Ahh, one of the longest waits of the football season: that quiet period of time after the NFL Draft is over and before team minicamps, and the preseason start. A period of relative inactivity that can put even the most loyal, hardcore fans into a pigskin-deprived coma. And there's nothing you can do about it...right?
Wrong! It's never too early to start thinking about and preparing for the next season of fantasy football, and, as I hope you'll see, there's rarely ever a dull moment in fantasy land!
Now, I'm not a fantasy expert, but I still thought I'd let you guys in on some of the things going through my head when it comes to indulging in or resisting the urge we all have to draft players from our favorite team (in my case, Philadelphia) during our fantasy drafts.
So I've decided to list some information for each player I deem worthy of draft consideration in order of their early ADP (average draft positions) numbers.
I will then list whether I think the particular player's stock is trending up (rising), steady, or down (falling), what kind of value I feel the player has at his current ADP, his 2009 statistics, shown at face value and broken up into quarterly averages to make early-season to late-season trends more visible, and analysis of their 2009 performance, and, finally, a prediction for their 2010 season.
These all are my personal opinions, so feel free to comment if you think I nailed something or shot way off base on something else.
- ADP and round positions based on a standard, non-PPR 12 team league
- All ADP information used found at http://fantasyfootballcalculator.com
- Statistical information used found at http://www.nfl.com/stats/player and http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/stats
- Return yardage wasn’t calculated for the quarterly week averages I’ve included, as it usually isn’t counted towards point totals in standard fantasy football leagues, unlike return TDs, which were included.
- The loss of points through fumbles weren't taken into account, as fumbles themselves are extremely unpredictable and their effects are minimal.
- If a player played in a game and put up no numbers, that game was counted towards his quarterly average. If he didn't play (usually due to an injury), then the player obviously wasn't penalized.
And so here it is, your official (Too) Early Guide to Drafting Eagles for the 2010 Fantasy Football Season!
Projected round/position: mid second round (early ADP: ~20th overall) as a WR1
Value: LOW (overrated)
63 rec, 1167 rec yds, 9 rec TDs
11 rush, 137 rush yds, 1 rush TD
29 punt ret, 441 punt ret yds, 2 TDs
Games 01-04 averages: 77.0 yds and 0.75 TDs per game
Games 05-08 averages: 84.25 yds and 0.75 TDs per game
Games 09-12 averages: 62.25 yds and 0.5 TDs per game
Games 13-16 averages: 102.5 yds and 1.0 TDs per game
DeSean Jackson proved himself to be the definition of "lightning in a bottle" (no offense, CJ2K) during the 2009 season. As I've explained in another article, Jackson proved that he was actually a remarkably consistent fantasy scorer, only putting up duds a few times throughout the season.
He definitely outplayed expectations from last year, when he was only supposed to put up low-end WR2/high-end WR3 numbers. Instead, he exploded onto the NFL scene as the one of the most dangerous players on the field at any given time while consistent gaining yardage and putting up touchdowns.
Right now, Jackson is anywhere from the fifth to the 12th receiver in mock drafts I've participated in, and his stock looks like its on the rise, as the sky's the limit for this diminutive playmaker.
However, there's no denying that Jackson thrived on the Donovan McNabb-thrown deep ball, a pass that I haven't seen enough of from new starting QB Kevin Kolb to know that he can throw it deep with any consistency.
Don't get me wrong, Jackson will put up solid numbers in 2010 and he likely will explode for some monster games, but I'm not buying him as before more receivers with arguably more solid situations are on the board (guys like Miles Austin, Calvin Johnson, Roddy White, and Vincent Jackson).
My best approximation of Jackson's probable 2010 figures? 1050 receiving yards and nine total TDs.
Projected round/position: early fourth round (early ADP: ~37th overall) as a RB2
155 rush, 637 rush yds, 4 rush TDs
40 rec, 308 rec yds
Games 01-04 averages: 56.0 yds and 0.25 TDs per game
Games 05-08 averages: 71.75 yds and 0.25 TDs per game
Games 09-12 averages: 62.25 yds and 0.25 TDs per game
Games 13-16 averages: 46.25 yds and 0.25 TDs per game
LeSean "Shady" McCoy put to work during his rookie season in Philadelphia, being used as both a starter and in a RBBC with Brian Westbrook.
