Nelson Agholor Fantasy 2015
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly has put together several highly productive offenses since entering the NFL in 2013, as his teams have finished in the top-four in the league in total points in both of his seasons as head coach. With that being said, there have been multiple successful fantasy stars in an Eagles uniform over the course of the last two seasons, including names like LeSean McCoy, Jeremy Maclin, and DeSean Jackson. All three of those players listed are now suiting up for other NFL teams, thus creating opportunities for some new faces to benefit from Kelly’s high-octane offense.
With the 20th pick in the first-round of the NFL draft, Philadelphia selected former USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor. In his three years at the University of Southern California Agholor brought in 179 receptions for 2571 yards and 20 touchdowns in 40 total appearances, including 27 starts. He finished the 2014 season at the No. 2 ranked receiver in the Pac-12 in total yards and tied for the No. 1 spot in receiving touchdowns, according to cfbstats.com.
Agholor is a very crisp route runner with outstanding short-area quickness, but he is often considered to be limited to a slot receiver in the NFL. At 6’0″, 198 pounds, Agholor already doesn’t match the ideal frame of an outside receiver, but it is his questionable top-speed that would make it difficult for him to be successful in a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver spot at this level.
“Right off the bat, his draft value has a ceiling because he’s a slot receiver,” said an NFC South Scout amidst the draft process according to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein. “At least that is how I see it. I don’t think he has the speed to get open outside. He’s a good value in the middle rounds, though, because of his return game potential.”
Now far removed from his days as a college wideout, Agholor is taking NFL training camp as an opportunity to continue to develop his technique and work towards improving each and every day he takes the field.
“I want to practice tomorrow with great focus and catch everything,” Agholor said via Martin Frank of The News Journal. “I want to practice with great effort and continue to progress out here. That’s what I’m worried about. I focus on getting better every day. My main focus is progress. When I continuously do that, in due time, I’ll be a good enough player on Sunday.”
While Agholor has yet to have the opportunity to prove he is talented enough to play on a Sunday during the regular season, he did translate his hard work into an excellent performance in the Eagles’ first preseason game Sunday, August 16.
Agholor caught three balls for 57 yards and a touchdown, his only score coming on an outstanding catch on a short hitch route that he took 34 yards to the end zone. Agholor flashed big-play potential and slid route-running ability, and though he had a dropped pass along the sideline he wishes he could have back, he still put together a successful debut into the NFL.
Fellow wide receiver Jordan Matthews commented highly of Agholor’s abilities shortly after the game.
“When you talk about running straight forward, my boy Nelson goes zero to one hundred,” Matthews said via Jeff McClane of philly.com. “He does it day in and day out. He is explosive in practice. That cat has speed. He runs on every single catch, so it’s no surprise when he takes a hitch to the house like that.”
Former Vanderbilt receiver Matthews is now entering his second-year in the NFL after being selected by the Eagles with the 10th pick of the second-round in the 2014 NFL draft. His rookie campaign turned out to be quite successful, as he accumulated 67 receptions for 872 yards and eight touchdowns as the Eagles’ No. 2 receiver.
Matthews should enter the 2015 season as the Eagle’s No. 1 receiving target, and in turn, take away from Agholor’s overall production, but he seems to be leading the competition for the starting role opposite of him.
Veteran wide receiver Riley Cooper watched his production have a strong decline in comparison to the 2013 season, as he had 55 receptions for 557 yards and a mere three touchdowns. The former University of Florida receiver also lacks the upside some of the other younger receivers have on the roster.
Former University of Oregon receiver Josh Huff has revealed his explosiveness and athletic ability early in the offseason, but the Eagles are much more invested in Agholor in comparison to the third-round pick from a year ago. Huff also had just eight receptions for 18 yards in 12 games in 2014.
Agholor will have to continue to have a successful Preseason if he wants to be the beneficiary of a high volume of targets come the regular season, but it doesn’t look like he will be slowing down anytime soon.
2015 Fantasy Breakdown
Although Agholor is more than capable of making plays on his own, a lot of his production will be credited to him being apart of the Eagles’ offense.
While Maclin is hoping to mirror his 1318-yard and 10 touchdown season in a Kansas City Chiefs uniform in 2015, the 143 targets he received in the previous season will have to be dispersed among the receivers atop the Eagles’ depth chart.
Also, the additions of former St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (if he remains healthy) and the NFL’s leading rusher from a year ago, DeMarco Murray, should make for an offense that repeatedly finds them in the red-zone.
Gridiron Experts has Agholor currently ranked as the No. 22 receiver on the board, as he is projected to have 74 receptions for 1010 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014.
Though I do believe Agholor will find a great deal of success in his rookie year, there are several receivers I would draft ahead of him that are projected lower on the list. For example, receivers like Julian Edelman, Emmanuel Sanders, and Golden Tate that are most likely going to receive a higher amount of targets than Agholor will in 2015, and all three of them have proven that they can be high-volume pass-catchers in the previous year.
Agholor’s surrounding cast at the receiver position isn’t talented enough to push him deep down the depth chart, which should allow him to see a quality amount of looks in 2015, but the wide receiver competition is close enough to where targets should be dispersed quite evenly.
Agholor will still put up quality fantasy numbers, but his current projection may be a bit high for my liking. I expect his production in 2015 to be a bit lower than what we currently have projected, for his numbers should sit closer to 55 receptions for 700 yards and five touchdowns. Check to see where we have Agholor in our rankings.