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.”
The Philadelphia Eagles came into the season with many expecting a mediocre season at best: a rookie quarterback and a brand new coaching staff were a large part of that. After starting red hot by winning their first three games, the Eagles began to falter mightily after their early bye. Losing two close games on late fumbles seemed to be the tipping point for the Birds. The reasons for their low preseason rank started to come to light while the injuries and suspensions began to mount. They finished the year at a surprising 7-9 and really only missed out on the playoffs by a small handful of games. Taking that all into consideration, the future looks very bright, especially after recouping some of the picks that were given up to get their franchise quarterback.
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While the Eagles sold the farm to move up to the second pick in the 2016 draft to select this 24 year old quarterback from North Dakota State, it seems like possibly one of the best picks in the last few years. Before the season started it looked like the plan was for Wentz behind Sam Bradford, take his time to develop and to adjust to the NFL. That quickly changed when Bradford was traded to the Vikings and Wentz was named the started even after missing most of the preseason with a rib injury. All that weighing against him, Wentz was magical over the first four games of the season but began to falter.
He ended the season 18th in completion percentage and yards, but fell to 25th in touchdowns. That said, he was fifth in attempts which lead to being ninth in interceptions with 14 of them. Regardless, Wentz looked the part of an NFL quarterback, but at times looked like the rookie from an FBS school he was. With a full off-season, full training camp and hopefully some updated skill positions, Wentz should see an improvement in 2017 and beyond. He’s pencilled in as the Eagles franchise quarterback for years to come and that’s not as easy as it sounds to come by in the NFL.
The seven year vet was brought along with the new coach in Philadelphia, Doug Pederson, after spending three years with him in Kansas City. Mostly brought in as an expert to teach Bradford and Wentz what needed to be done in Pederson system, Daniel saw extremely little play time. As backups go, he’s locked into a decent length contract, and knows the system. He won’t blow everyone away if he did see the field, but he could conduct the offense. The Eagles felt comfortable only carrying the two quarterbacks into the season, speaking volumes about how they feel about Daniel as the backup.
The 29-year-old Mathews was in his second season with Philadelphia and struggled strongly to either win the job as the outright RB1 or really produce except for two games. He did however, bring along his injury prone ways, missing three games and only starting in eight. He managed 660 yards on 155 attempts posting 4.3 yards per rate, third on the team. He did bail out fantasy owners by rushing for eight touchdowns. He barely factored into the passing game only hauling in 13 passes for 115 yards. He is still under contract for 2017 and I expect him to be on the roster however, he is cuttable with only a one million dollar dead cap amount. The Eagles would be wise to snag a running back in this coming draft as it’s very deep at the position. I could also see them taking one in the first round depending on who is available. If they do this, Mathews may not be on the roster come next season.
Surprisingly the 33-year-old running back was the flashiest on the team. He only carried the ball 94 times but managed a 4.7 yard average. He also caught 52 balls for 427 yards which gave him the third most receptions on the team. In a testament to his longevity he moved to eighth on the career all-purpose yards list. Sproles signed a one year extension with the Eagles meaning he will definitely be back for 2017 and they need him. He could be a nice one year rental for fantasy owners as a PPR running back.
The rookie back out of West Virginia was just ‘alright’ in his first year in the NFL. He ran the ball 77 times for 312 yards and a 4.1 rate per rush. He looked okay on the field, decent speed to the hole and was good in pass pro. He may be able to become a premier backup or change of pace back in the NFL but at this time he doesn’t really look like a workhorse. When Mathews missed time, Smallwood stepped in and while his stats did get better the more carries he saw per game, he never really broke out.
The third year man out of Oregon only saw 27 carries and missed some time for the third year in a row. He did work some on returns but there isn’t much to see here.
This undrafted converted RB/WR bounced around on the practice squad and saw extremely limited work. He is a project player but was a good athlete at Oregon and has nice size for the NFL; he just needs to develop to be more than a deep depth player.
