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.”
Carson Wentz (ADP: 95.5, QB8)
After a decent-to-good rookie season, Wentz exploded in year two with 33 touchdowns, 250 yards per game and a 101.9 passer rating until tearing his ACL late in the season. For fantasy owners, he was a stud, averaging 25.1 points per game, behind only Russell Wilson (25.7) and Deshaun Watson (28.6).
Then, as tends to happen to any quarterback who reaches the peak, he didn’t live up to the lofty fantasy expectations. During his spectacular 2017, Wentz reached a dynasty ADP of 41.75, and was in the conversation for QB1 overall. Now, after a 2018 season in which he missed the start and end to the season through injuries and never looked fully healthy and comfortable, he’s dropped all the way down to the bottom of the top 100.
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Quarterbacks have up-and-down years. Most score similarly. Buying one cheap and them exceeding expectations can be a league-winning method. We know all of these things, yet most of what we tend to see and hear right now is extreme: E.g. “Wentz is overrated, injury-prone and the second-best quarterback on the roster.” Realistically, however, he’s going to be a full-time starter for a strong offense with a good head coach for many years to come.
So after two freak injuries – not injury-prone, recurring problems – we have a good-to-great player at a medium-to-good price. That sounds like a good buy to me.
Nick Foles (219.67, QB27)
The last two years have been the best ever for Eagles fans. But the Foles rollercoaster is over. He came within a hair of reaching the NFC championship game for a second year running with another strong display down the stretch in 2018. In last year’s postseason, he was spectacular. In last year’s regular season and to start this one, he was erratic.
What we do you know is: He is a gamer, a baller. What we don’t know is if he can be a season-long fantasy starter. There’s a chance the Eagles slap the franchise tag on Foles, but likely only so they can trade him to a paying team. Whether he’s tagged or his contract expires, he is very likely to be a new team, and that location will determine his dynasty price (and production).
As he’s currently ranked as the QB27, ask yourself: Is there a spot where his fantasy value will explode? Is there somewhere it’s likely to platoon completely? How likely are either of those scenarios? Then you have the answer of what to do with him in fantasy leagues.
Nate Sudfeld (N/A)
We haven’t seen much of him but what we have seen has been impressive. Last season, he set an NFL record for completion percentage in a quarterback’s debut – 19 of 23 (83%) – and this season, he only threw two passes but one went for a touchdown. If it is actually the coach and system that helped the Eagles so easily transition from Wentz to Foles twice, maybe Sudfeld could provide some reasonable value if he ever has to step in. If you believe Wentz is likely to be injured again, find space for Sudfeld.
Jay Ajayi (112.5, RB39)
Will he, won’t he? Is he, isn’t he? Ajayi’s value has been quite the rollercoaster over the last few seasons, having peaked in the second round of startups a couple of seasons ago.
He looked to fill a need for the Eagles last season, and he did – but it was part of a committee rather than as the RB1 owners had hoped for. Unfortunately, the injury bug struck again early in 2018 and his season was cut short after just four games.
Ajayi is now an unrestricted free agent, so naturally, his landing spot and volume potential are crucial for us as owners and drafters. He’ll be on the lookout for a starting role and contract, but there’s a slim chance he’ll receive it. Therefore, his price is likely to stay in the late 30s among running backs – or later – and at that point, if he’s in a muddled but unconvincing backfield, he might be worth another shot as your RB4/5.
Corey Clement (218, RB78)
Although Clement was impressive as an undrafted rookie in 2017 (444 yards, six touchdowns and a huge touchdown catch in the Super Bowl), he couldn’t follow it up in 2018, posting just two TDs all season and not seeing more than ten touches in a game after week six despite little competition. He was placed on injured reserve after week 14.
What was the deal? It seems he was dealing with issues all season long and it could even last into this off-season. With all the question marks and the fact he’d likely still only be a role player at best if fully healthy, it’s probably best not to chase Clement for your rosters.
Josh Adams (135.33, RB50)
One moment Adams was the Eagle in shining, midnight green armor ready to step in and take over the backfield. Next, he was on the sidelines for the entire postseason except for one carry in Chicago. He received 42 carries – and generated 169 yards – in back-to-back outings in weeks 11 and 12, but had just a 3.07 yards per carry average and little impact despite 44 carries in his final four regular-season appearances.
Sometimes we get a bit too excited over a good-looking running back coming out of nowhere (he almost reached the dynasty top 100 in startup mocks) but there are times to let the teams do the talking. It’s a long shot he’ll be a strong fantasy play, especially if the team makes a real effort to find new runners this summer.
Wendell Smallwood (216, RB76)
In Smallwood’s three-year career, he has proven himself to be reliable, trustworthy and a coaches favourite. But he certainly hasn’t proven himself as a fantasy asset or reliable starter. He has one year left on his contract and in all likelihood, will be back in exactly the same role. He has seven total touchdowns in 37 games, a career 4.0 yards per carry average, and has had no more than 80 rushing yards in a game. The upside simply isn’t there.
