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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 the Eagles’ key playmakers, and decide who to sit and who to start.
START: Carson Wentz
ESPN Predictions: 61.8% COMP, 262.2 yards, 1.4 TD, 1.2 INT, 2.8 rush, 10.7 yards
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?
Wentz’s second game wasn’t as gaudy as his first, of course, but he still didn’t throw any interceptions, and he threw a touchdown, and he looked excellent. That last point is the most important. It meant Week 1 wasn’t just a mirage against a JUCO team.
This week, against a team that scores plenty of points, Wentz will have to score plenty of points to match, and I have a feeling that means Wentz throws at least two touchdowns and 250 yards. He’ll also throw his first touchdown. But it’ll balance out.
SIT: Ryan Mathews
ESPN Predictions: 10.7 rush, 45.2 yards, 0.3 TD, 1.1 receptions, 8.0 yards
The Bengals managed 18 carries for 46 yards against the Steelers in Week 2. This isn’t the Steel Curtain of the Dick LeBeau era, but it’s still a very solid unit. With Mathews not feeling 100 percent all week long, I’d take a guess and put his health a littler lower than optimal heading into this weekend’s game.
Still, Mathews’ fantasy value, like many running backs, is so contingent on scoring touchdowns. He’s not much of a PPR threat considering he’s not big on catching passes out of the backfield, and while his stats in Week 1 were serviceable for the actual Eagles, they weren’t anything great for fantasy owners, last-minute touchdown aside.
I’d say sit Mathews this week, unless you’re thin at running back and have a desperate need for a RB2.
SIT: Darren Sproles
ESPN Predictions: 6.2 rushes, 26.4 yards, 0.2 TD, 3.5 receptions, 30 yards
Seriously, just sit Sproles every week. I don’t need to go very deep into this. Unless he’s returning punts or catching 80-yard screen passes, his fantasy value is nil.
START: Jordan Matthews
ESPN Predictions: 6.1 receptions, 76.8 yards, 0.4 TD
You just can’t keep the man down. Seven catches in his first game, six catches in his second game. Last week was a decided step back, but the Eagles’ passing game writ large was less effective against the Bears than it was against the Browns.
I have a strong feeling Carson Wentz and the Birds are going to be playing from behind on Sunday instead of playing from ahead, like they were for the entire second half against Chicago. There will be more throws as Wentz tries to keep the Eagles in the game, and his favorite target is still Matthews by a wide margin. Chalk him up for another touchdown.
SIT: Dorial Green-Beckham
ESPN Predictions: 1.9 receptions, 27.5 yards, 0.2 TD
Unless you’re tremendously desperate at the FLEX, this is a pretty easy one. Green-Beckham hasn’t seen much action at all in Doug Pederson’s offense through the first two weeks; it seems he simply doesn’t know enough of the playbook to get consistent time on the field.
It may come this week, but it’s far more likely to come after the bye week, when Beckham has two weeks to study the playbook and prep for a game. I’d bet Pederson unleashes his 6-foot-5 secret weapon against the Lions early on the first drive.
For now, unless the Eagles get a snap in the red zone from the two yard line and have no confidence in their run game by then, Green-Beckham’s fantasy value is severely limited, especially in PPR leagues.
START: Trey Burton
ESPN Predictions: 3.6 receptions, 40.2 yards, 0.3 TD
Last week, Trey Burton more than doubled his career receptions in one game. He simply doesn’t drop passes when they’re even remotely catchable. I’ve been vocally on the Burton wagon for quite some time now, and his performance against the Bears validated everything I’d been saying.
The Eagles’ offense isn’t exactly loaded with studs, but it’s got enough moving pieces at the receiver positions in Nelson Agholor and Jordan Matthews, and enough backfield threats in Ryan Mathews and the crafty Darren Sproles, that I’ll bet the Steelers will be happy to surrender five more catches to Burton on Sunday.
He still isn’t a heavyweight like Zach Ertz, and the Steelers will play him like so, meaning he could see serious value in PPR leagues when Carson Wentz needs a check-down or a pair of sure hands on a third down.