NFL Soup|Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Vick and Philly’s Top Fantasy Weapons 

The Philadelphia Eagles haven’t exactly been pillars of winning football the past two seasons. However, as ugly as things got at times in Andy Reid’s final two years, his offenses were still pretty darn potent.

LeSean McCoy popped off 20 total touchdowns in 2011, while Michael Vick was still a fairly productive fantasy quarterback when healthy the past two years. There wasn’t a whole lot else in Philly that had fantasy owners salivating, but it wasn’t barren, either.

Entering 2013, however, things could change for the better. With creative offensive mind Chip Kelly now calling the shots in a new era, Philly’s offense is expected to be extremely run-heavy and very fast-paced. That could result in less thinking for Vick, and simply more play-making.

It all sounds good on paper, and if all goes according to plan, Vick and McCoy won’t be the only Eagles options worth owning in fantasy football. For a full breakdown of all the relevant players in Philly this year, read on:

Michael Vick (QB)

Vick’s value has regressed immensely the past two years, so much so that despite still being a starting quarterback, he’s only being looked at as a QB2 in fantasy football. His injury history and his recent barrage of turnovers are the reasons why, but there’s still hope for Vick. He seems more comfortable than he’s really ever been in his career, and it’s plausible that Chip Kelly’s system is perfect for him. If Vick can simply stay on the field, he could surprise a lot of people and hold top-15 value in 2013.

Nick Foles (QB)

Foles isn’t an elite talent, but he’s accurate, has a decent arm and has good pocket poise. He’ll need Vick to go down to have any kind of value, but as we’ve seen numerous times before, that can definitely happen.

LeSean McCoy (RB)

Shady is just two years removed from an epic 20-touchdown season. While he’s unlikely to ever score that much again in a season, he’s still an elite talent who has been very productive in the past. As versatile as he is, it’s hard imagining him as anything other than a top-10 back in Philly’s run-heavy scheme.

Bryce Brown (RB)

Brown will be going later in drafts and is a good handcuff for McCoy, but he actually should have solid value on his own, as the Eagles expect to run the ball a lot. He has fumbling issues and doesn’t always follow his blocks, but there could be Flex value here if he gets enough carries from week to week.

DeSean Jackson (WR)

D-Jax hasn’t really been himself the past couple of years thanks to contract issues, injuries and being a bit of a weaky, but it looked like he was semi-back to himself in 2012. In a new offense that looks to feature his big-play ability in the passing game, he actually has a ton of upside. There is risk here, too, so you’re probably best served landing him as a WR3 or Flex play, although he absolutely carries WR2 upside.

Riley Cooper (WR)

Cooper and the Eagles have moved past his racial slur, and it looks like he’s locked into the #2 receiver gig in Philly, thanks to the season-ending knee injury to Jeremy Maclin. Regardless of how he got here, Cooper has good size, underrated speed and has shown flashes of being able to make great plays on the ball. He’ll mostly be asked to utilize his elite run-blocking skills in his role, but he still has WR3 potential.

Jason Avant (WR)

Avant is the veteran slot master who will only see the field in three-wide sets. That limits his value a bit, but thanks to 50+ receptions in 2012, he’s not a bad PPR option in a pinch. He’s probably not worth drafting in most leagues, though.

Damaris Johnson (WR)

Johnson is tiny and won’t be overly physical, so his role is unclear. He won’t be utilized as a run-blocker, but anytime the Eagles can get the ball in his hands, they’ll be better for it. His explosiveness should get him rotating a bit with Avant, and could get him on the field randomly in two-wide sets at times, too. He has more upside than Avant, but still isn’t really worth a look in the average league.

Brent Celek (TE)

Celek is probably still the Philly tight end to own, as he was still somewhat serviceable in 2012. However, his hands have been shaky and he might be regressing a bit, athletically. With two more able bodies at the position, he’s shaping up as more of an unreliable TE2.

James Casey (TE)

Casey’s athleticism and versatility were never properly utilized in Houston, and it’s doubtful that will change in Philly. With that said, he could push Celek for snaps at tight end and he also could play a little fullback. The talent is there, but without a clear role, you can’t draft him.

Zach Ertz (TE)

Ertz is without a doubt the most talented Eagles tight end, but he’s a rookie and it looks like he’s third in line. I’m sure Philly will get him on the field enough to get 20+ catches in his first season, but banking on much more than that isn’t realistic. He’s a fine dynasty add, but not much more at the moment.

Alex Henery (K)

Henery has just one 50+ yard field goal to his name through two seasons, but he’s been insanely accurate (over 87%) and the Eagles’ offense is bound to assist him in scoring all year long. He’s not the ideal #1 this year, but he’s a solid add in the final round of drafts.

Philadelphia Eagles (DEF/ST)

The Eagles did right to let go of some aging veterans, and they probably made the right move to just start over altogether and switch to a 3-4 scheme. After all, their secondary still isn’t good enough to stop anyone, so they might as well roll with a defense that will theoretically put more pressure on the quarterback. They added a solid OLB in Connor Barwin, but otherwise could be in major trouble without the right pieces in place on defense. As bad as they were at times the last two years, there’s a reasonable chance they’re even worse this year. You can’t use them as your fantasy defense at any point in 2013.

About the author: Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts owns and operates NFL Soup and heads the fantasy football division of the site. In 2012, Roberts finished 16th overall in Fantasy Pros expert fantasy football rankings. In addition to running the fantasy football section of the site, Roberts contributes to NFL Soup’s NFL Draft coverage and breaking news reporting. Follow Kevin on Twitter @NFLSoupKevin

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