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Philadelphia Eagles Fantasy Football Preview

Updated: Aug 23, 2022

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👆 if you set fantasy football lineups (or make player prop bets), then you need to see this 👆

Nick Sirianni's debut as an NFL Head Coach was a relatively promising one, finishing 9-8 and clinching a wildcard spot where they fell to the defending champion Buccaneers in Tampa. Statistically, Philly was a slightly above average ball club, finishing 12th in scoring (26.1 points per game), 14th in yards (359.9 yards per game), 14th in plays executed (63.2 per game), 13th in yards-per-play (5.7), and 14th in 1st downs (20.7 per game). They also did not turn the ball over, as their 16 total was the 5th fewest in football.

Philosophically, the Eagles' ground vs air splits are quite literally on opposite ends of the spectrum. They were elite on the ground and among the worst in football through the air.

On the ground, Philly was THE best unit in football, finishing:

  • 2nd in rushing attempts (32.4 per game)

  • 1st in rushing yards (159.7 per game)

  • 4th in yards per rushing attempt (4.9)

  • 1st in rushing TDs (25)

  • 1st in rushing first downs (9.6 per game)

It was a far less pretty picture through the air:

  • Dead last in passing attempts (29.1 per game)

  • 25th in passing yards (200.2 per game)

  • 28th in passing TDs (20)

  • 29th in passing first downs (167)

  • On the bright side, their 10 interceptions were the 6th fewest in the sport

Of course, all of this makes a ton of sense when you realize their QB was rushing threat Jalen Hurts in his first year as a starter and their wide receivers were rookie DeVonta Smith, incumbent disappointment Jalen Reagor and "just a guy" Quez Watkins (meanwhile they had Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott and Jordan Howard at RB). Being run heavy with that unit makes all the sense in the world.

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Philly made headlines on draft night but not for the reason that it sounds like; instead of using their 18th overall pick on an incoming rookie, they bundled it with 101 and sent it to Tennessee in exchange for AJ Brown, who they promptly greeted with a four-year, $100 million contract that includes $57 million guaranteed.

That's a good start to boosting numbers in the passing game.

Ultimately, we should definitely still expect a run-heavy approach from the Eagles in 2022. But they *should* be more balanced than last year when they essentially led the league in rushing but caboosed the league in passing.

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Jalen Hurts 📈

2021 fantasy points per game: 20.8 (QB 7)

Like the rest of the Eagles, Jalen Hurts was dynamite on the ground and...less dynamite...through the air. He finished 1st among QBs in rushing attempts (140), 1st in rushing yards (782) and 1st in rushing TDs (10).

That alone, by the way, would have made him the RB 34 last year even up against RBs who scored receiving points.

He was predictably less exciting with his arm, finishing 20th in passing attempts (432), 20th in passing yards (3144) and 23rd in TDs (16).

Still, like it or not, it's not like Hurts' rushing prowess was some anomaly that won't come close to repeating itself; his legs are the biggest part of his fantasy appeal.

His floor was among the best in football last season, scoring 20 or more fantasy points in 60% of his games. For comparison, that's a higher rate than Justin Herbert (50%), Tom Brady (56.25), Joe Burrow (43.75) and Matthew Stafford (50%).

The ceiling was "fine," hitting 25 fantasy points 27% of the time and even crossing 30 once in 15 tries. Just 12 QBs total were able to do that last year.

Honestly the biggest concern for Hurts—and we shouldn't even say that like it's a legitimate threat—is the idea that he's so bad as a passer that the Eagles eventually turn to Gardner Minshew.

Again, very unlikely, but that's the only foreseeable downside to Jalen Hurts in fantasy football.

Expect another rush-heavy season from Hurts and the Eagles with the added boost of AJ Brown to the artillery for Hurts.

Fantasy Drafts 👍: I have Hurts in Tier 1C of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Dak Prescott and Tom Brady.

Hurts is drafted as the QB 7 around pick 67 (mid 6th round). Drafted within 6 picks of Hurts in either direction are Joe Burrow, Dalton Schultz, Amari Cooper, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Courtland Sutton, AJ Dillon, Jerry Jeudy, Marquise Brown, TJ Hockenson, Damien Harris, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Allen Robinson, Adam Thielen, Miles Sanders and Darnell Mooney.

Personally, I'm usually still targeting WRs (Cooper, Sutton, Jeudy, Thielen, Robinson) or RBs (Dillon, Sanders) here and perhaps getting Prescott or even Russell Wilson, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers later.

Dynasty Leagues: Not much to see here; he's a hold.

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Miles Sanders ↔️

2021 PPR points per game: 9.8 (RB 41)

The Eagles were an elite run team in 2021 and Miles Sanders was their lead back. So naturally, Sanders must have been an elite fantasy back right?

