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I know I struggle to make fantasy football decisions when it comes time to set my lineup. This way, you and I can struggle together. Each week, we’ll take a look at ESPN’s predictions for theEagles’ key playmakers, and decide who to sit and who to start.
START: Carson Wentz
ESPN Predictions: 59.8% COMP, 246.2 YDS, 1.2 TD, 1.0 INT, 3.6 RUSH, 18.8 YDS, 0.2 INT
Why mess with a good thing? The Bears’ defense is certainly better than the Browns’ unit, but not by a gigantic margin. Wentz was good for a solid 19 points in traditional ESPN leagues last week, and I see no reason why he can’t replicate those numbers against a Chicago defense whose least-talented area is its secondary.
It may have just been the product of one game without ample tape to gameplan against, but Wentz showed the makings of a valuable starting quarterback, in real football and in fantasy. He has the ability to place the ball accurately on deep touchdown throws, and he avoided turnovers in his first game as a pro. All signs point up!
SIT: Ryan Mathews
ESPN Predictions: 13.5 carries, 59.9 yards, 0.4 TD, 1.5 receptions, 11.6 yards
Mathews had a so-so game until his garbage time touchdown put him over the top. He racked up 13 points in traditional ESPN leagues, a good-but-not-great mark in a league replete with running backs like LeSean McCoy and Spencer Ware proving threats for 20 points each week. He’s a high-end RB2 option, but not this week.
The Bears’ front seven is the defense’s strength. Mathews struggled to find much running room from Doug Pederson’s shotgun runs last week against an inferior Cleveland defensive line, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. I would give him the week off.
SIT: Darren Sproles
ESPN Predictions: 4.2 carries, 18.7 yards, 0.1 TD, 3.4 receptions, 29.6 yards
I told you to sit Sproles last week, and he only managed three points in traditional ESPN leagues. I’m going to tell you to do the same thing. Sproles simply isn’t a consistent fantasy producer at this point in his career. He’s a desperation flex play, at the most.
Sproles ran the ball five times for 12 yards last week, and he caught a few passes, but if he’s not breaking one of those fleeting touches for a touchdown or returning a punt, his fantasy impact is virtually nil. He’s the definition of boom-or-bust at this point.
START: Jordan Matthews
ESPN Predictions: 5.3 receptions, 68.5 yards, 0.3 TD
Talk about not wanting to mess with a good thing. Matthews had an excellent first week, racking up 17 points in traditional ESPN leagues. (I had him on my bench, in a PPR league, and boy did it hurt.) With seven catches for 114 yards and a touchdown, against an admittedly weak Browns defense, Matthews proved he’s primed for a big year when the matchups are there.
Guess what? The matchup is there this week. Chicago’s corners are the decided weak link of the Bears’ defense. Carson Wentz looked for Matthews early and often in Week 1, and it paid off handsomely for both sides. Expect more of the same from the rookie quarterback and the third-year wideout. I’d say another 100 yards and another touchdown are realistic expectations.
START: Dorial Green-Beckham
ESPN Predictions: 1.8 receptions, 26.2 yards, 0.1 TD
All this talk about a vulnerable secondary has me feeling a little optimistic. After a fairly limited debut against Cleveland, Green-Beckham, who is still getting his feel for the Eagles’ offense, should see more opportunities in Week 2.
Last week he caught two passes for 14 yards, and was suspiciously absent when Carson Wentz threw a red-zone pass against single coverage. Green-Beckham should be on the receiving end of red zone throws 10 times out of 10, and against a weak secondary, he could have his first big game as an Eagle on Monday night.
SIT: Brent Celek
ESPN Predictions: 2.6 receptions, 34.3 yards, 0.2 TD
Celek had just one catch for 11 yards in the Eagles’ season opener against Cleveland, and it came on the first drive of the game. With an offensively-inclined Trey Burton replacing Zach Ertz in the lineup this week, Celek’s role will likely remain the same in Week 2, especially against a stronger front seven.
As he spends the majority of his time doing what he does best, which is blocking, don’t look for Celek to have more than a pair of catches on Monday. The only way he makes a fantasy impact is if he catches a red zone touchdown. Otherwise, leave him on the bench.