Evan Silva of Rotoworld recently release an updated version of his Top 100 Fantasy Football players for the 2014 season. Let's take a look at which Eagles players made the cut.
1. LeSean McCoy -- Chip Kelly's 2013 Eagles ranked fourth in the league in rushing attempts on a team that finished 13th in offensive plays per game. Kelly's offseason focus has been on increasing tempo, firing off more plays, and in turn more rushing volume. I essentially consider McCoy, Adrian Peterson, and Jamaal Charles interchangeable atop fantasy drafts, but lean in Shady's direction based on a combination of youth (26 years old), versatility, and overall offensive effectiveness. Among those three backs, I see McCoy as the best bet to avoid significant drop off.
No surprise here. How could you pass on Shady?
53. Jeremy Maclin -- Maclin has something of a boom-or-bust outlook as the Eagles' primary replacement for DeSean Jackson (fantasy WR10 in '14), albeit one who's coming off an ACL tear and has more competition for targets with second-rounder Jordan Matthews joining the equation, and second-year TE Zach Ertz ascending. The Eagles won't ask Maclin to do the heavylifting D-Jax did last year. That said, Maclin would only need to match about 75% of Jackson's 2013 stats to return rock-solid WR2 stats. Still only 26, Maclin is a compelling contract-year breakout pick.
Maclin ranks in as the Eagles second best fantasy option which is no surprise considering he should be the team's 'number one' wide receiver. Getting Maclin this low could be a bargain. Former Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson was always talented but he didn't have a career year until last season with Chip Kelly. Could Maclin benefit from the same kind of performance boost? (Speaking of Jackson, he ranked in seven spots below Maclin at 60.)
70. Nick Foles -- Foles' efficiency was otherworldly in his first season as a starter, and he didn't even win the Eagles' quarterback job out of camp. He led the NFL in touchdown rate (TDs/pass attempts, 8.5%), YPA (8.5), yards per completion (14.2), and QB rating (119.2). Foles compiled a 27:2 TD-to-INT ratio and was even sprinkled into Chip Kelly's run game, rushing for three scores and averaging 22 rushing yards per start. Those supplementary numbers add up. Now DeSean Jackson-less, can Foles maintain his efficiency for 16 games? If he does, he'll have no problem finishing as a top-five fantasy quarterback. He still plays in a run-based offense that last year ranked 27th in pass attempts. If his efficiency wanes, Foles will be a middling to low-end QB1.
I can see why some would be hesitant to draft Foles but I'm not sure if he makes it this long. He could be yet another good bargain player. Even if Foles regresses a little I don't think it'll be to the extent where he's worthless as a fantasy QB.
92. Zach Ertz -- 23 years old and coming off a promising 36-469-4 rookie campaign, Ertz was limited to 41% of Philadelphia's 2013 offensive snaps while superior blocker Brent Celek played 77%. The pendulum will likely swing toward Ertz this year. Ertz's ascent began in the second half of last season, as he posted a 25-290-5 receiving line across the final nine games, playoffs included, as opposed to 14-201-0 over the initial seven. Ertz's overall-slow rookie year was to be expected; rookie tight ends generally struggle. Good ones also generally take year-two leaps. There are still a lot of mouths to feed in Philly, but Ertz's opportunity arrow is pointing up with DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant's 202 combined targets removed from Chip Kelly's offense.
Ertz finished with a really impressive season for a rookie tight end. It makes sense to be excited about him in year two. The only caution is that Brent Celek is still a very good blocking tight end and will probably still play a lot of snaps in the Eagles run-heavy offense. I'm not sure he's a legit fantasy starter yet but the upside is big.
That's it for now. Silva's 100-200 rankings come out next week and there will be some lesser Eagles fantasy options to talk about (Riley Cooper, Darren Sproles, Jordan Matthews, etc.)