Earlier this week we broke down the Eagles running backs and quarterbacks in terms of fantasy value and production. Now we are going to evaluate the rest of the positions from a fantasy perspective.
Wide Receiver Preface: This year is unique in fantasy football for receivers. There are so many teams that are airing the ball out effectively that it has led to a very deep wide receiver pool. If you can grab an elite wide out then do it, but after that look to fill other needs because there will be plenty of productive receivers available in the later rounds.
Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson: D Jack is a new man now that his contract dispute is a thing of the past. He has been around all offseason with a smile on his face. Had a very strong training camp and has produced well in the preseason, often with Nick Foles. The only downside to DeSean is that he really relies on the big play for his production, which means at times he will be held in check. He does not present much of a threat in the redzone. The upside here is he will be drafted lower than he should because of how poorly he played last year. With a brand new $51 million dollar contract expect a resurgence from Mr. Jackson this year. He is currently listed as the 27th best fantasy wide receiver. If you get a chance take him in the 4th-6th round range depending on your league's rules.
Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin: Maclin is listed as the 22nd best fantasy wide out, but this rating is too high. Maclin did play well last year hauling in 63 receptions for 859 yards and 5 touchdowns, but DeSean Jackson will be playing a bigger part in the offense this season. Michael Vick was part of a fantasy football discussion panel and when asked about which receiver would have a better fantasy season Maclin or Jackson, Vick confidently answered Jackson. Maclin still has value due to his speed and the Eagles propensity to throw the ball deep. Look to draft Maclin in the 5th-7th round range.
Tight End Brent Celek: Celek comes in at number 14 on the TE fantasy rankings. Celek does not possess great speed, freakish athletic ability, great hands, or above average size. However, quarterback Mike Vick loves to throw to his tight end. The emergence of Clay Harbor this offseason could be troubling for Celek as his targets may be decreased. Celek can serve as a backup tight end, but he does not warrant anything besides a late round draft pick.
Defense/Special Teams Eagles: The Eagles D/ST is listed as the 5th best fantasy defense. Despite the Eagles struggles on defense, they still recorded 50 sacks last season. The defensive line looks even better this year. When you are able to pressure the passer, it leads to turnovers and defensive touchdowns. Even if the Eagles do struggle against the run, their pass rush and shut down corners should be able to generate turnovers. Also the addition of return men Brandon Boykin and Damaris Johnson will give the Eagles some real punch in the return game which is a good thing for fantasy players with this defense. Its hard to gage where a defense will be drafted, but wait for someone else to select a defense, maybe wait for one more defense to be picked then move on the Eagles D/ST. They will not disappoint and it would not be a shock if they end up being a top 3 fantasy performer for their position.
Kicker Alex Henery: Henery had a spectacular rookie season last year and is listed as the 7th best fantasy kicker. Kickers do not have much value in fantasy football, they all produce relatively similar. Wait till either the second to last or last round to take a kicker. Another strategy is to not take a kicker at all and take an additional WR or RB. Then wait until a day or two before the season and release a player to pickup a kicker. This way you can hold another player on your roster while preseason comes to a conclusion. Never can be too sure who is going to win a position battle, get hurt, or just start playing at a different level.
Prediction, Top Two Eagles Fantasy Performers: DeSean Jackson will bounce back and have a big 2012 fantasy campaign. LeSean McCoy will build off of his huge last year with another season that will have his fantasy owners feeling very smart.
Best of luck with your fantasy drafts and seasons.
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