JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Zach Ertz, Eagles Fantasy Stock After Alshon Jeffery Injury

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 15, 2019

Philadelphia Eagles' Zach Ertz catches a pass during practice at the team's NFL football training facility in Philadelphia, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

The Philadelphia Eagles' receiving corps has taken a hit with Alshon Jeffery ruled out for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots.  

The team announced Friday an ankle injury will prevent Jeffery from suiting up. 

Jeffery's injury also creates a hole in the fantasy world that owners will have to fill. One good thing is the Eagles used some of their resources during the offseason to replenish their crop of receivers after it proved to be thin last season. 

Philadelphia's receiving corps has played short-handed throughout the year after losing DeSean Jackson for the season due to a core muscle injury that required surgery. 

The most obvious beneficiary of Jeffery's absence is tight end Zach Ertz. The two-time Pro Bowler was, by far, the preferred target for quarterbacks Carson Wentz and Nick Foles last season. He had 59 more targets (156) and 51 more receptions (116) than any other Eagles player in 2018. 

Ertz has been Wentz's favorite asset again this season. He leads the team with 75 targets and 46 receptions through nine games. 

One deep sleeper candidate to get more touches is Ertz's backup, Dallas Goedert. The 2018 second-round pick showed positive signs as a rookie with 33 receptions, 334 yards and four touchdowns on 44 targets. 

There were raves about Goedert coming out of organized team activities in May, with Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer writing he was "capable of making a second-year leap into stardom."

That hasn't translated into production yet, with Goedert having just 221 yards on 21 receptions. He is tied for the team lead with three touchdown catches. 

Rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is a perfect replacement for Jeffery. The Stanford product is a big-bodied receiver (6'2" and 225 pounds) who uses his power to create space against defensive backs. He's not going to beat anyone down the field, but strength will allow him to turn short passes into big plays. 

The Eagles haven't used Arcega-Whiteside much to this point with two receptions.

Jordan Matthews, who the team brought back on Nov. 11, could end up being the No. 1 receiver on the outside for Wentz. It's a heavy burden to put on a player who has only played three snaps in a game this season and will be playing against the NFL's second-best pass defense.  

The best approach is to wait and see how much playing time Arcega-Whiteside gets in Jeffery's absence and take a flier on Goedert if he's available as an option off the bench. 

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