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 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.”
Super Bowl Champions. Congratulations, Philadelphia.
The Eagles had a ton of fantasy-relevant options in 2017. Many players produced as the league’s tied second-best scoring offense thrived under head coach Doug Pederson. Naturally, things will change with the losses of offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, but the core will remain the same.
Let’s take a closer look at how their dynasty assets performed and how to approach them moving forward.
Carson Wentz (25)
One of the key men in changing the belief and attitude of Philadelphia will similarly have turned good fantasy teams into league-winners in 2017. At just 25, the quarterback who would likely have been the NFL’s MVP if it weren’t for his ACL injury is now one of dynasty’s most valuable assets.
Wentz threw for 3,296 yards (241.1 per game) with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He had a 101.9 passer rating. The second-year star added 299 yards on the ground but couldn’t find the end zone. In fantasy leagues, he was third on a points-per-game basis, behind only Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson.
Right now, Wentz is ranked as the QB1 in DLF’s ADP data and having him anywhere in your top tier is just fine. He might not have convinced everyone to drive out Aaron Rodgers or Wilson from their top spot in 1QB leagues but it’s hard to argue against building a 2QB roster around him. No quarterback is worth giving up a king’s ransom for in a standard league, but you can feel comfortable having Wentz as your starter for a very long time.
Nick Foles (29)
Can you believe it? From almost retiring to Super Bowl LII MVP, Foles’ journey has been simply astounding. And his career could just be getting started. His postseason stats this year were insane: 77 of 106 (72.6%), 971 yards (327.3 per game), six touchdowns, one interception, a 115.7 passer rating, and most importantly, one ring. We saw he has what it takes to perform on the biggest stage, but what’s next?
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He’s set to earn $7.6 million next season – 23rd among quarterbacks. It’s starter money. However, will he even get the opportunity to join a new team in 2018? From a personnel standpoint, it makes a whole lot of sense for the Eagles to hold and only sell if they get a top offer. Wentz may be limited over the summer, and there’s no more clear case for having a top backup than what we’ve just seen. In terms of salary, moving him would make sense as Philadelphia will be looking to free up cap space.
In dynasty, well done to those of you who scooped him up after Wentz went down – the only way was up, and it still is. However, as long as he’s an Eagle behind their face of the franchise, he’s not of great worth. If Foles ends up starting somewhere, you can place him in the QB20-25 range until he shows his regular season prowess.
Nate Sudfeld (24)
A sixth-round pick by Washington in 2016, Sudfeld completed an impressive 19 of 23 passes in Philadelphia’s season finale against Dallas (83%), setting an NFL record for completion percentage in a quarterback’s first start. However, he’s simply not in a position to hold dynasty value – even in deep 2QB and superflex leagues.
Jay Ajayi (24)
It was a rollercoaster year for Ajayi, and for his dynasty owners. Take a look at his ADP over the last couple of seasons:
I was certainly in the group who believed he’d play a large part in Miami’s offense this season, and he did to begin with. Ajayi averaged just under 20 carries per game through the first seven games with the Dolphins but underwhelmed with fantasy production. He didn’t score a touchdown in any of those games.
After being flipped to Philadelphia for a fourth-round pick, it was a different story. He was much less involved (15 or fewer attempts in all but one game), but much more efficient (5.8 yards per carry compared to 3.4 in Miami).
Moving forward, his value will largely depend on what happens in the Eagles’ backfield this off-season. As I’ll go on to explain, there could be major changes that leave Ajayi as the top man behind the best offensive line in the league, or he could be part of one of the more crowded backfields in football.
LeGarrette Blount (31, UFA)
In all likelihood, Blount’s owners treated him the same way this season as they did in the previous year. Is he extremely cheap? Yes. Does he have the potential to vulture his team’s touchdowns? Absolutely. However, while in 2016 he had a league-winning 299 carries, 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns, this season his production dropped significantly. Blount only managed 766 yards and two scores all year as part of a rotation.
With the Eagles in a serious salary cap bind, it seems a reasonable scenario Blount is released, despite a minor $1.25 million cap hit. In Philadelphia, Blount’s dynasty value has all but disappeared. Elsewhere, it’ll be the same. Don’t keep him on your rosters over younger players with more tantalizing upside.
Corey Clement (23)
Clement is the type of player we love to root for: an undrafted free agent and hard-worker who pushed his way up the depth chart (with a little help along the way). As we saw from his seven-touch, 108-yard performance in the Super Bowl, he has a great skill set, particularly as a receiver. Just like James White in the previous Super Bowl, it’s hard to put a ceiling on what he can do moving forward
However, again like White, Clement’s regular season usage likely tells more of the story. He only had 123 receiving yards during the year, but 100 in that game. He’d never gone over 43 receiving yards in a game before – throughout the whole of his college and NFL career. He only touched the ball more than ten times in a game once all season and was the third runner in the pecking order.
