The Philadelphia Eagles are far from a “Dream Team,” but their acquisition of former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly to fill their own vacancy may masquerade their fantasy football options as such for the 2013 season.
Eagles make it official by announcing Chip Kelly as their head coach. Owner Jeffrey Lurie gets the man he wanted all along.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) January 16, 2013
Philadelphia has speed all over the field on the offensive side of the ball, as LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and even quarterback Michael Vick can fly. That personnel group should be an advantage to Kelly’s brand of offense, which has helped inspire Bill Belichick’s breakneck offensive pace with the New England Patriots.
I think Chip Kelly will do very well on the NFL. Smart, confident and thinks outside the box. He knows how to utilize personnel.— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) January 17, 2013
The problem fantasy owners may face with drafting players from Philadelphia’s roster is a potential pronounced propensity for injury. All four of their star skill players missed games in 2012: Maclin missed one, McCoy missed four, Jackson missed five and Vick missed six.
One of Chip Kelly's most important hires will be his strength/conditioning staff. Fastbreak football, serious interval workouts.— Andrew Brandt (@adbrandt) January 16, 2013
The number of collisions in which Eagles players—and their defensive opponents—will be involved should increase, amplifying the risk of injury for Philadelphia’s big names. New England had injury issues within their tight end position group, as Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski combined to miss 12 games in 2012.
Kelly will bring his up-tempo offense, which averaged a play every 20.9 seconds in four seasons at Oregon. By comparison, the Patriots' no-huddle spread, which was a full second faster than any other team, was four seconds per play slower than Kelly's Ducks this season.
Oregon ran 1,077 plays in just 13 games this season, which would have ranked seventh -- just one spot behind the Eagles -- in the NFL's 16-game schedule this season.
Oregon's average of 82.8 plays per game would easily beat New England's league-leading average of 74.4.
Tom Brady was fourth in passing attempts (637) and Stevan Ridley was sixth in rushing attempts (290) as a result of their offensive pace in 2012. In 2011, BenJarvus Green-Ellis was 21st in rushing attempts (181) while Brady was third in passing attempts (611).
Green-Ellis played all 16 games last year; there were simply more footballs to go around in Foxboro this regular season.
The big plays that Vick, McCoy, Jackson and Maclin have produced in the past give fantasy owners enough of a reason to take a gamble on them, injury issues or not, in 2013.
Vick averaged 6.8 rushing attempts per game over the last three seasons—and 6.7 rushing yards per attempt during that span. McCoy will be just two seasons removed from a 20-touchdown campaign in 2011. Jackson has gone over 900 yards receiving in four of his five professional years and Maclin scored three touchdowns in his last four games.
Even Bryce Brown and Brent Celek could get a piece of that uptempo pie.
Kelly’s ingenuity on the offensive side of the football should make each of them more attractive fantasy options on a per-game basis. If the defense continues to disappoint, Philadelphia’s offense will be forced to produce even more fantasy goodness to remain competitive in the NFL.
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