This article is also featured at Fantasyknuckleheads.com. Feel free to check out our other 2010 Fantasy Football Team Analysis .
Most will agree that the breakup between Donovan McNabb and the Eagles was inevitable, and that the ceiling had been reached with McNabb. Others believed Andy Reid and company lost their aggressive coaching edge when it mattered the most. Either way, McNabb is gone, and the era of Kevin Kolb is yawning before a very young Philadelphia Eagles team. What fantasy managers want to know is this:
- Can Kolb lead this team half as well as McNabb?
- Will the receivers’ fantasy value take a hit because of the McNabb exodus?
- Will the running game ever rise to elite status?
- Will the defense return to its once-dominant state?
Kevin Kolb is an interesting individual. In his only two NFL starts, Kolb threw for 300+ yards in both games—the first quarterback to ever accomplish that in his first two starts. He is being compared to Brett Favre in the sense that he has a canon -like arm and is a risk taker, and he is surrounded with some favorable talent.
But in order to get recognition in the fantasy world as a big time QB, you have to first prove that you are one.
In the end, however, Kolb has already shown that he understands Reid’s complex version of the West Coast, and although Kolb’s INT rate could be a bit high in his first year as a starter, he still should put up some solid numbers and he could wind up being a sleeper QB this year.
The running game for the Eagles last year was an eyesore at best. They finished 22nd overall in rushing yards (1,606 total team rushing yards) and scored a dismal 12 rushing touchdowns all year. Much of the same will be expected again this year, but there are some intriguing players to think about.
- LeSean McCoy never truly broke out as the player most of us thought he would’ve been. McCoy finished the year with 637 yards and 4 TDs and really tanked the last five games of the year, only producing 109 yards and a single TD. I really don’t see McCoy doing much better in 2010, and further believe he makes for a great late round grab at best.
- Leonard Weaver, on the other hand, was a huge bright spot for the Eagles despite only being played in specific situations. In total, Weaver amassed 463 all-purpose yards and 6 total TDs in only 10 games (70-323-4 rushing, 15-140-2 receiving). This year, Weaver could be a true sleeper considering that Reid never used a FB that often in his coaching history, and considering that he is a bruising complete package that gives the Eagles a different look.
- Mike Bell was brought over, but figures to be a situational back or change of pace back at best, and Eldra Buckley figures to offer nothing more than a few special teams points here and there throughout the season.
In 2009 many people were dazzled by the ‘rookie’ class of WR: Austin Collie, Miles Austin and Mike Sims-Walker, to name a few, and in that mix was DeSean Jackson. But Jackson wasn’t the only downfield threat as the Eagles saw the emergence of Jeremy Maclin, and together they showed themselves to be a dangerous one two punch.
- DeSean Jackson lead the team in receiving yards (1,156 yards) and total TDs (9) and has the deceptive speed, and polished feet to become the next great playmaker at WR. And don’t worry about Kolb being the quarterback; in Kolb’s two starts Jackson had 10 receptions for 250 yards and 2 TDs.
- Jeremy Maclin wound up being a pleasant surprise for two reasons:
1. He understood Reid’s offense right off the bat which boads well for any Eagles receiver.
2. He was good for 773 yards on 53 grabs with 4 TDs.
Maclin has a full year under his belt now and to think he isn’t gonna breakout in 2010 would be absurd. He should continue to roll as another high profile WR out of Philadelphia.
- Hank Baskett returns to the team, but won’t be a fantasy factor and neither will Jason Avant. But do keep your eye on 6’3” 225 pound Riley Cooper out of Florida. He’s a huge target and could see some time down the stretch, especially if the Eagles wind up being OUT of playoff contention.
In 2008, Brent Celek showed everyone a tiny little glimpse of what he was capable of, and in 2009 he blew up as the primary target for the Eagles’ aerial assault, racking up 76 catches with 971 yards and 8 TDs. Still, he will probably hover somewhere around 6th in overall TE rankings with Vernon Wells, Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, Jason Witten, and Jermichael Finley being ahead of him.
That’s not to say you’re getting a chump TE though, because with the exception of Visanthe Shiancoe, Kellen Winslow, Tony Gonzalez and Owen Daniels rounding out the top 10, the rest of the crop isn’t nearly half as good or reliable.
This unit was once a proud watermark of Philadelphia under Jim Johnson’s reign, but his passing had an obvious effect on the team and DC Sean McDermott had trouble closing out the season in 2009. At times the run defense dazzled, and other times it floundered, and the secondary was often exposed down field.
You can make the argument that a rash of injuries was to blame, but that would quickly become dispelled the moment you enter the New Orleans Saints into the conversation (one of the most injured teams in all of the NFL last year). Still, there is some talent on this team worth mentioning particularly MLB Stewart Bradley who was supposed to have his break out season last year.
2010 Regular Season Schedule
Andy Reid has built a convoluted version of the West Coast offense that relies heavily on the short passing game, roll outs, bootlegs, and a lot of play action which bodes well for PPR leaguers. The passing game in a whole makes up better than 60% of his offense.
The running game is a bit too risky to consider top notch. Yes the talent is there, but whether or not it will show up for 16 games is anybody’s guess….I personally don’t think so.
This unit is young and has a lot of budding talent, but health will be the primary issue. From there, the secondary—namely the safety position—will have to dramatically improve from the 27 TDs they allowed last year if they are to be considered anything noteworthy.