Alshon Jeffery Fantasy
Last season, it was painfully obvious that the Philadelphia Eagles did not have enough surrounding talent to help out their franchise quarterback Carson Wentz. The 2nd overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft started every game but only threw 16 touchdown passes in his first season. All things considered, Wentz did show flashes of potential as the starter after the Eagles traded QB Sam Bradford to the Vikings a week before the start of the season.
I have mentioned in the past I like to look at betting odds to keep me grounded towards what Vegas thinks about a teams chances for the upcoming season. 2017 NFL betting offers hints to projected team win totals, and this year the oddsmakers suggest the Eagles won’t win more games than they did in 2016, nor will they challenge for the division. However, after a very under the radar off-season, the NFC East seems very much up for grabs as the Eagles did address a few of their offensive needs by giving their young talented gunslinger more than enough to throw too.
From New Additions to Unexpected Surprises
Adding two new wide receivers gives the Eagles passing game a significant boost, but also made life easier for one of their own. Originally it was believed that Jeffery and Smith would both start on the outside while solidifying contract year Jordan Matthews into the slot wide receiver role, a position that Matthews has excelled at early in his career. Matthews, who stands tall at 6 foot 3, isn’t your prototypical slot wide receiver but has proven he is better suited at finding holes in zone coverages and is a severe mismatch for defenders due to his size.
However, that was before the emergence of “bust” wide receiver Nelson Agholor who is having an eye-opening offseason. The Eagles have been blown away by his work ethic and he has been the talk of training camp thus far.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah believes WR Nelson Agholor is going to play in the slot and he will be “shocked” if he doesn’t. Jeremiah is a former Eagles scout who went on to say Agholor “has had a total rebirth” this offseason. This lines up with previous reports which also spoke highly of Agholor’s training camp performance (- Rotoworld)
As it seems, with Agholar having an excellent bounce back camp, the team has a more receiving talent than expected, but wait, there’s more. The Eagles 4th round selection (118th overall), Mack Hollins from North Carolina has been somewhat of a gem for the Eagles and will be a nice complement depth player in 2017. Hollins ran the fastest 40-yard time for a receiver his size at the scouting combine, 4.53 seconds. He’s a stretch-the-field threat who averaged 20.6 yards per catch with the Tar Heels. One scout has gone on record in saying that Mack Hollins will push for playing time this season.
Eagles Fantasy 2017
Without even mentioning the teams above average depth at the Tight End position, it’s clear the 2017 Eagles receiving corps have gotten an upgrade that should take the pressure off the youngsters and allow more players to connect with Wentz. I wouldn’t go as far as saying the team is strong at the WR position, but I do believe the Eagles have enough hands to go around. This leads me to believe that might just be the strategy for Eagles passing game also. While Alshon Jeffery is betting on himself with a one year contract, the six-year veteran hasn’t played a full 16 game season since 2014. Eagles coach Doug Pederson has recently said Jordan Matthews will not have a reduced role this season which makes you wonder, exactly who is going to be starting for the team and which players will get the most snaps? If there is a heavy rotation between the veteran players (Jeffery and Smith) and the younger players (Matthews and Agholor) the Eagles could benefit as a team as they keep personal in ideal situations. Such a rotation would also help keep everyone relatively fresh. Sounds great from a football perspective but a nightmare in terms of fantasy production.
Currently, Alshon Jeffery’s average draft position has taken a massive hit. For a number one wide receiver, his ADP is currently in the middle of the 4th round in PPR drafts. If the team rotates or installs a pass-happy formation of mutable wide receiver sets, Jeffery’s WR1 slot will be nothing more than just a title. Until we see how the team plans to use its cluster of subpar receivers, I’d recommend avoiding the whole situation altogether.