The 2021 season is an interesting for the Eagles, with several changes expected, but what does that mean for their fantasy outlook?
“For you know only a heap of broken images” TS Eliot- Wasteland
It’s not often you can invoke TS Eliot when writing about the fantasy prospects of the worst team in the NFC East. But right now, being a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles feels every bit like Eliot’s Wasteland.
With Doug Pederson enjoying a year off and Carson Wentz with one foot out of the door (maybe both by the time anyone reads this) the Eagles are about to undergo a substantial reboot. As recently as last summer the team thought they had a long term Head Coach and a franchise Quarterback; now the ground is barren, the horizon grim.
New Head Coach Nick Sirianni has his work cut out. General Manager Howie Roseman has created an old, expensive and talent deficient roster. The offseason is likely to see major moves; the upheaval will begin, not end, with the departure of Wentz.
2021 Eagles Fantasy Outlook: QB
From a fantasy perspective the Eagles have been one of the least relevant teams in the league for years. At his best Carson Wentz was a functional fantasy Quarterback, but his relevance has steadily dwindled. In his career he’s averaged around 17 fantasy points a game, nothing much to get excited about. There is certainly hope for fantasy relevance here if Jalen Hurts is the starter come September. Comparisons with Tyrod Taylor may not excite Eagles fans but could be fantasy gold for Hurts owners.
2021 Eagles Fantasy Outlook: RB
At running back the team hasn’t had a fantasy star since LeSean McCoy left for Buffalo. The team hasn’t had a thousand-yard rusher since. They have a talented back in Miles Sanders and their new head coach is known to like throwing the ball to his backs. Nyheim Hines was a huge beneficiary during Sirianni’s time in Indy. That could pave the way for Sanders to take advantage in Philly. The Colts also gradually got the best out of Jonathan Taylor as a runner. I am expecting the Eagles to add to their running back depth chart. But, at this point, I think Sanders will be a big winner from the new Head Coach’s arrival.
2021 Eagles Fantasy Outlook: WR
Wide receiver hasn’t really been much better in the City of Brotherly Love recently. No wide receiver has hit a thousand yards since Jeremy Maclin walked. In 2014. The position has been shockingly mismanaged for years; I think even Ja’Marr Chase would drop into the back half of my rookie rankings if the Eagles selected him at 6. Sirianni again may offer a glimmer of hope, as his background is in coaching wide receivers. The Colts may have struggled with a lack of talent at the position, but had success with the Chargers. Where he had great production from Keenan Allen and the significant progress of Tyrell Williams (a player we should probably watch as a potential cheap Eagles receiver add).
The new Head Coach will have little to work with. Though it’s impossible to imagine the Eagles leaving the draft and free agency without a couple of new receivers. If there is a player who could take a leap it’s Jalen Reagor. The man the Eagles stupidly took instead of Justin Jefferson could benefit from the 39-year-old Sirianni’s desire to get the ball in the hands of his playmakers. Eagles fans may be struck by the witchcraft of an offense throwing short passes and looking for yards after the catch. A move that would set Reagor up for success in a way the departing Pederson never did.
The biggest unknown on the receivers is who will be throwing them the ball. I think it’s unlikely that Jalen Hurts is going to suddenly become the kind of repetitively accurate passer. One that returns three or four fantasy-relevant pass catchers so that may limit the potential for the team to finally have a four-figure receiver. If they decide to look to the draft it may well take time to develop but long term the fantasy prospects would likely improve.
2021 Eagles Fantasy Outlook: TE
Tight end is something of a mystery with Sirianni. He and Frank Reich certainly enjoyed deploying a range of options at the position. Jack Doyle, Mo Alie-Cox and Trey Burton all had flash performances last year but none was a viable fantasy tight end. The Eagles do have a potential star in Dallas Goedert. A player that you’d hope that the offensive staff will find ways to use him more consistently that Doug Pederson did. Goedert will most likely be helped by the impending departure of Zach Ertz. Who looks likely to be a cap casualty – the Eagles best fantasy contributor of the past five years.
2021 Eagles Fantasy Outlook: Overall
This team is likely to undergo significant changes, but right now the offensive skill players are amongst the worst in the league. With cap challenges ahead they are unlikely to be able to add much in the way of free agents. Expectations are extremely low. Sirianni ticks some boxes though – he’ll likely get Miles Sanders going as a top tier fantasy producer and I think the chances are better than even that he’ll improve their receivers over time. Beyond that though I’m afraid that for the foreseeable future the Eagles will likely continue to offer little more to fantasy owners than Eliot’s broken images.
Image Credit: Steve Mitchell – USA TODAY Sports