Eagles Fantasy Impact: Initial Impressions

Eagles Fantasy Impact: Initial Impressions

The Eagles have a slew of fantasy producers thanks to a high-speed, versatile attack, and a defense focused on what matters most in the majority of fantasy leagues—pass rush and picks. Here's a look at how the Eagles fared in the fantasy world, which in most cases was not entirely unlike how they did in reality.

Michael Vick: While it wasn't quite as productive as he often was in 2010, Vick put up very good fantasy numbers in scoring a pair of touchdowns and racking up 98 yards on the ground. Hopefully Vick owners didn't lose by four points or less, since Vick had 100 yards on the ground (good for a bonus in most leagues) before kneeling it out to end the game. Vick was pick-free in his 2011 debut, but also stayed under 200 yards passing and lost a fumble. In my league, Vick was tied for 8th in QB points with Joe Flacco and just two points separated him from the 15th most productive QB in the most pass-happy weekend of all time (13 QBs topped 300 yards). After the Rams offense sputtered out, Vick didn't find himself in a shootout as so many of his compatriots around the league did. Still, it's unlikely you're blaming Vick if you lost in Week 1. Former Eagle and current Vick text buddy Kevin Kolb had a better day throwing the ball (300+, 2 TD, 0 picks), but roughly equivalent fantasy production in his debut for the Cardinals (thanks to Vick's rushing yards). Hard not to be happy for the guy.

LeSean McCoy: Shady was among the top producers at the RB position this week, along with Ray Rice. Despite seeing only 17 touches (15 rushing, 2 receiving), McCoy showed that he doesn't need to be a high-volume guy to give you big production, scoring in both facets of the game, including a 49-yard TD run in a huge fourth quarter. Shady comfortably topped 100 yards rushing to nab the bonus, though his receiving was relatively pedestrian aside from the whole scoring-a-TD thing. I was somewhat surprised we didn't see more of Ronnie Brown late in the game, but for fantasy purposes, I'm not sure I want to be even discussing an Eagles backup RB. According to Sheil Kapadia's numbers in the great Man Up feature of his Moving the Chains blog, Dion Lewis had just one fewer snap played (4) than Brown, although fewer carries as well. According to FantasyGuru.com's weekly Targets column (subscription required), Brown did have two red zone carries though, one more than McCoy. That's a pretty small sample size to make any assessment on, so we won't.

DeSean Jackson: DJacc wasn't a target of mine in this year's draft because, especially in a Philly league, I assumed he'd be going a bit early for a guy who can be rather boom-or-bust in weekly head-to-head leagues. Good news for those who did take him as early as the late second round: He went fairly 'boom' in Week 1 despite not totally going off. Jackson hauled in six passes for 102 yards, including a beautiful touchdown. Jackson was targeted 12 times though, and had one huge drop, so the potential was there for an even bigger day. Only the week's four two-TD performers (Smith CAR, Welker, Britt, Megatron) had considerably better numbers than the next tier of WRs, which included Jackson and a handful of others.

Jeremy Maclin: While he may have some solid value this season, Maclin shouldn't have been in Week 1 lineups, and probably wasn't in many standard leagues. He had just one catch for 20 yards, despite getting a lot of playing time. The passing attack was somewhat quiet overall after the Eagles grabbed a big lead; Maclin's production should be higher in the weeks to come.

Steve Smith, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper: None of these guys are up for consideration in standard leagues at this time, though their combined presence on the field at various times should help Jackson and Maclin get loose more often, as well as open up some space for McCoy and Vick to takeoff. Of the three, Avant was the most productive, with three catches for 40 yards. He'll pull in some random TDs, but he's not an option I'd want to rely on in a fantasy season with so many home run threats. Smith was just getting his feet wet, and it's hard to tell at this point whether he'll have much value once up to speed barring injuries to either of the top guys. It's a longshot to think he'll emerge as a Vick favorite any time soon, and his previous production came as a high-volume guy for Eli Manning. Worth a stash if you have WR depth to burn and he didn't get drafted in your league though.

