The Eagles finished the 2019 first in the NFC East with a record of (9-7). During this campaign the team ranked 12th in points scored, which is surprising with all the injuries to the wide receiver group. Down the stretch last season this offense became more of a rhythm style offense, due to the injuries mentioned above. The Eagles last year had to tamp down Wentz’s aggressive mindset due to the injuries at the wide receiver position, and forced them to go out this off season and get players who can mesh with Wentz’s style, and that is speed at the position. This offense as whole will still feature a lot of 12 personnel, but we can expect a different looking attack given the pieces they brought in. Doug Peterson is a smart coach and no doubt saw his offense becoming static or a bit stagnate last season. With this we can see the offense getting more explosive and aggressive on the deep and intermediate throws in 2020.
Carson Wentz (QB) – This time last season we were a little worried on how Wentz was going to be after recovering from a fractured back. All in all he proved to be pretty good in 2019, with what he had as weapons. With Wentz we know what he is now in terms of a pro player. Wentz is that big imposing quarterback who makes great sight reaction plays. We also learned that Wentz is good a running a rhythm style offense when he is needed too. The thing with Wentz is he will always be the guy who is going to miss a few throws; it is just part of this style of quarterbacks play. The thing that was clear on tape is Wentz has a very aggressive mindset in the sense that he likes to attack the defense deep. This had to be tapered down last season due to the lack of quality pass catching receivers. The concern with Wentz we have had was is injury concern. Prior to last season Wentz missed extended time with a torn ACL in 2017 and in 2018 the already mentioned fractured back. Last season which kind of flew under the radar is the fact that Wentz didn’t appear on any injury report, which is promising in tempering these injury concerns. The team going out and drafting Jalen Hurts shouldn’t be a cause for concern either. Now typically when a team takes a quarterback within the first two rounds of the draft they are planning on this quarterback to be their future starter. This isn’t the case here as the Eagles wanted to solidify their back up behind Wentz, and feel over time Hurts will be that guy as early as 2021 if all goes well. With this in mind the Eagles were enamored with what the Ravens were able to do with Lamar Jackson last season, and being expansive thinkers will no doubt design some plays for Hurts to be utilized at times in a similar fashion to Jackson at some point. Now this may not happen in 2020, but it wouldn’t surprise us if by seasons end we don’t see some point in a game where Doug Peterson dials something up on the goal line for Hurts.
Fantasy Spin: Carson Wentz is no doubt a high level NFL quarterback who is aggressive and likes to take chances. Wentz no doubt will miss some throws which can be frustrating because they are easy throws, and then he throws some interceptions, but the risk of this play style usually brings reward. We feel the sky is the limit this season for Wentz as he enters year 5 with Peterson. This continuity is very important, and then you add in the speed acquired this off season everything appears to be aligning for a breakout season for Wentz. Wentz also likes to make plays with his legs when needed, which also helps compile points in fantasy. With an anticipated uptick in aggressive play calling in the passing game we see a lot of upside in Wentz for the 2020 campaign. Wentz comes in as a solid QB1 in redraft and dynasty formats. Wentz is ranked as our 7th quarterback in redraft and 7th in dynasty leagues.
Miles Sanders (RB) – the one guy on this offense who looks to benefit from the addition of the speed at receiver other than Wentz is Miles Sanders. Sanders will be the team’s number one running back and figures to factor into the passing attack quite a bit. This is good because as a running back Sanders will never see the volume that say a Zeke Elliott receives on a weekly basis. We have Sanders projected with 15-18 touches a game, so 13 carries and 3-5 catches would be what we can expect from Sanders in a given week. Last season as a non-starter/full time player Sanders saw around 60 targets in the passing game. We would not be surprised if that number grew to over 90 targets in 2020, with a full time role now his. The Eagles will look to detach Sanders at times in the formation and allow him to use his pass catching ability and elusiveness to make plays that will open up in the middle of the field due to the speed on the outside. The issue that we worried about most with Sanders entering the league from the college level was is his ball security. Sanders showed this was a non-issue last season as he rarely coughed the ball up. This shouldn’t be a surprise as Sanders has one of the best running backs in league history at his disposal as a coach in Duce Staley. The other concern we hear from fantasy owners entering 2020 is not so much about Sanders ability but with Doug Peterson and his trend of using multiple backs. The Eagles tried to sign Carlos Hyde but failed, as he went to Seattle. The team is looking for a back to one, spell Sanders during the game, and two, be that power back to grind out the rest of a game once they have taking control. This is the type of back they are looking for to compliment Sanders. Sanders is in no real danger of having his snaps limited in games that are very contested as well as any early down work.
Fantasy Spin: We look to this season as Sanders year to begin to fully and truly break out. Looking at his film coming out of Penn State he ranked as our second running back, only behind Josh Jacobs, and proved how good he can be in this league down the stretch last season. We have Sanders as a back end RB1 in both redraft and dynasty formats. Sanders ranks as our 8th running back in redraft and our 6th running back in dynasty. The ADP on Sanders as of now is second round, but we would not be surprised to see him jump into the first round by fantasy drafts later this summer, as he has elite ability.