Darren Sproles (234.33, RB85)
I don’t know anyone who dislikes Sproles as a man. But as a dynasty asset, there isn’t much to like at all.
Alshon Jeffery (57, WR28)
Since Jeffery became an Eagle, he has put up 1,632 yards on 122 catches, and added 15 touchdowns. They are solid numbers, but nothing to write home about for those expecting a typical ‘WR1’.
That said, in 2017, he finished the season ranked as the dynasty WR17 after a WR17 PPR finish. This season, he’s ranked at WR28 after finished as the WR25. He looks like one of the most appropriately-valued assets around!
After missing three games, the Eagles having offensive woes, and the QB carousel in 2018, we can expect Jeffery to return to his typical WR15-25 production, so if there’s a chance to get him for cheaper, snap him up.
Nelson Agholor (126, WR58)
Agholor was all but done after the 2016 season. Plagued with drops and mistakes, he didn’t look like he was even worth rostering in dynasty leagues, falling all the way to an ADP of 238 (almost undrafted in startups).
2017 was a true fantasy comeback story, as he rose from the ashes to post 62 catches, 768 yards, eight touchdowns and a WR21 finish. However, those touchdowns were crucial, as with two more catches and just 32 fewer yards in 2018, he only managed a WR34 finish – because his touchdowns were halved.
I’d probably be looking to acquire a 25-year-old who is getting his star quarterback healthy for the first time in over a year at his current WR58 price.
Golden Tate (95.83, WR41)
How would you rate the Golden Tate trade? The third-round pick Philadelphia gave to Detroit will be the 88th overall selection in the NFL Draft, and Tate now becomes a free agent. The announcers (and plenty of people on social media) dubbed the trade a ‘success’ the moment he caught the clutch game-winning touchdown catch in Chicago when the Eagles won their wild-card matchup, however from a dynasty perspective, it’s hard to be all that impressed.
In a half season, he managed just 30 catches, 278 yards and one score. Considering it didn’t go so well, he’ll hit the open market and end up playing for the biggest bidder. Tate certainly has good PPR value – with four straight seasons of 90-plus receptions before last year – so he’ll likely enjoy an ADP spike wherever he signs due to the hope he will offer. Tate is someone I’d try to add to a deal or throw a second-round pick out for. He has plenty of juice left.
Mike Wallace (240.67, WR128)
Wallace was supposed to add a vertical threat to the Eagles’ O but suffered a broken leg in week two. He’s an unrestricted free agent, but regardless of where he lands, is probably not someone worth holding unless you play in a best ball league – you’ll never want to start him in a lineup.
Mack Hollins (238.67, WR119)
Another deep option, Hollins was presumed to be the young version of Wallace in this attack, but he couldn’t get on the field. He missed the entire season with a groin injury. I can’t see strong dynasty value and production here – he is a great special-teamer, a solid blocker but with all the mouths to feed ahead of him, won’t garner enough targets to be a weekly play.
Jordan Matthews (N/A)
After returning ‘home’ to Philly on the back of a season in Buffalo and a short time with New England, Matthews had a nice round 20 catches for 300 yards in 2018. We know who he is now: not a dynasty option.
Zach Ertz (29.33, TE2)
It is safe to say Travis Kelce is the dynasty TE1, but Ertz is not far behind him in any category. Philly’s top target finished just 16 fantasy points behind the Chief, and his total would have been good enough to finish as the WR10 (Kelce as the WR9).
Ertz broke the NFL record for receptions by a tight end in 2018 (116) and doesn’t look to be slowing down at all. In fact, he has had four straight seasons with at least 105 targets, 74 catches, 800 yards and two touchdowns. If that is the baseline (and he’s now hauled in 16 TDs in the last two years), at 28 years old, Ertz is one of the best dynasty assets in the game.
Dallas Goedert (122.67, TE12)
Count me as one of the believers in Goedert, despite having Ertz supposedly “in his way”. 1. I don’t feel the Eagles would have spent a second-round pick (and traded up) to take a great receiver they wouldn’t involve heavily, 2. There are plenty of targets to go around, 3. We’ve seen dual-tight end offenses work before, and 4. I just like him as a player.
However, it’s definitely safe to say his upside is capped with Ertz around. I.e. there’s no chance he’ll get Ertz/Kelce/George Kittle numbers, and he’s already being drafted as a (late) TE1, so can he live up to it? To finish in the top 12, he’d need roughly a 50-600-3 line, and the top six? 65-700-5. The former seems reasonable, but the latter might be asking too much. Unfortunately, I’ve been convinced: now is not a good time to invest in the second-year player.
James can be found on Twitter at @JS_Football