Updated: Aug 23
👆 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.
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.
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.
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, SI.com'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.
AJ Brown 🤷
Honestly, not much has changed for AJ Brown after his trade from Tennessee to Philly. He went from mediocre/bad QB play to mediocre/bad QB play. He went from the run-heaviest team in football (551 attempts last year) to the 2nd run-heaviest team in football (550 attempts). He went from minimal target competition (basically just one other WR) to minimal target competition (basically just one other WR). Pretty much all that will look different for AJ Brown is his uniform.
Oh, yeah, and that contract that implies Philly will do everything in their power to get him the rock (but then where would that leave DeVonta Smith in such a run-heavy offense? We'll get to that in a minute).
First, let's look at where AJ Brown is coming from:
2021 PPR points per game: 13.7 (WR 29)
2020 PPR points per game: 17.7 (WR 6)
2019 PPR points per game: 13.6 (WR 31)
He's played in 42 fantasy football games in the last 3 years, establishing himself as a rather boom-bust receiver who's landed under 10 PPR points in 40.5% of his games but hitting 20 or more in 35.7%.
And what about the Philly side? Brace yourself; it's ugly.
For starters, Philly hasn't had a top 24 WR since Alshon Jeffery was the WR 16 in 2017. Alshon came in at WR 26 in 2018 and then the last three years were absolutely miserable for Philly WRs.
In 2019, Alshon Jeffery once again had the "best" finish among Philly WRs, but that's not saying much—actually it's saying A LOT—considering he was the WR 60, averaging 12.22 PPR points per game (to be fair, that was the 39th best average...yay).
In 2020, Greg Ward had the honor of "best" Philly WR finish, landing at WR 58 with 8.3 PPR points per game.
In 2021, DeVonta Smith gave the Eagles' WR signs of life with a WR 31 finish, averaging 11.2 PPR points per game (40th best) as a rookie with a first-year starting QB.
All of that being said, Philly hasn't had a duo like this one (AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith) since Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor (lol) in 2017.
Or perhaps Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson is a better combo from 2012. But you get the idea; Philly's been bad at WR for a long time.
In the end, I've avoided Brown more than I've drafted him. Philly will be incentivized to get him the ball, but DeVonta Smith won't just disappear and Philly appears destined to remain a run-heavy unit. AJ Brown is currently being drafted as a back-end WR 1, but I'd treat him as more of a high-mid WR 2.
Fantasy Drafts 👍: AJB is currently drafted around pick 30 (mid 3rd round) as the WR 11. Drafted within 6 spots in either direction of AJB is Leonard Fournette, Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, Ezekiel Elliott, James Conner, Tee Higgins, Patrick Mahomes, David Montgomery, Kyle Pitts, Cam Akers and Justin Herbert.
I'm fine with AJB at this cost but if I'm looking for a WR, I'd much rather have Evans, Keenan and Higgins (and Michael Pittman who's 9 picks after AJB).
Draft Kits: I have AJB in Tier 1D of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Michael Pittman.
Dynasty Leagues: AJB is a hold in dynasty leagues with no real push to sell or buy.
DeVonta Smith 📉
2021 PPR points per game: 11.2 (WR 40)
2021 was a promising opening campaign for the 10th overall pick out of Alabama. DeVonta Smith finished 32nd among WRs in targets (99), 33rd in catches (61), 26th in yards (875) and scored 5 TDs for 178.5 PPR points (WR 31).
He landed under 10 PPR points in half of his games, but he also flashed a lil bit with 15 or more PPR points in 31.3% of his games and even 20 PPR points in 12.5% of his games.
And he did it as a rookie on a team that threw the football less than any other squad in the league. Impressive.
Buuuuuuuut, overnight, his target competition went from Jalen Reagor (lol) to AJ Brown, dimming the lights on his fantasy outlook in year 2. It's not a death sentence of course, but it's a big deal, especially in this run heavy offense.
Can Philly support two fantasy-friendly WRs all season? Maybe, but it's not likely they'll have two guys in the top 30.
I'm not saying you shouldn't draft him or that he'll be worthless. Of course he won't. I'm just saying be careful if you're expecting him to build on last season's numbers. He might end up a better real-life receiver than a fantasy one this year.
Fantasy Drafts 👎: DeVonta Smith is currently being drafted as the WR 36 around pick 87 (early 8th round). Drafted within 6 spots in either direction of Smith are Kareem Hunt, Devin Singletary, Cordarrelle Patterson, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Tony Pollard, Aaron Rodgers, Rashaad Penny, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Elijah Moore, Matthew Stafford, Tyler Lockett, Zach Ertz, Rashod Bateman and Chase Edmonds.
Personally, Smith isn't even my 4th favorite WR in that bunch, and I like the RBs available there, and sometimes I'm still trying to find QB1 or TE 1 here. There's just too much goodness in this area for me to even consider Smith as an option this early.
Draft Kits: I have DeVonta in Tier 3C of my fantasy football Draft Kits with Tyler Lockett, Brandon Aiyuk, Julio Jones, Robert Woods and more.
Dynasty Leagues: Smith is a possible buy-low if the manager in your league is bummed about the AJB acquisition.
Quez Watkins and Jalen Reagor
These are not names to draft but they are names to have on your radar/watch list. Reagor in particular has long been a promising talent that just hasn't been able to put it together. If he starts to heat up, watch out.
Dallas Goedert 📉
2021 PPR points per game: 11 (TE 9)
In 2021 we finally got a sneak peek into what Dallas Goedert as the TE1 might be like after the Eagles traded Zach Ertz to the Cardinals. It was an encouraging effort from the 2018 2nd rounder out of South Dakota State as he finished 15th among TEs in targets (76), 11th in catches (56) and 5th in yards (830) while scoring 4 TDs and finishing with 165 PPR points (TE 7).
He was able to hit 10 PPR points in 53.3% of his games—easily his best rate as a pro—and flashed some ceiling, hitting 20 PPR points in 13.3% of his games. Mind you this was still while splitting some time with Ertz.
That said, while Ertz is out of the picture, the Eagles did bring in AJ Brown who obviously plays a different position but will command a lot of the targets. Whereas Goedert was 2nd in the target pecking order last season, he's likely to be 3rd in 2022, which is not promising on a team that doesn't throw the ball much to begin with. Spiked passing volume will help, but it's not like we can expect the Eagles to suddenly become a pass-heavy unit; that's not going to happen.
I loved Goedert as a prospect and like to watch him as a player, but he's tough to draft at his cost in 2022.
Fantasy Drafts 👎: Goedert is currently drafted as the TE 8 around pick 79 (mid 7th round). Drafted within 6 picks in either direction of Goedert include: Michael Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Dak Prescott, Hunter Renfrow, Gabriel Davis, Kareem Hunt, Devin Singletary, Cordarrelle Patterson, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Tony Pollard, Aaron Rodgers, Rashaad Penny, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Elijah Moore.
Most of these players come after Goedert, and there's only about four names in that whole list that I'd consider Goedert over.
Draft Kits: I just demoted Goedert from Tier 1C to Tier 1D of my fantasy football Draft Kits.
Dynasty Leagues: Goedert will somehow already be 28 in January and isn't a free agent until 2026. I love Goedert but if I have him in a dynasty league, I'm considering selling him.
That's a wrap on the Philadelphia Eagles! If you prefer your content via YouTube, be sure to subscribe to the BBFF channel so you don't miss anything! Likewise, if Podcast is more your jam, don't forget to subscribe to the BBFF podcast!
Next up: The New York Giants