Alshon Jeffery/Desean Jackson/Jalen Reagor (WR) – when looking at this group as a whole the Eagles appear in good shape entering 2020 at the position. The only concern we have is the guys they want to eventually play at the position are young and unproven outside of Jeffery and Jackson. The team would like to use JJ Arcega-Whiteside as the replacement for Alshon likely in 2021, as he is not a big speed guy, but should do well as that big bodied target. He needs time to develop more on the pro level and is likely why the team didn’t blink when resigning Jeffery this offseason. John Hightower had a high draft grade in the team’s eyes and is why they were quick to nab him in the 5th round this past draft. The only concern we have with Hightower is play speed, this could slow is development on the pro level. Then Reagor they figure will be able to line up all over the formation from day one to give Carson Wentz another dangerous weapon. According to one scout in the NFL when evaluating Reagor, “He is the most talented and gifted receiver I have ever seen for a guy his size. Jalen is a playmaker who once he has the ball in his hands is top three in elusiveness out of this stacked wide receiver class.” That is a lot of praise for this projected day one starter for the Eagles. The concern with Reagor is his drops, as he had 7 last season. Reagor is smaller than people think as he is less than 5’11”, so his hand size is small. In addition to these young guys the team went out and traded for Marquise Goodwin, who the team wanted as that veteran who has experience as a starter. With Jeffery not expected to be ready by week one Goodwin will likely get the start for him. Desean Jackson also figures to be slotted in as a day one starter for 2020, and proved in week one of last season he still is a valuable asset. However, that was his only valuable game as he missed essentially the entire season due to injury. This is the concern with Jackson at this stage of his career.
Fantasy Spin: The Eagles, if healthy from wide receiver 1-4, will be the fastest wide receiver corps in the NFL, up there with only Kansas City. We have the rookie Jalen Reagor projected as the receiver with the most passing targets out of this stable. Jackson would come in next, but he historically isn’t a big target guy, who demands volume. Jackson is the true speed guy, while Reagor will be the joker more diverse player who can be moved to get more looks a game. With this in mind we have Jeffery, Jackson, and Reagor all ranked as the 80th, 57th, and 37th receivers respectively in redraft. In Dynasty Reagor takes a big jump as our 20th ranked receiver in that format. Hightower who we mentioned a bit above figures to be a factor next season comes in as our 78th ranked receiver in dynasty.
Zach Ertz/Dallas Goedert (TE) – even with all the additions at the wide receiver position, the targets and passing game likely will still start and mainly funnel through the tight end position. In our projections for the team we have Zach Ertz leading the team in targets for 2020. This shouldn’t be that big of a surprise as Ertz saw his second most targets as a pro last season, probably out of necessity with all of the injuries. Ertz is starting to get up there in age which could open the door for Dallas Goedert. Dallas Goedert comes in as our third or fourth projected most targeted on this Eagles team in 2020. Speaking in terms of Goedert we can expect a more expanded role for the young tight end who flashed last season. Last season Goedert suffered a calf strain that hindered his ability throughout the early part of 2019, but as the season we could see just how talented of a guy he really is. Watching the film it is easy to see that Goedert is far better after the catch then Ertz and it really isn’t even close. Ertz excels in zone coverage and struggles more against man coverage.
Fantasy Spin: Looking at current ADP it is a bit surprising that Ertz is still being taken in the early 50’s as the third tight end off the board. With all the new weapons, Goedert emerging, and Sanders likely being used more in the passing game Ertz just isn’t a value. Ertz is ranked as our 4th tight end entering 2020 for redraft and dynasty, but we wouldn’t draft him at his current ADP. We would much rather take the value of Goedert much later in drafts, as we have him ranked as our 14th tight end in redraft and 10th in dynasty. The smart play would be to pair Goedert with a back end TE1 like Jared Cook and use that higher pick on a top wide receiver or decent running back with upside.
Defense – This unit ranked towards the middle last season in points allowed at 15th. The team went out and traded for Darius Slay from Detroit. The Eagles historically don’t travel their cornerbacks, but they will with Slay. This secondary will be considerably better with the addition of Slay, who will be joined by Nickell Roby-Coleman. With the addition of Slay Jalen Mills will be moved to safety, as he doesn’t move well enough to be an effective corner in the league. In terms of the front of this defense the Eagles have arguably the best tackle rotation in the league. With this rotation they should be able to generate a ton of pressure, and ultimately sacks this season. Jim Schwartz is a very good defensive coordinator who has been given inadequate pieces thus far in Philly. Now it appears he is being given the pieces he needs to build a solid unit, which we like to take another step forward this season.
Fantasy Spin: This defense figures to be a good streaming candidate as they rank as our 13th defense entering 2020. In terms of sacks this unit is a top ten fantasy unit in that department. In addition to this pressure we can be assured there will be turnovers forced, which makes them appealing.
Strength of Schedule
The Eagles wide receiver corps will face the 15th easiest schedule this fantasy regular season. Their playoff schedule will be the 7th easiest during weeks 14-16. Sanders will be looking at the 12th toughest schedule during the fantasy regular season. The back will then have the 4th toughest schedule during the fantasy playoffs. Wentz will face the 15th toughest schedule during the fantasy regular season, and the 15th toughest during weeks 14-16. Ertz and Goedert will face the 10th easiest fantasy regular season schedule and will face the 12th toughest playoff schedule from weeks 14-16.