He put up 945 yards on 195 touches last year, in addition to scoring four touchdowns, while splitting offensive reps with Westbrook and Pro Bowl FB Leonard Weaver. All this, McCoy recently said during an interview for the Philadelphia Eagles' website, while playing what he called "bad [extra] weight."
McCoy has been climbing draft boards everywhere, and it's easy to see why. With Brian Westbrook's release, McCoy's path to be the lead back for the Philadelphia Eagles becomes that much less competitive.
He's easily the most talented running back in the city of Brotherly Love, and we all know how much Westbrook was used in his prime, a stage of his career that Shady hasn't even come close to reaching.
He's being drafted as stable RB2 right now, which is about where I think he'll end up producing. 1200 total yards and 10 TDs isn't out the question, but 1000 yards and eight TDs is a more realistic scenario for last year's second round pick.
Projected round/position: early sixth round (early ADP: ~64th overall) as a TE1
76 rec, 971 rec yds, 8 rec TDs
Games 01-04 averages: 75.75 yds and 0.5 TDs per game
Games 05-08 averages: 45.75 yds and 0.5 TDs per game
Games 09-12 averages: 32.75 yds and 0.5 TDs per game
Games 13-16 averages: 88.5 yds and 0.5 TDs per game
Brent Celek was expected to produce like a borderline TE1 last year, if I'm not mistaken, and he outplayed the projections fantasy players and statisticians had for the former Cincinnati Bearcat.
Failing to gain at least 58 yards receiving or at least one touchdown in just three games all season (weeks 7, 11, and 12), Celek continued to wow Eagles fans with his toughness, clutch-ness, and trackstar-esque hurdling ability.
If Kevin Kolb likes throwing the Celek as much as McNabb did (and I think he does as evidenced by Brent hauling in eight catches for 104 yards in both of Kolb's regular season starts), then number 87 should have another spectacular season in Philadelphia.
Celek's yardage numbers started to trend downward as the season wore on before spiking back up late, evidence that Celek's production isn't going anywhere.
I like Brent to put up top four TE numbers alongside the likes of Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, and Vernon Davis, so drafting him in the early sixth round, or even in the fifth round if you're antsy, is solid value for, in my opinion, the most stable member of the Eagles' offense.
Look for another season of 950 receiving yards and seven or eight TDs.
Projected round/position: mid seventh round (early ADP: ~78th overall) as a QB1
Value: MEDIUM-LOW (slightly overrated)
62 comps, 96 atts, 741 pass yds, 4 pass TDs, 3 INTs
5 rush, -1 rush yds, 1 rush TD
Games 01-03 averages: 246.67 yds, 1.67 TDs, and 1.0 INTs per game
If you're Eagles fans, then you've read all about how to interpret Kevin Kolb's performances when he filled in for McNabb in Week One and started in Weeks Two and Three.
Here's a brief synopsis: he lost to a team (the Saints) he should he and the Eagles probably should have lost to, and destroyed a team (the Chiefs) he and the Eagles probably should have destroyed.
Still, Kolb displayed a quick release, good accuracy (only one of his three INTS was a "real" INT/mistake on his part), and a general command of the offense.
Kevin Kolb has been named the starting quarterback for the one of the youngest, fastest, and talented offenses in the National Football League.
While this is definitely an intriguing situation to for a young QB to find himself in, I'm not sure if he'll produce the fantasy points that people who draft him before the seventh or eighth round are expecting. He'll probably hang around borderline QB1 numbers, at least for his first season in command of the Eagles.
Off the top of my head, I'm predicting stats like 3800 passing yards, 29 passing TDs, 14 INTS, 90 rushing yards, two rushing TDs, and two fumbles lost.
Projected round/position: late seventh round (early ADP: ~81st overall) as a QB1
Value: HIGH (underrated)
56 rec, 773 rec yds, 4 rec TDs
2 rush, -7 rush yds
Games 01-04 averages: 46.5 yds and 0.5 TDs per game
Games 05-08 averages: 37.5 yds and 0.25 TDs per game
Games 09-12 averages: 71.5 yds and 0.25 TDs per game
Games 13-16 averages: 46.33 yds and 0.0 TDs per game
Jeremy Maclin, a rookie last season, pretty much stepped into the number two wide receiver role for the Eagles and produced decent numbers; his yardage per game tended to increase as the season wore on, while his touchdown numbers remained surprisingly low.
