Welcome, dear reader, to the first (and decidedly poorly timed) installment of F Lot Fantasy!
The concept is pretty straightforward: I’ll hit you with some juicy anecdotes that’ll make you laugh and cry, then I’ll spew my takes on the fantasy value of Eagles players you may be thinking of starting. I’ll go by position to keep things organized, and largely limit the focus to active players who are at least worth consideration in a 14-man league.
If you’re like me reading Matthew Berry’s Love/Hate, go ahead and scroll on down past my short stories. But for those of you considerate enough to lend your ear, please enjoy these ramblings.
I just moved to Boston, which feels like the Philly Sports equivalent of Jesus trudging through the desert for 40 days — it sucks. If you thought that one fair-weather fan at work who “likes” the Yankees and just traded in their Warriors jersey for a Kawhi Clippers fit is annoying, imagine 500,000 insufferable accents that bleed Dunkin’ and chowder defending the most notorious cheaters in the NFL. Every. Day. It’s been a week and not one person has found an issue with that video of Brady kissing his son. If you heed any advice this week, let it be this: stay in Philly, kids.
This first column is dedicated to our beloved Philadelphia Sports Nation comrades living outside the city. Those fans that mark their calendars for the away games in their town, the ones that scour Seattle for a Philly sports bar, the ones with an annual hajj to the Linc to compensate for the distance. Y’all are real ones.
The trickiest thing about being behind enemy lines is knowing what to say when you’re in a war of words at the away team’s bar. I’ve had to stave off how many rings? more times than Wentz threw against the Giants. Those of you who watch on Sunday from afar know the kind of conversations I’m referring to, the Wentz is overrated talks and relentless 2017 was a one-hit-wonder, you guys suck. I want to take a second and outline how to respond, but it all comes down to the kind of person you’re up against.
The worst kind of fan. They’ll pull the Super Bowl rings card like an ace in the hole constantly. They’re probably the one you’d be quickest to throw hands against, but peace is an option: go personal. You’ll never get anywhere attacking their team because let’s face it, we only have one title. And if that’s all someone cares about, just engage elsewhere. Hit them in their insecurities. Keep looks out of politics? Hell no. You might have to get creative, but figure out the thing they like least about themselves and just twist the knife. “Are those rings helping you find a job?” “Wow dude, all those rings and you still look like that.” “One ring for each family member you don’t talk to anymore. Cool!” Oh, but if they’re Pats fans, just put that kiss video on loop. Let Brady’s mouth do the work, not yours.
The Pest, pt. 1
The first kind of pest is that person that just wants to get under your skin. Maybe it’s a Jets fan who’s given up and just starts running their mouth out of spite, or someone whose team is down 3 scores with 4 minutes left who wants to bring you down to make themselves feel better. Honestly, sometimes they don’t even have a team, but they hate Philly because we get a bad rep (more on this next week). The trick here is to just turn it on them. My favorite tactic is mocking the team they’re playing. One of my best friends is a Steelers fan, and last year when they tied the Browns she became a Pest, pt. 1. All I had to do was climb on a soapbox making a laughing stock of Cleveland but end on “and you’re STILL losing to them? Wow.” Embarrass the third party, then remind the Pest that they lost to that very same third party.
The Pest, pt. 2
The second kind of pest isn’t hopeless, which is intimidating at first. Giants fans with 8 minutes left in the Miracles in the New Meadowlands are a great example: good team, equally competitive, not a Super Bowl powerhouse but similarly tiered with the Eagles. The lazy option is the same as the frontrunner. Instead, get tricky with it. If you follow enough football news, you’ll know each team’s weakness. Sticking with the Giants, talk about how Eli is basically the third Manning brother, or make a Dodge joke about that line drive punt to DJax. The past is your friend; pull up receipts from times the Eagles embarrassed the opposition and run with it. Rams fans are great because you can just compare recent Super Bowls or talk about how Sean McVay is overrated (side note: that man is SO overrated. He’s literally just a coward with a good running back. Also, that’s the kind of stuff you can say).
The One and Done
These folks are going to say 2017 was a one-hit-wonder, or that we should have stuck with Foles. First of all, tell them how stupid they sound. Wentz is literally a top 8 QB by nearly every metric. Foles was benched for Gardner Minshew. So help me god. As far as the one-hit-wonder is concerned, they’re probably not The Frontrunner, so you’re not talking to a Patriots fan. That means their last Super Bowl was, at best, four years ago. And if they’re not the Seahawks or Broncos, way longer.
