Fantasy Stud — LeSean McCoy, RB
LeSean McCoy was a shell of the back that ran for over 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2011 last season, but certainly he’s the best fantasy option on the Eagles’ roster. Playing in just 12 games, McCoy mustered up just 840 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, but did also add 54 catches and three touchdowns receiving.
The addition of Chip Kelly as the Eagles’ new head coach is a big indicator to me that McCoy can breakout once again as a superstar with this kind of offense. It’s going to be tailored to speed and quickness, and McCoy has those two attributes in spades. This is one of the most electrifying backs in the league, and while I won’t go so far as some others have (Barry Sanders comparisons) I think McCoy has a chance to be a top five fantasy back yet again in 2013.
The offense will flow through McCoy, who is easily the most potent playmaker on the team. He can catch passes out of the backfield, he can make something out of nothing, and he can breakaway for a big run at any time. The big question with McCoy is durability. The only time he’s played a full season was back in his rookie year, where he wasn’t even the full-time starter.
I think this is one of the best fantasy backs and because of a down year last year, you might even be able to get him in the bottom half of round one this year. A bargain price, to be sure.
Fantasy Risk — DeSean Jackson, WR
Jackson got his. After his stats skyrocketed, Jackson wanted a new contract and basically wasted a season while whining about his financial situation. Once he got his money, his performance was underwhelming. In Chip Kelly’s offense, Jackson has a chance to be utilized like De’Anthony Thomas was at Oregon, as the team’s top OW (take that, Jacksonville). Of course, Jackson will be the #1 receiver with his contract and stature on the team, but he can be used in a variety of creative ways. There are few receivers who are as speedy and elusive with the ball in their hands than Jackson, and he can beat you deep with consistency.
Jackson is a risk because he is really a feast or famine fantasy player, historically. He hasn’t caught more than 60 passes in a season since 2009, and in fact has gone over 50 just once in the last three seasons.
I am a big fan of Jackson when he is at his best, but for fantasy, you should be able to get him later than most receivers because of his seemingly fluctuating stats year to year. Until proven otherwise, Jackson isn’t a great option for PPR leagues and has significantly fallen off the map over the last two seasons. After two straight 1,000 plus yard seasons in 2009-2010, Jackson has gone from 961 yards to 700 yards with six combined receiving touchdowns. Those are not good numbers from a guy who wanted to be paid like a #1 receiver.
Fantasy Sleeper — Michael Vick, QB
Okay, I know what everyone’s problem with Michael Vick is. Obviously the guy is an easy target for people, and many don’t care for him at all. Still, I have a soft spot for Vick who helped carry my fantasy team to the championship game in 2010, and who could help your team do the same this year.
I think Vick is a QB2 at this point, but people are really sleeping on him with an improved offensive line and Chip Kelly in as the Eagles’ head coach. I think Kelly’s presence upgrades nearly every aspect of the Eagles’ offense, including the much maligned signal caller.
Vick isn’t facing stiff competition this year unless you were that impressed by Nick Foles, and he offers the Eagles something their other QBs don’t–he can run like the wind. Before going to prison, Vick played in all 16 games for the Falcons back in 2006. Since then, he’s not played a season in which he played in all 16 games. In fact, since he’s been back to the NFL, the most Vick has played in has been 13 games in a season.
I don’t know that Vick will rush for nine touchdowns again this year, or only throw six interceptions, but the guy who looked like he was returning to MVP form could emerge yet again in 2013 with all the improvements the Eagles have made this offseason. I really like Vick as a QB2 sleeper option.
Rookie to Watch — Zach Ertz, TE
The Eagles’ highest drafted rookie skill player in 2013 was Zach Ertz, the big receiver out of Stanford. Ertz has a chance to be an elite red zone target someday, but if you’re looking for TE options in 2013, he’s probably not your guy. If you are a dynasty or keeper player, Ertz is a player to watch out for. In fact, the Eagles have a couple of dynasty options that are really intriguing, including Ertz and fellow Pac 12 alum Matt Barkley of USC, who is now the Eagles’ third-string QB.
Barkley is probably the most talented QB prospect the Eagles have had since Donovan McNabb, and they were able to get him in the fourth round.
There are some interesting names on the Eagles’ roster as rookies to watch, but no one who is expected to make a significant impact in fantasy this season.