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

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 12, 2019

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz in action during an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Philadelphia.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Philadelphia Eagles wideout Alshon Jeffery was placed on season-ending injured reserve Thursday with a foot injury ahead of Sunday's Week 15 clash with the Washington Redskins

The eighth-year wideout had caught 43 passes for 490 yards and four touchdowns for the 6-7 Eagles.

The Eagles must make do without their No. 1 wide receiver but have a bevy of pass-catchers ready to assume a greater workload.

From a fantasy football perspective, we have three games of evidence to suggest how the target distribution may go in Jeffery's absence. Ultimately, the ex-Chicago Bear averaged 7.3 targets per game and sees the field the vast majority of time when he's active, so those looks and snaps have to go somewhere.

Philadelphia has previously gone without Jeffery three times this season: Week 2 at the Atlanta Falcons, Week 3 versus the Detroit Lions and Week 11 against the New England Patriots. We'll take a look at how those three games went down and try to make some predictions for the future.

       

Week 2: Atlanta Falcons

Jeffery played just six snaps in Week 2 because of a calf injury. Tight end Zach Ertz, wideout Nelson Agholor and wide receiver Mack Hollins proceeded to absorb 35 total targets.

Ertz had eight catches for 72 yards on 16 targets, Agholor snagged eight passes for 107 yards and a touchdown and Hollins posted a respectable five-catch, 50-yard line.

Ertz has been Wentz's most frequent target since the signal-caller entered the league in 2016, and that connection took center stage sans Jeffery here. Agholor saw an uptick in usage, though, while Hollins took advantage of his increased playing time.

       

Week 3: Detroit Lions

Nelson Agholor was a target machine once again during the Lions game, catching eight of his 12 passes for 50 yards and two touchdowns.

He may have racked up the fantasy points, but he had just 4.17 yards per target. In other words, volume trumped efficiency.

Mack Hollins was the only other Eagles wideout to see a notable uptick in looks, catching four passes for 62 yards on seven targets. He and Agholor were on the field for 99 percent of snaps.

Rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside didn't do much despite playing on 72 percent of snaps with one catch on 10 yards (three targets).

At running back, Miles Sanders played an important role in the pass game, snagging two passes (on four targets) for 73 yards.

       

Week 11: New England Patriots

Philadelphia faced a much tougher opponent during Jeffery's final absence, facing the New England Patriots and their No. 1 scoring defense.

The Eagles couldn't get much going through the air, with Wentz completing 20 of 40 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown.

Agholor saw an uptick in targets once again, catching four passes for 40 yards on nine targets. Eagles tight end Zach Ertz was a frequent Wentz target with nine receptions for 94 yards on 11 targets.

All other wideouts combined for just two catches for 35 yards on eight targets against the stingy Pats' secondary. Tight end Dallas Goedert notably saw increased usage, however, playing on 81 percent of snaps and catching three passes for 36 yards and a touchdown on six targets.

        

Conclusion

Ertz is always a must-start in season-long leagues, but he's an excellent play in daily contests regardless of the opponent given his increased opportunities.

Agholor, whose status for the Redskins game is "up in the air" because of a knee injury, would be a worthy flex option in point-per-reception leagues thanks to his increased target share if active. He's not as valuable in standard leagues because of his low yardage-per-target totals.

Goedert is worth keeping on the bench if needed with Jeffery out. He's seen increased snaps and targets, although he isn't likely to blow up in the wideout's absence unless Ertz misses time. Although the fantasy outlook could improve if Agholor is also ruled out.

Arcega-Whiteside is not a fantasy option at this time based on his output.