Remind them their team i bad. Even if their team is, like, the Chiefs or Saints or some other really good team that went farther last year, remind them of this: 31 teams won the same amount of championships last year. The 73-9 Warriors achieved less than the 72-10 Bulls. I don’t care how good your team is, titles are everything.
These sleezebags are going to attack Philly itself. They’ll say we’re rude, we fight a lot, we’re the meanest fanbase in the league. Keep it simple: lean in. Hell yea we are, and if you keep running your mouth you’ll be Apollo in Rocky II. The Eagles have sold out the Linc for more consecutive seasons than any team in the NFL. Chris Long donated his entire salary to local public schools, what has your defensive end done? You can even go outside of the birds and bring up Tobias Harris donating $1 million to charity. We’re the best worst fans in the league rooting for the greatest organizations in sports. Let them know it. Then punch them in the dick.
Now let’s win some fantasy leagues, kiddos.
Wentz has thrown at least 40 times per game since the bye week. In the last 4 weeks, his completion percentage has been at least 60%. Sure, the games are brutal to watch and he looks flatter in the pocket than Kyrie Irving’s pictures of Earth from space, but I don’t get paid to analyze real football. Frankly, I don’t get paid to do this at all, but for all intents and purposes, I’m just here for fantasy. Throwing a metric ton + completing most of those passes + the best running back having 2 rushing TDs = fantasy points.
This game is either going to be us playing from behind or keeping it tight the whole 60 minutes, but either way, Wentz is a starter. Assuming you’re in your league’s playoffs, the duck-killer is your guy. Run with it.
Sanders: This kid is the real deal. He’s the Matisse Thybulle of the Eagles. Especially with so many weapons out of commission, he’s a very strong flex play at the very least. As long as Howard’s chilling at CHOP, Doug’s going to feed the best Penn State RB product in the NFC East. Hell, if you’re in a 12-man league he’s basically an RB2. When’s the last time an Eagles back was fantasy-relevant? Shady? Sheesh.
Scott: Fun fact, Boston is actually named after this guy. Seriously. I love this guy, but he’s probably not worth starting. The only way he puts up serious numbers is if he becomes the goalline guy or Sanders goes down with an injury. Knowing this team, I totally get it if you roll the dice on the latter. Check-in next week for my chang.org petition to investigate the Eagles’ medical staff for embezzlement (I don’t actually know what embezzlement means but it sounds corrupt and self-serving, which is how I imagine the medical staff to be).
Ward: I almost left the receiver section blank because, like, who are these people? Greg Ward and I were equally involved in the NFL a few weeks ago. Now I’m sitting on a couch chugging Stouffer’s Mac and Cheese and rewatching Star Wars in preparation for the new one tonight and he’s winning games for the Eagles. Two equally wonderful Cinderella stories. Fantasy-wise, what are you doing? If you’re invested enough in fantasy to still be reading this crap in Week 16, you’re probably in the championship. If you’re in the ‘ship, you probably don’t have Greg Ward, Jr. on your team. Steer clear.
Arcega-Whiteside: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.
Ertz: Dallas is going to be all over him, but with good reason. The Pro Bowler is easily our best receiver, so Wentz will look to him often and early. Plug the second most successful member of the Ertz family in your lineup with confidence.
Goedert: Ok, here’s where it gets interesting. Goedert’s YPC has been double digits all but one week since the bye, and he’s been targeted a ton. This is probably just out of necessity what with our receiver corps being sponsored by Weenie Hut General, but either way, he’s an intriguing option.
Dallas’ last two games against Dallas include two touchdowns if you don’t count the criminally horrendous call back of the 75-yarder. If you’re streaming a tight end, he’s got a high ceiling.
Oof. Our defense has scored about half its points in two games (NYJ, SEA). Last time we played Dallas, goose egg. Against Miami, the Giants, and the Skins, 14 total. Please for the love of god look elsewhere. I get it, it’s Dallas week, but we’re not healthy or well-coached enough to stop them.
The best Elliott on the field Sunday is probably not worth starting this week, or any week. The Eagles just haven’t been scoring enough to pull the trigger on Jake. He’s 21st among kickers, so it’s not like you can’t find a better option.
Now more than ever, f** Dallas.