The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Twitter that wide receiver Jeremy Maclin tore his ACL in training camp Saturday. Maclin’s injury is a devastating loss to the Eagles. He was projected to have a good season in Chip Kelly’s new system.
Writing about the fantasy fallout about a recently injured player feels wrong. While what happened to Maclin is sad, there is a need to discuss the fantasy impact of what happened.
DeSean Jackson was already projected to be the main target, but now he’ll likely be relied on even more. The only other receiver on the roster with a lot of playing experience is Jason Avant.
Avant is one of the players in the mix to take over Maclin’s role in the offense. The other players include Arrelious Benn, Riley Cooper and Damaris Johnson. The top two candidates are Avant and Benn.
Avant is an aging receiver who lacks a lot of athleticism. He’s averaged a respectable 630 yards a season the last three years, but he’s also only scored two touchdowns in that timeframe. His upside is limited, even with Maclin’s injury.
Benn was traded to Philly from Tampa Bay earlier this year. Benn is a former second-round pick who put up disappointing numbers his first three years. He had career highs in 2011 with 30 receptions for 441 yards and three touchdowns
To be fair to Benn, he’s had injury problems throughout his career. He missed 11 of 48 games with Tampa and he usually wasn’t fully healthy when he returned to action. He did make some nice plays in Tampa, including two 60-plus-yard receptions. A healthy Benn could end up replacing Maclin.
A candidate to keep an eye on is Johnson. He went undrafted in 2012, but he was able to see some playing time in the regular season. Johnson earned his roster spot by having a solid preseason. In the first game he caught a 70-yard touchdown. He finished the preseason with 12 catches for 195 yards.
In Week 3 of the regular season, Johnson saw more action due to injuries at the receiver position. He finished the game with five receptions for 84 yards. It was a good showing for an undrafted rookie.
Johnson has a lot of athleticism, which makes him someone to watch. In college he finished as the NCAA leader in kick return yards for a career and total yards gained for a career.
Cooper is a name familiar to fantasy footballers. In 2011 he became a hot waiver wire add after he caught five passes for 75 yards and a touchdown against the Giants in Week 11. He continued his success the next two weeks with 71-yard and 94-yard games.
Even though Avant, Benn and Johnson have been mentioned, Cooper isn’t someone to dismiss. Cooper was also the initial receiver to replace Maclin in training camp.
Something to keep in mind is that the next man up for the Eagles may not be on the roster right now. Brandon Lloyd and Laurent Robinson are both free agents and could end up on the roster.