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-Vikings Week 7: What they're saying

Eagles-Vikings Week 7: What they're saying

Riding a two-game losing streak, the Eagles (3-2) return home Sunday for the first time in nearly a month and welcome a familiar face to the confines of Lincoln Financial Field. 

Sam Bradford and the Vikings (5-0) will come to Philadelphia fresh off a Week 6 bye and, most notably, as the league's lone unbeaten team. Minnesota boasts one of the league's top defenses, ranking first in points allowed (12.6 per game) and second in yards allowed (287.6 per game), and is looking to improve to 6-0 for the first time since 2009.

The last time these two franchises met was back in December 2013, when Matt Cassell and the Vikings put up 48 points in a win over Chip Kelly's Eagles.

To get a better handle on this year's Vikings, here's what they're saying about the Eagles' Week 7 opponent.

Brian Robison poses yet another challenge for Big V
Making his NFL debut in a start against the Redskins last week, Halapoulivaati Vaitai struggled mightily. Ryan Kerrigan beat Vaitai and got to Carson Wentz for 2½ sacks, all of which came in the first half.

It won't get any easier for the rookie right tackle this week either, as he'll likely be lined up against Brian Robison for most of the afternoon. Robison has four sacks and two forced fumbles on the season and, according to Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune, the versatile 10-year defensive end could be difference maker on the defensive side of the ball Sunday.

"Whether his hand is in the turf at left end or he’s standing over a guard or center as the defensive tackle, Robison could be dropping back to cover a tight end or running back," Krammer wrote. "At the line, he’s given responsibilities to call stunts or twists depending on their own play call. Sometimes he’s setting the pick to free another teammate. ... And on Sunday against the Eagles and their rookie right tackle, keep an eye on Robison when he lines up at his traditional spot of left end. All four of his sacks this season, including two strip-sacks, have come from there."

Makeshift offensive line remains a question mark
The Vikings may be undefeated, but by no means are they made up of perfect parts. As the midway point of the NFL season approaches, Minnesota's injury-battered offensive line is still a work in progress. 

Starting tackles Matt Kalil and Andre Smith are both sidelined with season-ending injuries. Starting guard Brandon Fusco suffered a concussion Week 5 against the Texans, but is expected to return against the Eagles. Center is the only position on the line the Vikings haven't had to replace because of an injury at some point this season.

But despite the constant changes up front, Minnesota has been stout overall in protecting the quarterback, allowing eight sacks and 27 quarterback hits across five games. According to Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press, the performance of that makeshift offensive line is going to be key in the Vikings' potential success down the road. 

"What’s best for Bradford and the Vikings’ standing as the NFC’s top dog is better pass protection," Murphy wrote. "He was sacked twice when Houston defenders turnstiled Clemmings and hit hard in the pocket other times. ... Offensive line intrigue never is a sexy storyline, but how well the Vikings manage the unit week to week figures to be an underlying factor to their continued success."

Strong away from home
The Vikings are a just a few years removed from going winless on the road, finishing 0-7-1 away from home in the 2013 season. Minnesota secured wins in only two of its first 10 away games under the tutelage of Mike Zimmer, but have since gone on a tear.

Minnesota has won seven of its last eight road games dating back to last season and, in their most recent game away from U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings took down the Panthers, 22-10, in Week 3. A testament of a true contender is having the ability to win consistently on the road, which holds true with the Vikings.

According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, the Vikings' vast improvement over the past two-plus seasons has contributed to them becoming a stronger team away from home.

"Facing a tough opposing crowd once was a tall order for the Vikings, but it’s much less of one now. After being one of the worse road teams in the NFL earlier this decade, they’re now one of the best," Tomasson wrote. "Overall, the Vikings have improved, having gone from 7-9 in 2014 to 11-5 last season to 5-0 this year. That’s the main reason the road record has gotten so much better. Still, players say the continuity the team has had has especially helped when entering rugged road environments."

While Vegas has the Vikings as light favorites on the road, national experts have them heavily favored straight up to hand the Eagles their third straight loss.

ESPN: All nine experts picked the Vikings

CBS Sports: Seven of eight experts picked the Vikings

FOX Sports: Three of five experts picked the Vikings 

Flyers Skate Update: Ivan Provorov has a new partner

Flyers Skate Update: Ivan Provorov has a new partner

Ivan Provorov has a new partner.

Provorov will be paired with Brandon Manning on Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, a changeup from the first four games of the season. Mark Streit drops to the third pair with Nick Schultz, a tandem that worked together most of last season.

"We're going to change them up," Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said after the team's morning skate. "We're going to look at a couple of different things. Some of the combinations are some familiar ones, such as Streiter-Schultz. They played a lot of minutes together last year. It's a move that we want to take a look at."

The Provorov-Manning pair is an interesting one. It should allow the 19-year-old to activate more in the offensive zone with Manning playing positionally sound. Manning has played with an extra edge thus far, showcasing a far more aggressive brand of hockey than he's shown previously with the orange and black.

With Streit, an offensive-minded blueliner, Provorov had to cover for his partner. Provorov also ran into some tough luck situations, too. Now with Manning, Provorov has the handcuffs off a little bit. Manning plays well positionally and while he has been more aggressive, he knows when to stay back, which will help Provorov.

It's another adjustment for the rookie. Through four games, he said, there haven't been any surprises in terms of his expectations for how the NHL game plays.

"I think what I expected is what I got," Provorov said. "It's the best league in the world, you expect all four lines to be great, you expect fast pace, physical game and that's what I got. I'm still learning, but I'm trying to do better as the games go on."

Provorov has one assist this season and enters Saturday as a minus-5, largely because of the Chicago game Tuesday. Hakstol praised Provorov's maturity level and ability to self-evaluate. What he hasn't done with Provorov is talk about numbers.

"There are some meaning in stats and we take the meaningful areas and apply those," Hakstol said. "But I haven't talked to any of the young guys about their statistics. We're four games in. I don't make too much of statistics right now. We're evaluating day-to-day play and looking at areas that we can use as strengths and areas individually we can improve."

Starting slow
If there has been one common theme through the first four games, it's the Flyers' poor starts. In first periods this season, they've been outscored, 6-1 (see game notes).

On Thursday night, the Flyers again came out of the gates slow. It was their first game back after a season-opening road trip out West, which Jakub Voracek said was a factor.

Voracek, who has four assists, said the burden falls on the individual player to focus on the small details and avoid committing mistakes.

"As a player, if you don't have that extra step, you just have to keep it simple," he said. "It's going to come around. The first 10 minutes, you have to make sure you don't make mistakes and I think that we were trying to do too much if we weren't feeling right. It showed last game against Anaheim. We were a half-a-step slower."

Four games isn't a large enough sample size for Hakstol to make a definite statement on the Flyers' first-period woes. The second-year coach said he'll have a better understanding where his team is at after the Carolina game.

"I think we'll answer that question after the start tonight," Hakstol said. "I think we'll get a fair evaluation of our starts after our start tonight, and if we have a problem, we'll know it after tonight. If we don't, we'll know that as well.

"Pretty clear, crystal clear, black and white in my mind. Tonight should tell else what type of team we are at the start of the hockey game."

Projected Flyers Lineup
F: Brayden Schenn-Claude Giroux-Wayne Simmonds

Travis Konecny-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek

Nick Cousins-Pierre-Edouard Bellemare-Matt Read

Chris VandeVelde-Boyd Gordon-Roman Lyubimov

D: Andrew MacDonald-Shayne Gostisbehere

Ivan Provorov-Brandon Manning

Nick Schultz-Mark Streit

G: Steve Mason