Brent Celek: One catch on three targets for 13 yards, helping a newly formed O-line protect Vick against Steve Spagnuolo's blitzing. In a league with ample startable tight ends even in 12-teamers, Celek is not currently one of them, as was the case last year. Kapadia had some great reviews of his blocking on some key plays, so this is no slight to #87, who has two jobs to do, and one of them doesn't help his own fantasy numbers as much as it does the guys listed above. I do think Brent will reward his diehards with some nice weeks and still could re-emerge as a goal line option as we saw once in the preseason. He's athletic enough to be a producer, but his role on the team isn't as fantasy friendly as many of the guys around the league right now. Perhaps that will change as we get further away from the offensive line's first week together.

Alex Henery: The rookie PK hit the only field goal he lined up for and was the kicker on a team that scored four touchdowns. I'd start him with confidence every week if I owned him, but he went in the second to last round of my league, which is a round earlier than I went K hunting. Your top fantasy producer of the week at this position? Mr. David Akers, who cranked four field goals and hit three PATs. Good on ya, Davey.

Eagles D/ST: Acquiring a pair of top corners may not actually add as much to the Eagles' pick totals as you might think, since no one will want to test the shutdown Nnamdi Asomugha or the ballhawk Asante Samuel too often, but their patrolling of the backfield should give the pass rush an extra second to get to the QB, which Jason Babin and company did on Sunday. The Eagles totaled five sacks, recovered a fumble, and took it to the house (there should be fantasy points for stiff-arming your own man, btw). Asante nearly had at least one pick, and was close on another. Next week poses a big test for this unit, but as we saw in Week 1, they may be in store for some Falcons turnovers too.

Waiver Watch: There aren't any Eagles I'd be targeting that can be found on most leagues' waivers after Week 1, especially in Philly, where we tend to overdraft our own. The team was a rather known fantasy quantity coming into, and despite the abundance of words, there are no surprises above. If you're interested in nicking some value off the wire, I'd recommend Razzball's column on this week's options.

We probably won't be doing this every week, more likely posting updates as trends emerge that are outside of what's expected. In Week 1, the Eagles went chalk in fantasy expectations.

Eagles mailbag: Jordan Matthews, injury concern, leading rusher

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Eagles mailbag: Jordan Matthews, injury concern, leading rusher

Another day, another mailbag. 

I hope you're enjoying your Memorial Day Weekend. If you're reading this on the beach or at a BBQ, well done. 

Yesterday, I answered the first round of your questions about Doug Pederson, Brandon Spikes and the possibility of adding another running back. 

Today, I'll answer some more: 

At times, Jordan Matthews will still be in the slot this season. But he won't be there all the time. 

In Doug Pederson's offense, the receivers will move around quite a bit, which means we'll see Matthews lining up out wide on both sides and in the slot. He has the ability to do both. Either way, he's going to be on the field. He's clearly the Eagles' best receiver and they're not going to take him off the field. 

I think there's a good chance we'll see some Josh Huff in the slot this year, which would make a ton of sense to me. Huff is at his best when he gets the ball in his hands and can make something happen. He's shifty enough to play in the middle. 

The idea that slot receivers are just small, shifty guys is outdated. It's all about matchups and Pederson won't be afraid to move his receivers around to find the best ones. 

Good question. I'll give you two names. One on offense and one on defense. 

Now, I didn't just pick the best players, I picked the best players with the biggest drop off to their backups. So on offense, it's Jason Peters and on defense it's Jordan Hicks. 

The scary thing: it wouldn't be shocking if either of these two go down in 2016. 

If Peters goes down, the Eagles will be fine at left tackle, because Lane Johnson will shift over. But that means either Dennis Kelly or Halapoulivaati Vaitai will come in. We all know what's happened in the past when Kelly comes in, and Vaitai is just a rookie. Not a ton of great depth at tackle. 

As for Hicks, we saw what happened to the defense when he went out last season. And this year, the team has virtually no depth at linebacker. If Hicks went down, either veteran special teams player Najee Goode or rookie Joe Walker would need to fill in. Yikes. 

I understand it's kind of a cop-out to just pick the top running back on the depth chart, but that's what I'm doing. I know Ryan Mathews has a lengthy injury history, but I can't see Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood or Kenjon Barner being the team's leading rusher. 

And when healthy, Mathews was the team's best running back in 2015, going for 539 yards on 106 carries, an average of 5.1 yards per attempt. If he manages to play 12 games this year, I think he'll be the team's leading rusher. 

