We at Razzball realize that exporting our views across the country has damaging consequences on the blogosphere. To help make amends, we are reaching out to leading team blogs and featuring their locally blogged answers to pressing 2010 fantasy football questions regarding their team. We feel this approach will be fresher, more sustainable, and require less energy consumption (for us anyway). The 2010 Philadelphia Eagles Fantasy Football Preview comes courtesy of our friends over at The 700 Level.
1. Coach Reid seemed to have an aversion to LeSean McCoy late last season. After week 12 he only had one game with double digit carries. It’s not as if Westbrook had a ton of carries, but he did average over 15 in his prime. Do you see McCoy being used in the same way as Westy this season? Can he come close to his production?
The running game is always a little touch and go in the Eagles’ offense of course. The main difference this year though is LeSean McCoy is the man now. A variety of factors limited his touches down the stretch. He was sharing the ball carrying duties, partly because he wasn’t a dependable blocker yet, and particularly in the Dallas games, the offense couldn’t sustain drives and fell behind quickly, which led to their abandoning the run early.
The good news is he’s the primary back now, so there’s no hiding him on the bench. However, it’s still not fair to expect Brian Westbrook numbers. For three seasons, Westbrook was an elite back in every sense of the word, and he benefited from some very solid offensive lines as well. Not only do the Eagles have question marks there, but McCoy could have a nice NFL career even if it never peaks like Westbrook’s. Plus, Leonard Weaver should once again play a significant role.
Here’s the key: all Westbrook comparisons aside, the Eagles do the bulk of their conventional running when they’re ahead in the second half. If McCoy is going to average 15 carries, you have to assume they are winning some games in 2010.
2. DeSean Jackson was playing on another plane last season. Is there any way he can keep up that ridiculous yards per catch? Does Maclin cut into his production this season?
Can any starter maintain 18.6 yards per catch from one season to the next? It’s incredibly unlikely. That doesn’t mean he’s in for a down year, it’s just being realistic. Now whether he remains at an insane number, or reverts to his more reasonable rookie average (or lower) depends on how he adapts to the changes in the offense.
The Eagles weren’t running a traditional West Coast Offense under Donovan McNabb because he struggles with shorter/quicker passes. They focused on throwing the ball downfield, which created many big play opportunities for DeSean. Kevin Kolb is expected to come in and run the system the way it was designed. That makes it the receiver’s job to gain yards after the catch.
I don’t think there’s any doubt his YPC drops, but that doesn’t mean it must fall off a cliff. There will be plenty of big play opportunities, and Jackson is incredibly elusive, so every time he touches the ball from anywhere on the field, there’s a chance he’ll put six on the board. One thing is for sure: the development of Jeremy Maclin or anybody else won’t keep Jackson from getting his.
3. Kevin Kolb put up great fantasy numbers in his 2 starts last season. He seems to have the skill, the right offense, and the weapons to be a great fantasy quarterback. What could hold him back from being a top 10 QB this season? Does Michael Vick take away many scoring opportunities in the red zone this season?
The only thing that can possibly keep Kevin Kolb from being a top 10 fantasy quarterback this season is if he simply isn’t that good. We have to be careful not to over-analyze two starts. No matter how good they were (and both were excellent), two quality games in the NFL can be an abberation. He has all the weapons though. The interior of the offensive line is a concern, but the offense should begin to rely on more quick drops, which will alleviate some of the pressure.
A lot of people might not be ready to hear this or believe it, but the Eagles might even be better now, or at least more consistent. Quicker passes are safer, easier to complete, and result in shorter down and distance than an incomplete pass or a sack, ultimately leading to a higher percentage of first downs. McNabb has leaned much more heavily on the intermediate or deep pass, which are fantastic when everybody is in rhythm, but can stagnate the entire offense when things aren’t working properly.
This is the same reason why Michael Vick may not take away many scoring chances in the red zone. The Eagles haven’t really been a great red zone team under McNabb in recent years. Kolb is said to excel at throwing into windows, which is what the quarterback needs to be able to do on a shortened field. It might be easier to stick with their base personnel now.
4. Every fantasy position on the Eagles seems to have a capable fantasy-type player holding it down. Who is waiting in the wings,that given the opportunity, could break out?
It has to be Brent Celek. You could obviously make the case he already did break out, but it might have been the tip of the iceberg. Go back and look at what he did in two games with Kolb. 8 catches for 104 yards in each, including a TD against the Chiefs. These guys are in sync. They were drafted together, practiced together, were roommates at training camps. Young quarterbacks love their tight ends, too. I hope nobody from my league is reading this, because it’s pretty clear who I want playing tight end on my team this season.
If something were to happen to him though, you’re still looking at the tight ends for somebody waiting in the wings. Cornelius Ingram missed all of his rookie season with an ACL tear, but fans had high hopes for the talented Florida Gator, and they added little-known Clay Harbor in the fourth round of draft out of Missouri State, who is said to be even more athletic than Griffin. I can’t see any reserves being able to have more of an immediate impact than either of those players.
5. For the IDP players out there, how do you see Brandon Graham doing this season? He doesn’t seem like a huge run stopper, but could get to the QB in a defense that’s good for fantasy. Will he be the starter?
Tough question. Will he be the starter? No, at least not initially, but he will see significant playing time. Juqua Parker isn’t the solution at LDE though, and seems to wear down over time, so Graham could be the starter by the end of the season.
Defensive end is one of the most difficult positions to project coming out of the draft. Some people believe he’s a preseason favorite for Rookie of the Year, and others are naturally more pessimistic. For what it’s worth, I liked the pick, and from the little I’ve seen, he seems to have some ability. If he reaches eight sacks in 2010, that would be impressive.