After examining the fantasy football implications for the Philadelphia Eagles running backs last week, time to move on to the wide receivers. Though letting best deep threat in wide receiver DeSean Jackson go will affect their game-plan, this is a much deeper group than the 2013 season. With the return of players from injury, as well as new rookies added to the depth chart, there will plenty of options for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.
Now what can you expect for those pass catchers heading into 2014 on your fantasy team?
Maclin is returning from his second major knee injury, but has been a consistent threat for the Philadelphia Eagles for most of his career. He has never eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark in any season, but led the team in yardage in 2011 and touchdowns 2010 and 2012. At 26 years old, Maclin is just entering his prime at the position, while playing on a one year “show me” deal. With Jackson now gone, Maclin will be relied upon as the top target and deep threat for the Eagles fast-paced offense.
Concerns about his knee will make most fantasy players hesitant to select him early and he may not even be the first Philadelphia wide receiver taken in your draft. But when it comes to fantasy potential, Maclin certainly has the highest ceiling for anyone on the roster. If he has a clean bill of health, he should be a viable depth option for your fantasy team, with the ability to be a sleeper as a true No. 1 wide out.
Projection: 1,007 yards, 8 touchdowns
Cooper had a breakout campaign in 2013, where he finally received consistent playing time, filling in for Maclin. He was a solid flex option for most of last season, with his big play potential, including 8 touchdowns. As another wide receiver at 26, he has shown great development over the past year and hopes are that will continue into this upcoming season. He is a big body, with good hands and has a great rapport with Nick Foles; all of which making him good depth at wide out for a later round pick.
Many will wonder if Cooper’s 2013 season was a fluke, or a product of Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly’s system. Either way he will be available and could be a viable starter, if he continues to become comfortable within the offense. Since he was actually on the field last year, expect him to be the first Eagles off the board though.
Projection: 923 yards, 9 touchdowns
After falling to the second round, Matthews has a real opportunity to be an early producer and rookie of the year candidate. The release of Jackson and now Carolina Panthers wide receiver Jason Avant has left an opening for the youngster to get significant playing time in his first season. He is a crisp route runner with sure hands that fits within Kelly’s system. Add in the fact that he led the SEC in receiving yards last season, and is worthy of a spot on a fantasy roster.
Though the reports out of Philadelphia’s camp states that Matthews is exceeding expectations, he will likely still be eased into the starting lineup. He could be a nice option to stash away for later in the season if your roster settings allow it.
Projection: 593 yards, 6 touchdowns
Even though he was a third round pick, do not expect too much from Huff in his rookie season. He does know the offense playing under Chip Kelly at Oregon, which may get him an advantage against the other young wide outs. But Huff will be fighting with the likes of Matthews, running back Darren Sproles and the tight ends for catches out of the slot position.
If Huff can wow with his knowledge of the playbook, he may be able to steal some playing time from the veterans. He will likely be used in spread formations with four to five wide outs. As a fantasy option, he should be on your watch list but certainly not taking up a valuable roster spot early on in the season.
Projection: 243 yards, 2 touchdowns
The group of Arrelious Benn, Jeff Maehl, Brad Smith, Ifeayni Momah and Damaris Johnson will see probably only two (at most) make the roster. Smith could bring value if you are awarded return points for yardage. The rest will see limited time with Benn having the greatest potential to show any signs of production because he has some proven ability.