Jeremy Maclin: Fantasy Owners Should Return Eagles' WR to Lineup in Week 4

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 24, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 01:  Jeremy Maclin #18 of the Philadelphia Eagles catches a pass from Michael Vick #7 of the Eagles during a game against the Washington Redskins at Lincoln Financial Field on January 1, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Good news for Philadelphia Eagles fans and fantasy owners—Jeremy Maclin is expected to return for the huge Week 4 showdown with the New York Giants.

That should make the Eagles offense much more potent than it was in a miserable showing against the Arizona Cardinals. And with the Giants' remaining suspect in the secondary, fantasy players should get a very solid output from Maclin on Sunday night.

First things first, however. Geoff Mosher of Comcast SportsNet has the update on Maclin:

Andy anticipates that Maclin will be back this week.

— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) September 24, 2012

Rotoworld has more on Maclin's status:

Reid said at Monday's presser that Maclin is "making progress" after getting in extremely few practice reps last week. Maclin's presence was sorely missed in Sunday's embarrassing loss to the Cardinals, and barring another setback, he'll likely suit up against the Giants. We'll know more about his potential effectiveness when the Eagles return to practice on Wednesday.

There are a lot of reasons to like Maclin. In two games this season, he has eight receptions for 119 yards. More importantly, he's scored a touchdown in both games.

Meanwhile, the Giants are 22nd in the NFL in passing defense and have given up five passing touchdowns. Maclin has done good work against the Giants in his career. In four games, he has 25 receptions for 295 yards and three touchdowns. 

But there are some red flags here. For one, the Eagles offensive line couldn't keep a fish in water right now, let alone protect Michael Vick, and we know all about the vaunted Giants pass rush. Another handful of sacks and turnovers could seriously affect the Eagles' passing attack.

Plus, the Birds have been best when—and this one is pretty shocking for an Andy Reid team—they've run the football and controlled the clock. I swear, it's true.

Against the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, they ran for more yards and won the time of possession battle. Against the Cardinals, they did run for more yards (despite rushing it just 21 times and only five times in the first half!), but the Cardinals won time of possession. 

The Eagles must run the ball effectively to beat the Giants. It will slow down the Giants' pass rush, open up the defense to passes down the field and keep Eli Manning on the sidelines. And that means Maclin's fantasy impact could be reduced early in the game.

But don't fret. He'll get his in this game. The Eagles always seem to play well against the Giants, and this one could evolve (or devolve for the purists out there) into a shootout pretty quickly.

Be ready to use Maclin as a WR2 in deeper leagues and a definite flex play across the board. Look for six catches for 70 yards and a score against the Giants.


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