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DeSean Jackson Released: Fantasy Ripple Effect

DeSean Jackson

The Philadelphia Eagles have in fact released their long time deep threat wide receiver DeSean Jackson. For weeks Twitter had been buzzing about a possible trade between the Eagles and a number of teams, yet the chatter died down Wednesday after DeSean and head coach Chip Kelly spoke over the phone.

DeSean Jackson Released

DeSean Jackson ReleasedThe Philadelphia Eagles have in fact released their long time deep threat wide receiver DeSean Jackson. For weeks Twitter had been buzzing about a possible trade between the Eagles and a number of teams, yet the chatter died down Wednesday after DeSean and head coach Chip Kelly spoke over the phone. Kelly, who never came out and publicly said he wanted Jackson back, nor would he say if Jackson would be with the team at the start of training camp, likely used the same clever wording when talking to DeSean over the phone. The phone call may have also been a last grasp tactic to convince those teams interested in trading for Jackson to pony-up a bigger ransom, knowing the Eagles could have changed their minds. Their bluff was called, and the Eagles gave up on trade talks. The end result shocked the Eagles fan base Friday, cutting ties with a long-time fan favorite.

I’m not going to dive into the reasons why DeSean was handed his pink-slip. My guess is there is more to it than what’s on the surface. We’ll never really know why he had to go, but if you are curious I suggest you check out an article written by Eliot Shorr-Parks and A.J. Perez from NJ.com. Their piece dives into the possible link between DeSean and gang connections along with a look at why the Eagles may have wanted to part ways with the long-time Eagle receiver.

Fantasy Impact: DeSean Jackson

Jackson apparently has four to six teams interested in signing him. Odds are he’ll make a few visits before making a final decision, but if you ask me he’s going to sign with the New York Jets to play with Mike Vick. I understand the starting QB job hasn’t been handed to Vick and it’s still technically Geno Smith’s team, but Vick would never have signed with the Jets if the possibility of starting wasn’t there. With ex-Eagles Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg running the offense, good buddy Mike Vick already there, and free agent jackpot Eric Decker signing last month, what’s not to like? Jackson’s fantasy value in the big apple wouldn’t translate to anything he just accomplished in Chip Kelly’s aggressive fast paced attack, but it wouldn’t be too bad of a drop considering he knows the system so well.

I could be wrong though, maybe DeSean will sign with the highest bidder. If that’s the case I’m completely hands-off DeSean in fantasy for 2014. He has value in New York, there are real connections there that would allow Jackson to hit the ground running. A monster contract with a team like the Raiders or Patriots where DeSean isn’t exactly familiar with the offense will not translate into a player you’ll want to target in your fantasy draft. Think Mike Wallace 2.0.

Fantasy Impact: Jeremy Maclin

Eagles Jeremy MaclinThe Eagles are hoping Jeremy Maclin can not only bounce back to be the productive player that he was prior to his season ending knee injury from last summer, but can thrive in Chip Kelly’s offense. Despite being injured and unable to run routes, Maclin was present in all meetings learning the offensive system. I’m sure it was frustrating watching from the sidelines all season, and considering players like Riley Cooper and DeSean Jackson had so much success in this new offense, Maclin’s excitement level will be almost as high as the fantasy owners trying to figure out where they should draft him. The one thing that owners do need to keep in mind, is the fact that the Eagles are a run first team. They also love to spread the ball around and have a ton of targets, including two sure handed running backs who can make plays out of the backfield. Maclin could see games where he is lighting up the scoreboard, and weeks where he’ll be asked to be a strong blocker on the outside to help the NFL’s leading rushing attack churn out yards on the ground. With DeSean out of the picture Maclin’s value does increase, but you need to stay grounded as there are so many weapons in the Eagles offense.

Fantasy Impact: Riley Cooper

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I don’t see too much changing for Cooper now that DeSean has been released. Chip Kelly likes to move his wide receivers around in his fast paced offense, allowing everyone to get a sense of the offense at all angles. Cooper has carved out a solid role in the Eagles offense and has excellent rapport with new starting quarterback Nick Foles.

Fantasy Impact: Nick Foles

Rob Kuestner of csnphilly.com wrote a great article called 6 reasons why the Eagles should trade DeSean Jackson last Sunday. He had a few interesting points when it came to Nick Foles. Surprisingly, DeSean Jackson was seeing almost twice as many targets with Mike Vick at the helm. Catches and yards per game were also higher with Vick compared to Foles. This wasn’t so much a sense of favoritism as it was more about how Foles and Vick are such different types of Quarterbacks. For example:

[column size=”one-half”]Nick Foles Pros

  • He commands the offense.
  • He throws in rhythm and with timing.
  • He generally makes good decisions.
[/column] [column size=”one-half” last=”true”]Nick Foles Cons

  • He doesn’t extend plays with his feet.
  • He isn’t blessed with a Vick-like howitzer
  • He doesn’t ad-lib plays well.
[/column]

The ad-lib plays are where a guy like DeSean makes his money. A broken play where Vick can buy time with his feet allows for DeSean to break off routes and come back for the ball. His blazing speed doesn’t just work down the field, comeback routes were a huge aspect of DeSean’s route tree. With Nick Foles running the offense, passes come out quick and on time. Receivers need to win at the line of scrimmage or win the jump ball over defenders in the redzone. DeSean has been shut down from press coverage at the line and isn’t exactly known for boxing guys out. Chip Kelly likes his receivers big and fast, and needs them to have strong blocking skills; DeSean doesn’t fit the mold. While as much as I love Nick Foles, I do believe he is a strong product of the system and will thrive if all the pieces are in place. Meaning, I think his value goes unaffected by Jackson’s release, assuming the Eagles bring in a big rookie that fits the mold.

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