Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the regular season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
After a disappointing season which resulted in the Philadelphia Eagles parting ways with former head coach Chip Kelly before the season even concluded, the dynasty value of many of the Eagles’ players is in flux. With new head coach Doug Pederson in town, the Eagles are ready to start fresh, but there are some questions surrounding this team as they enter the off-season.
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The Eagles made a bold move last off-season to acquire Sam Bradford and he finally (for the most part) stayed healthy. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough as Bradford and the entire Eagles’ offense struggled throughout the season. Bradford was barely a low-end QB2 and now enters free agency. It has been reported recently that his representatives asked for as much as $25 million per year in early contract talks with the team. While that seems laughable now, the Eagles seemingly have few options and as mediocre as Bradford was, he may have his share of suitors considering the large number of quarterback needy teams around the league. In the end, I expect him to stay with the Eagles, rather than either side risking a change.
After being the butt of many jokes, literally, former first round pick Mark Sanchez has done a good job rejuvenating his career in Philadelphia. He played very well in relief of Nick Foles in 2014 and played well enough in three games this year to keep his backup job. Sanchez is worthy of an early off-season stash in 2QB leagues while we see how the Bradford situation unfolds.
This was the fifth season in the NFL for backup Thaddeus Lewis and the second consecutive season he didn’t take an offensive snap. Lewis came to Philly after one year in Houston. He has no dynasty value and little chance of ever taking a meaningful snap in the NFL. With the arrival of Pederson from Kansas City, I’ve seen it suggested that he could bring backup Chase Daniel, an unrestricted free agent, with him. If that comes to be, Daniel could quickly ascend to the top backup, maybe even higher on the depth chart if Bradford is freed.
As head coach, Chip Kelly took a lot of criticism, most of it brought on himself with his bold personnel moves and odd coaching decisions. Things boiled over this season when Kelly couldn’t make use of free agent signee DeMarco Murray, who led the entire league is rushing yardage the previous season. Murray still managed to finish as the RB15 in PPR leagues, but was infamously demoted to the fourth string position on the depth chart at one point this season. I think everyone would agree Murray will be much better off with Kelly out of town. In fact, before Kelly’s departure, Murray was not expected to return. Now, a bounce back season is in the cards and Murray is an excellent buy low target this off-season.
It was certainly a strange off-season for the Eagles a year ago. Not only did they make the big splash to sign Murray away from their rival Dallas, but they also inked Ryan Mathews, taking two of the top free agent running backs off the market. Mathews played a larger role than most expected in the early part of the season. In fact, through the season first ten weeks, Mathews was RB22 a low level RB2 in PPR leagues. The frustrating part was fantasy owners never knew when to use Mathews. Among those ten games, Mathews boasted a pair of 20+ point games, but he also had three games in which he scored five fantasy points of less. Mathews finished the season on a down note and he might be the one player who could see a dip in production following Kelly’s dismissal.
Even at age 32, diminutive runner, or should I say receiver, Darren Sproles just keeps producing. Sproles was the RB28 in PPR leagues this season, even though he only carried the ball 83 times. Actually, that number represents a four-year high mark. As impressive as Sproles has been in the past few years, I will once again project his dynasty demise. Sproles will be 33 by the time the 2016 season starts and Mathews should be able to adequately fill the Eagles’ pass catching back role. Sproles can be dropped in most dynasty formats.
Speedster (and former Oregon Duck) Kenjon Barner impressed in the pre-season, but never really earned a significant role during the regular season, touching the ball less than 40 times on offense. He did mysteriously move ahead of Murray for a brief period, but that was clearly about Kelly making a statement than it was about Barner’s accomplishments. Barner entered the 2015 season with a career total of 14 yards from scrimmage and most presume he only had his job because of his history with Kelly at Oregon. Barner is not guaranteed to make the roster next year.
After a productive rookie season, the hype surrounding receiver Jordan Matthews in dynasty leagues was immeasurable. Because of those lofty expectations, Matthews second season was viewed by most as a failure. In reality though, he finished as the WR17, finishing just between Michael Crabtree and Allen Hurns, both of whom received great credit for their highly productive seasons. So, perspective matters. The reality now is that Matthews is a young receiver who has posted back to back top 25 fantasy seasons and should be valued very highly. Instead, the shine has worn off a bit and he is now being bought and sold under value. Now is the time to kick the tires on Matthews and add a solid WR2 to your roster.
With the number of wide receiver breakouts we saw in the 2014 season, dynasty owners expected a repeat last season and one of the top targets was Nelson Agholor, formerly of Southern Cal. Agholor caught just 23 passes as a rookie and didn’t really make an impact at all. Again, we must manage our expectations as we’ve been spoiled by the early success of recent crops of rookies. Many seem ready to give up on Agholor already, so now seems like a good time to acquire some shares at rock bottom prices. We didn’t necessarily see anything encouraging in Agholor’s year one play, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be improvement next season and beyond.
Of all the players Chip Kelly sent packing in his time with the Eagles, including DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy, somehow Riley Cooper kept his job. Cooper is an average possession receiver, but had his worst season of the Kelly era, with just over 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He’s still under contract for two more seasons, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was given the boot. He has no dynasty value.
Another player with Oregon connections, wide receiver Josh Huff has repeatedly been pegged as a dynasty sleeper, yet he’s never really done much on the field. He ended up producing as Eagles’ WR3 this season, but the expectation is Agholor will play a larger role going forward. This seems like an easy prediction, but Huff getting bounced by Philadelphia and signing with the 49ers is very possible.
A depth piece entering free agency, Seyi Ajirotutu had just one catch on the season. The former Charger had some dynasty hype at one point a couple years ago, but never strung anything together. He’s likely to get a shot with someone in training camp, but it might not be the Eagles.
The hiring of Pederson as head coach has had an instant impact on the tight end position. It began with a five-year contract extension for starter Zach Ertz, who struggled through a mediocre season until the final month. Through the first 13 weeks of the season, Ertz was just the TE22 and was basically being ignored by fantasy owners (and Bradford). Some kind of switch was flipped, as he was the TE2 in the final four games of the season, which led to that extension. I’ve seen some concern from those who question how Travis Kelce was used in the Pederson offense in Kansas City and see that as bad news for Ertz, but that’s a leap I’m not ready to make.
Ertz wasn’t the only tight end to get a new deal this week. Veteran Brent Celek was also signed to a three-year extension, which will likely allow him to end his career in Philadelphia. While Celek has kept Ertz off the field to a degree, his role in the pass offense has been declining over the years, as he’s called on to block more, while Ertz handles the pass plays. Celek has certainly had a solid career, but he’s no longer worthy of a dynasty roster spot and his presence with the team does not concern me when it comes to Ertz.
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