Today's Lineup: Tommy Joseph, Andres Blanco in to help avoid sweep vs. Cubs

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Today's Lineup: Tommy Joseph, Andres Blanco in to help avoid sweep vs. Cubs

Seeking to avoid being swept for the first time since their opening series in Cincinnati, the Phillies on Sunday afternoon will ask Tommy Joseph to provide a much needed spark.

Joseph, 24, sat out Saturday's 4-1 loss to the MLB-best Cubs with Chicago trotting out right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks, who crafted a five-hit, one-run complete game masterpiece.

It will be Joseph's fifth game against a righty this week, as manager Pete Mackanin's platoon at first base with Ryan Howard seemingly is coming to an end. Joseph will bat fifth.

With the Phillies averaging 3.22 runs per game, second-worst in baseball, and owning a run differential of minus-38, playing Joseph more is one of a few moves Mackanin can make.

Take into account Howard's average dipped to .154 after an 0 for 4, two-strikeout game Saturday, the decision to give Joseph more at-bats makes sense. It has for a while now.

Plus, Joseph has enjoyed success during his time up with the Phillies. The first baseman is hitting .290 with two home runs and four RBIs. He is, however, hitting just .211 with seven of his 10 strikeouts in 19 at-bats against righties. He'll face a good one in John Lackey (4-2, 3.32) on Sunday.

Mackanin has also decided to start Andres Blanco at second base against Chicago, which has proved to be too much for the Phils through the first two games. Blanco, 32, will bat third against Lackey, who he has never faced in his career. The utility man is hitting .281 with one long ball and eight RBIs in 35 games this season.

In other lineup news, the Cubs will start Villanova product Matt Szczur in left field in the series finale, giving Jorge Soler the day off. During his junior baseball season at 'Nova in 2010, Szczur took time off to donate bone marrow that helped saved a young girl in Ukraine. (Read more on Szczur here from CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury.) Szczur is hitting .375 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 40 at-bats this season with Chicago.

Here are today's full lineups:

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Andres Blanco, 2B
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Tyler Goeddel, LF
8. Vince Velasquez, P
9. Peter Bourjos, RF

Cubs
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Jayson Heyward, RF
3. Kris Bryant, 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Ben Zobrist, 2B
6. Miguel Montero, C
7. Addison Russell, SS
8. Matt Szczur, LF
9. John Lackey, P

For more on today's game, read Steven Tyding's game notes.

Chase Utley owns the New York Mets, according to Wikipedia

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Chase Utley owns the New York Mets, according to Wikipedia

The New York Mets' majority owner, Fred Wilpon, has a reported net worth of $500 million.

But on Saturday night, the Mets were not owned by a suit who made their profits off real estate development.

No, the Mets were owned by former Phillies second baseman and current Los Angelers Dodger Chase Utley.

At least according to the Mets' Wikipedia page.

Utley, who has become one of the greatest villians in New York sports of recent memory, made his return to Citi Field this weekend after breaking Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada's leg with a hard, controversial slide into second base successfully breaking up a double play during the postseason. On Friday night, the 37-year-old delivered a three-run game-tying double in the ninth inning, athough the Dodgers fell to New York, 6-5, after Curtis Granderson hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.

But on Saturday night, Utley's legend grew even stronger in the Dodger's 9-1 win. Utley was thrown at — and missed — by Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, who was subsequently ejected from the ballgame, in the third inning. In his next at-bat during a scoreless game, Utley took New York reliever Logan Verrett deep to give L.A. a 1-0 lead.

It gets better. Coming to bat with the bases loaded and a 2-0 lead in the seventh, Utley entered the batter's box serenaded with boos from the Mets' faithful only to hit a grand slam. You can watch it all right here.

Owning the Mets is nothing new for Utley, however. The second baseman has 33 home runs, 113 RBIs and a .283 average in his career against New York. We love Utley in Philadelphia because he plays the game hard, was a key member of the Phillies' 2008 World Series team and he kills the Mets. Remember this one from 2007?

What will Utley do as an encore on Sunday Night Baseball? We will all be watching because some of us won't be able to catch Game of Thrones live because we work.

Remember, no spoilers. And plus, Utley owning the Mets is a better storyline than any TV show can give us.