Maclin was billed as a speed receiver coming out of Missouri, but the majority of his Hail Mary targets went to fellow roadrunner DeSean Jackson.
Much has already been said (well, I've read a lot) about how Maclin might actually be a better fit for the West Coast offense with the weaker-armed and arguably more accurate Kevin Kolb at the helm.
Some fantasy owners like having a WR2 with more consistency. If you’re like me, on the other hand, and don’t mind playing roulette at the position with the highest rate of busts and waiver-wire gems of any other position in fantasy football, then your draft strategy can go something like RB-WR-RB-QB-TE.
From here, you can draft two or three high-upside wideouts (people like Maclin, Mike Wallace, Kenny Britt, Steve Breaston, and Demaryius Thomas) right in a row.
If Jeremy can find a way to get into the endzone on a more consistent basis, and he continues to improve, we could be looking at Maclin producing like a solid WR2 in leagues as opposed to the WR3 figures people (i.e. non-Eagles loyalists) are expecting from him.
I really think Maclin can post numbers around 900 receiving yards and seven or eight TDs during the 2010 season.
Projected round/position: early 12th round (early ADP: ~147th overall) as a DEF1
21.1 pts allowed per game, 19th in the NFL
321.1 yds allowed per game, 12th in the NFL
104.7 rush yds allowed per game, ninth in the NFL
216.4 pass yds allowed per game, 17th in the NFL
2.8 sacks per game, Tied for third in the NFL
1.6 INTs per game, fourth in the NFL
0.8 rec fumbles per game, Tied for fifth in the NFL
Six total defensive/special teams TDs (four from turnovers, two from returns)
Thirty three percent opponent third down conversion rate, second in the NFL (just a stat I found interesting)
The Philadelphia Eagles knew their defense wouldn't be its usual self with starting MLB Stewart Bradley losing the season to an ACL injury. Philadelphia hung on with usually solid run support, but was exposed through the air by crossing routes and tight ends.
Still, the Eagles managed to produce a fantasy defense that put up numbers of a borderline DEF1.
The Eagles loaded up on draft picks and went defense through the entire draft, adding youth and talent in the secondary, the linebacking corps, and along the defensive line. The return of Stewart Bradley should help immensely, also.
The Eagles' defensive unit should be a little bit better in 2010 then they were in 2009, but speculation enough won't sway fantasy owners until they see the results, or lack of results from the opponent's offensive unit, on the field.
Drafters of the Philadelphia Eagles defense this year know they won't be getting a top five defense, but a solid DEF1 that will put up respectable numbers every week.
Projected round/position: early 15th round (early ADP: ~171st overall) as a K1
32 FGs made, Tied for first in the NFL
86.5 FG percentage (32/37), 11th in the NFL
43 PATs made, Tied for seventh in the NFL
One FG blocked, two PATs blocked
David Akers continues to be a rock-solid kicker for the Eagles franchise year in and year out, and he didn't disappoint last year. Akers nailed 32 field goals, tying him for the league lead in that category, and booted in 43 extra point kicks.
Sorry, no revolutionary predictions for David here. He's being drafted anywhere from the third/fourth overall kicker taken to the 12th kicker taken, what with the kicker position being so sporadic and unpredictable from year to year. But Akers should put up close to the same numbers that he had last season in the upcoming 2010 NFL season.
What other Philadelphia Eagles should you keep in mind in case the IR (oh man, knock on wood big time there) suddenly fills up with offensive weapons?
Jason Avant is a third down machine who will provide Kolb with a reliable slot receiver. He had 587 receiving yards and three TDs last year, and could post good numbers week-to-week.
The Eagles signed Mike Bell this offseason, a seasoned veteran back who gives the Eagles a new runner to use this season in case LeSean McCoy isn't producing like he should be.
Leonard Weaver should also receive about five to seven touches a game. A fantastic FB last season for the Eagles, Weaver has surprising running ability (his 41 yard scamper against the Giants in Week Eight, anyone?), catching ability, and blocking skills.
All this should keep him a valuable member of the Eagles' offensive squad, especially around the end zone with his size and power.
Thanks for giving my article a read, guys, and I hope you enjoyed it.
Comments? Love it? Hate it? Let me know!