In his third year, many hoped this would be the breakout year for Matthews, but he had his worst of the three. He managed 73 receptions (second on the team) for 800 yards and only three touchdowns, leaving him nearly unstartable for fantasy owners. On the field, I thought Matthews looked better than years past, but he again struggled when on the outside. He was 14th in drops this year with six while the team dropped a total of 24, which was tied for sixth in the league. He needs strong presence on the outside to really shine as the oversized slot receiver that he is. I believe his 2017 will be much improved if the Eagles are able to get some more talent at the receiver position. Many mock drafts have them taking either Corey Davis or Mike Williams in the first and it’s a major position of need for Philadelphia. I do think this could help Matthews do what he does best and he may even be a buy if the price is right.
I had to go pretty far down the receptions list to find the next wide receiver and Agholor was even tied with Dorial Green-Beckham, recording a measly 36 receptions even though both played 14 games. The former first round pick out of USC has been a major disappointment for the Eagles and it started to mess with his mindset as well. He was sat for a game after expressing his mental state to the media and continued to be quiet after. With a build similar to Jeremy Maclin’s, Agholor should be more suited for an outside role. Perhaps it’s just the next in line of things that need to be undone from previous head coach Chip Kelly. Any early rookie selection or veteran signing could threaten his role in this offense.
Traded from the Tennessee Titans for a backup offensive lineman, this 6-5, 225 lb receiver out of Missouri hasn’t played up to his size quite yet. I think it was a good trade for the Eagles and still believe that Green-Beckham can produce at a high level, especially in the red zone. He missed an entire year of football development during college and that really shows on the field. He managed the same number of catches and touchdowns as Agholor with slightly higher yards. Green-Beckham needs time to develop into a NFL receiver but he has the size that many covet. If it can be done, he could be a huge (did I mention he’s #tall) asset to real NFL and fantasy teams, IF being the key word.
Promoted to the active roster after Josh Huff was cut for off-the-field issues, Treggs was used as a deep field burner to little effect. He looked speedy on the deep routes and was targeted a few times to keep defense honest. While he underwhelmed, the need for a deep presence on the team was clearly evident. I don’t expect too much from him going forward but it is a name to monitor if the Eagles don’t bring in a true field stretcher.
Somehow Turner became a fan favorite during the preseason and many were clamouring for him to see more play time after the stumbles of Nelson Agholor. He did lead the league in receptions during the preseason even though that was against much lesser talent. In the end, he only saw the field for four games and only recorded a target in three of them – potentially a misstep by the coaching staff for not getting him involved earlier. He showcased strong hands and a route-running ability that seemed to be severely lacking from the active receivers. Turner was a two year starter in college so he may have been a liability on the field, limiting his real game time potential. He’s name to keep on the mind as one of the deepest of sleepers out there, he could develop into a possession type receiver in the future.
The leading receiver on the team Ertz walked away with a decent line of 78 catches for 816 yards with four scores to his credit, while a decent chunk of that came on his annual week 17 blow up game. That was good enough to be a TE1 on the season even after missing two games. The tight ends were heavily featured in this offense and should be a focal point moving forward. Ertz managed four games with double digit targets and turned it on as the year ended. The fifth year man out of Stanford should be the primary receiving tight end even if his blocking is suspect at times.
You didn’t know his name before this year but Burton was fourth on the team in receptions and played rather well as the second tight end on the field. He went undrafted in 2014 and was a major contributor on special teams the following two years. With Brent Celek getting older, Burton finally got his opportunity to be a key offensive player. He was used as a possession receiver and made a few key catches to keep drives alive. He even had a sideline audition as a long snapper in week 14 and won the job after injuries hit the starters. Look to Burton to continue to improve, but don’t hold your breath for a startable player just yet unless there is an injury to Ertz. He could be a stable asset in a deep two tight end league if you are desperate.
The 32 year old tight end actually out-snapped Burton but was used almost exclusively as a blocker, notching only 14 receptions on 19 targets. I don’t expect him to improve on those numbers much going forward. He is locked up in a cheap contract till 2019 and he will be on the roster till then.
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