Not even close.

2021 was the first year that Miles Sanders and Nick Sirianni worked together. It was also Sanders' worst season—by far—in his three year career.

Sanders finished 36th among RBs in touches (163), 28th in scrimmage yards (912) and somehow miraculously failed to score a single touchdown all season. He was 42nd in targets (34), 44th in catches (26), and 50th in receiving yards (158).

He appeared in 12 fantasy football games and landed under 10 PPR points in 66.7% of them. He managed to hit 15 PPR points 25% of the time but never once hit 18.

It was a year to forget and that feels like an understatement.

And still, after all that, Sanders is one of my most-rostered players heading into 2022 (as you'll see below, he's much cheaper in best ball than redraft which is where most of my investment lies).

There's bright side here. For starters, Sanders is being drafted like he was bad last season.

Second, Sanders is due for positive TD regression after a "Have you seen this man?" 2021. Last year there were 17 other RBs who finished within 30 touches in either direction of Sanders (ranging from 30 more touches to 30 less touches). Collectively they averaged 4.2 TDs. 4 more TDs last year would have vaulted Sanders from RB 41 to RB 31. Still not great, but notably better.

Third, the Eagles didn't implement their run heavy approach until half-way through the season when Sirianni handed over play calling duties to Shane Steichen which is when Sanders started showing signs of life. Reports from Philly indicate Steichen will continue to call plays and all signs point to Philly remaining a run-heavy attack.

Sanders isn't in line to be the elite fantasy weapon we all thought and hoped he'd be, but he's now being discounted so much in fantasy football that he's become a value. I'm fine with Sanders anywhere in the 7th round or later.

Fantasy Drafts 🤷: I have Sanders in Tier 2B of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Antonio Gibson, Josh Jacobs and Travis Etienne.

Sanders is currently drafted as the RB 28 around pick 70 (late 6th round). Names drafted within 6 spots of Sanders in either direction include Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Courtland Sutton, AJ Dillon, Jerry Jeudy, Jalen Hurts, Marquise Brown, TJ Hockenson, Damien Harris, Amon-Ra St. Brown, Allen Robinson, Adam Thielen, Darnell Mooney, Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins.

He's tough to draft there with so many drool-worthy WR names (Sutton, Jeudy, ARob, Thielen, MT, Nuk) and AJ Dillon, but I have seen Sanders go much later on Underdog best ball drafts where his ADP is 83 (late 7th round).

Dynasty Leagues: Sanders is an intriguing dynasty asset in 2022. His value is at an all time low which creates a buying opportunity for patient managers. He's also on the last year of his contract with Philly and it's fair to wonder if he'll be in a different uniform next year after he hinted at disappointment in his playing time. I think he's a great buy-low candidate.

Kenneth Gainwell 📈

As a rookie last season, Kenneth Gainwell saw roughly half of the volume Miles Sanders did (163 touches to 85) yet fell just 12.5 PPR points shy of Sanders. It was a promising debut for the rookie who finished 29th among RBs in targets (43), 36th in catches (29), 29th in receiving yards (244) and 36th in TDs from scrimmage (5).

He also hit 19 points twice in fifteen tries will Sanders failed to hit even just 18 points once.

Now, to build on that,'s John McMullen recently reported he believes Gainwell is in line for "high-leverage situations like third downs, the hurry-up offense, and goal-line work."

Those are the high leverage situations you want in fantasy football. And on one of the heaviest rushing offenses in football, there's likely to be plenty of work to go around for the ascending sophomore.

He's one of the best possible Zero RB picks out there, and he should not be as free as he is in fantasy football.

Fantasy Drafts 👍: I have Gainwell in Tier 3A of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Tyler Allgeier, Michael Carter, James Robinson and more.

Gainwell is currently drafted as the RB 50 around pick 167 (late 14th round). Drafted within 6 picks of Gainwell in either direction include Christian Watson, Evan McPherson, Trevor Lawrence, Noah Fant, Matt Ryan, Kenny Golladay, Patriots DEF, Jamaal Williams, Julio Jones, David Njoku, Albert Okwuegbunam, Mark Ingram, Tyler Allgeier and Rachaad White.

I'll take Gainwell over all of those except Golladay, Julio and maybe Allgeier.

Dynasty Leagues: There might still be time for you to add Gainwell to your roster while his ADP is still so low, but that window could close in a hurry.

Boston Scott 📉

There is a teeny tiny sliver of thread that Boston Scott is hanging onto as it pertains to fantasy football relevance, and it's basically that the Eagles like to A) rotate their backs and B) use them a lot. Boston Scott should see some work, but not enough and not consistently to be a viable fantasy option (at least without an injury ahead of him). Keep him on your watch list during the season, but aim higher during your draft.