jordan Howard
Current Rank Among Running Backs: 24th
Howard currently stands as an RB3 in standard-PPR formats. If someone were to have told me this prior to the season, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all. This is exactly where his projections led him to be.
In August, fantasy experts had Howard’s ADP (average draft position) to be around the 9th round. He has returned that value.
In his first year with Philadelphia, Howard’s usage has been dialed back from what it was formerly in Chicago. The talented, young running back has only seen his usage surpass a 60% snap count twice all season.
It’s no surprise the Eagles aren’t using him as a bell-cow running back. The Birds rarely ever force an entire load of carries on one player. Rookie Miles Sanders has also demanded attention due to his explosive abilities, which of course, in turn, takes away from Howard’s usage.
What makes Jordan Howard so special, however, is his incredible knack for finding the end zone. He has seven touchdowns in his past eight games, and fantasy football is driven by touchdowns.
RB Miles Sanders
Current Rank Among Running Backs: 31st
It is yet to be known whether Miles Sanders has the true ability of an every-down back or just a change-of-pace back. Regardless, what he’s done so far in the passing game is pretty damn impressive.
He currently ranks 4th on the team in receptions and receiving yards, catching 24 balls for 314 yards. Nearly 40% of his yardage through the air occurs during the first quarter of games, which could be viewed as head coach Doug Pederson incorporating him in to specifically designed plays
In the run game, Sanders has been just as effective as teammate Jordan Howard. Sanders averages 4.3 yards per carry, virtually the exact same as Howard’s 4.4 yards per carry. The only difference between the two? Opportunity.
Jordan Howard is given 48.4% of the Eagles’ running back carries, as opposed to Miles Sanders who only receives 35.6%.
Miles Sanders looks promising and should be great for seasons to come; but for this season, it’s not surprising that the Birds have leaned Howard’s way more frequently.
Wide Receiver Nelson Agholor
Current Rank Among Wide Receivers: 56th
Nelson Agholor has started all 10 games thus far. He has been either the number one/number two receiver for the Eagles in nine of those starts. With that much opportunity, it’s hard to find a legitimate excuse for him.
It’s no secret that Agholor’s troubles of catching the football are back and in full force. Agholor had back-to-back fantasy outings in weeks 2-3 in which he impressed (statistically).
Since his two 20-point performances early on, the former USC Trojan hasn’t been able to surpass 45 receiving yards. He also has not found the end zone since week three.
If for whatever reason Nelson Agholor is still on your roster: what are you doing?
Tight End Zach Ertz
Current Rank Among Tight Ends: 5th
Zach Ertz was drafted as the third-ranked tight end in most fantasy drafts. His expectations were high coming into the season, especially since Ertz is only a year removed from breaking the single-season reception record for tight ends.
While Ertz has regressed statistically, he is still performing very well. The tight end position is very thin in fantasy football, which gives Ertz a value that many don’t have: opportunity.
Not only is Ertz a safe start because his floor is relatively high, but he is now the exclusive number-one option for Carson Wentz.
Ertz has posted 25 points and 18 points in his past two matchups, which is encouraging for owners to see; especially since we are entering the post-season territory.
The Birds have already endured the hardest stretch of their schedule. They still play the New York Giants (twice), the Washington Redskins, and the Miami Dolphins. These three teams have a combined record of 5-25.
Play Ertz for the rest of the season without hesitation.
Featured Image: numberfire.com Statistics via (unless noted otherwise): ProFootballReference.com