Clement might be a useful asset in deep leagues and someone whose value could rise because of the uncertainty ahead of him, but I wouldn’t go out seeking to buy him.
Darren Sproles (34, UFA)
From a rushing standpoint, Sproles actually had his most volume-heavy season in 2016 with a career-high 94 attempts (438 yards). However, his fantasy relevance has always been tied to his receiving contributions.
He is obviously one of the all-time greats as a receiver from the backfield, but his fantasy ceiling is unlikely to be there in 2018. If he’s back in Philly, his return skills will be utilized for a splash play or two. But that’s not what we’re looking for. He’s worth rostering, but don’t have high expectations moving forward.
Donnel Pumphrey (23), Wendell Smallwood (24) and Kenjon Barner (28, UFA)
In a running back class that had tremendous depth and a long list of rookie contributors, the all-time leader in NCAA Division I FBS rushing yards was nowhere to be seen as he was placed on IR before the season. Until Pumphrey does something, it’s not essential he’s on a roster. Smallwood doesn’t contribute enough in the passing game or special teams and could be cut for a minimal loss. Barner returned punts with Sproles out of the mix but isn’t worth rostering.
Alshon Jeffery (28)
Jeffery is currently a case of a perfect pairing of last year’s finish and current dynasty value. He finished as the PPR WR22 and is the 22nd receiver in the ADP data (38th overall). While he didn’t top 100 yards in a game all year or reach the heights of his 1,421-yard season in 2013 or his 85-catch, 10-TD season in 2014, he had a solid first season in Philly.
The targets were there (120), and while this looks to be a ‘share the wealth’-type offense under Pederson, Jeffery’s production could grow as Wentz improves. Having earned a four-year, $52-million deal in December, he will be tied to his young QB for a while. Jeffery is simply a solid asset to have on your dynasty teams.
Nelson Agholor (24)
On a team with comeback stories all over, Agholor’s turnaround shouldn’t be understated. In 2016, he finished with just 36 catches, 365 yards, and two touchdowns. More importantly, he had lost all confidence – and it clearly showed with drop after drop and the odd penalty sprinkled in. With hard work, resilience and the help of new receivers coach Mike Groh, Agholor turned himself around and finished the 2017 season with 62 grabs, 768 yards, and eight TDs. He also caught nine balls for 84 yards in the biggest game of them all.
In our latest ADP, he is ranked 69th overall and 36th among wide receivers – despite the fact he’s a 24-year-old receiver who finished the year as the PPR WR24. I believe it’s more likely his owners are happy and willing to hold than non-owners are looking to buy – and that totally makes sense. While he may not have a 1,000-plus, 10-plus TD season in the cards, similar numbers to last year wouldn’t be a surprise. If he can be your dynasty WR3, you should be very happy.
Torrey Smith (29)
From a contract versus production perspective, Smith should be straight out of the door. If the Eagles weren’t so successful, I’d all but guarantee it. He is due to make $5 million in 2018 if Philadelphia picks up his option in March – but I can’t see it happening. More likely, if he returns, it will be on a new deal. That said, he managed just 36 catches, 430 yards and two scores in 2017. He isn’t worth owning in dynasty leagues – wherever he ends up.
Mack Hollins (24)
Hollins has many dynasty analysts excited with his height-weight-speed combination, and if Smith is released, look for a hype train to build steam. My concern is: while he is an outstanding blocker, special-teamer, and a top deep threat; what if that’s all he is? You can play a great role for your team, but that doesn’t mean it translates to fantasy success. I’d hold off on a heavy investment unless he can make it through the summer without added competition from free agency or the NFL Draft.
Marcus Johnson (23) and Shelton Gibson (22)
Don’t roster either of these youngsters who played sparingly all season.
Zach Ertz (27)
Ertz joined the big boys at the tight end position this season, finally putting up the touchdown total (8) to match his top performances. He’s now recorded three straight seasons of 70-plus catches and 800-plus yards and at 27 years of age, still has room to grow.
He’s slipped into third place in tight end ADP behind Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce. Owners should be chuffed to have any of these three.
Trey Burton (26, UFA)
Having played very well when given the opportunity as an Eagle, Burton may have earned himself a payday at a position where it’s hard to find talented weapons. If Philadelphia somehow manages to bring him back, his upside is somewhat capped behind Ertz. However, if he heads to new territory, Burton could be worth a flier.
Brent Celek (33)
The 11th-year long-time Eagle finally got his ring, and that could signal the end of the road. If he doesn’t retire, he will likely be cut to save the team $4 million. Don’t touch him in dynasty.
As well as editing for DLF, James writes for Sky Sports and can be found on Twitter at @JS_Football