Even though the first game of the 2013 NFL season, the Denver Broncos against the Baltimore Ravens, is tomorrow night, fans will continue to do fantasy drafts. The Philadelphia Eagles get their season started on the road when they take on the Washington Redskins in the first of two Monday Night Football games. Before the season gets started, here is a look at the Eagles wide receivers in the latest edition of the Philadelphia Eagles Fantasy Football Preview.
Jeremy Maclin — This is just a friendly reminder to NOT draft Maclin in fantasy football this year due to the fact he is out for the season with an ACL injury.
DeSean Jackson — Honestly, you can't go wrong with drafting Jackson. He is a big play guy and Vick's favorite target. When Maclin went down with the ACL injury, Jackson was automatically promoted to being the number one wide receiver on the roster. Some may disagree, but Jackson has never been the number one receiver until now because Maclin was the better receiver. Jackson should get even more looks from Vick this season and that means more fantasy points for your team.
Jackson was ranked 27th at wide receiver and 71st overall in fantasy football last year. This year he is ranked 27th on ESPN's Fantasy Football 2013 Top 120 Wide Receivers list and 68th overall on ESPN's Fantasy Football Top 300 for 2013 list.
The only issue with Jackson is that he doesn't go over the middle. It's been like that ever since he got crushed in the Atlanta Falcons game a few years ago and it seems like he has been afraid to go over the middle ever since. Even with that issue, he still produces, but not as much as he could if he went over the middle. Teams know that Jackson is the deep threat and doesn't go over the middle. If they shut down the outside and the deep play, Jackson is pretty much useless. You can see this in the fact his touchdown totals and catches per game has been steadily decreasing over the past few seasons.
Maybe this season will be different now that Jackson has been promoted to being the number one receiver in Maclin's absence. A bigger work load is being placed on his shoulders and with a new head coach in Chip Kelly, Jackson should not be given special treatment with the routes he runs.
Jackson only brought in 146.3 fantasy points last season, averaging 9.1 per game. ESPN projects Jackson to bring in 198.5 points for his fantasy owners this season. He could even break 200 points this season depending on how many times he is targeted this season. Remember that Chip Kelly's offense is going to be fast-paced and that means more plays for Jackson to get targeted in. More passes his way means more points for your fantasy team.
Jackson is owned in 100% of the ESPN Fantasy Football leagues and usually goes within the first three rounds. He's a sure bet, just like visiting MJR Sports Integrity for all of your Philadelphia Eagles memorabilia!
Riley Cooper — Cooper was originally going to be the second backup wide receiver this season behind Arrelious Benn. However, Benn was the second receiver to tear his ACL during training camp. Before the injury, Benn was going to be replacing Maclin after he got hurt. The second starting wide receiver job pretty much fell right into the hands of Cooper.
Cooper's fantasy value wasn't that high last season because the Eagles had both Maclin and Jackson playing. This season, Cooper is ranked 79th on ESPN's Fantasy Football Top 120 Wide Receivers list and 230th overall on ESPN's Fantasy Football Top 300 for 2013 list.
With Cooper as the number two receiver now, his fantasy value may be undervalued. he will be seeing a lot more passes coming his way this season than he has had in previous years. In fantasy football last year, Cooper only brought in 67.3 points for his owners, averaging 4.2 per game. He is projected to bring in 97.8 point this year for ESPN Fantasy Football players, but he could very likely bring in more points than that considering his position on the team now.
Cooper is only owned in 2.9% of ESPN Fantasy Football leagues. If you decide not to draft him, keep an eye on him as a possible waiver claim during the season. The first few games of the season should give you an idea of his fantasy value.
Jason Avant — Avant remains the Eagles' slot receiver. Depending on how Cooper handles being the second starting wide receiver, Avant could see even more passes coming his way. Avant is probably the second best receiver on the current 53-man roster, sitting just behind Jackson. While he can make the catches, he really hasn't made any plays after the catch. He managed to eclipse 100 receiving yards (133) only once last season. He had no touchdowns last season and hasn't score more than three times in a season. These things might change this season with Kelly's new system and the fact that Avant may be targeted more this season.
Avant is ranked 80th on ESPN's Fantasy Football 2013 Top 120 Wide Receivers list and sits at 231st overall on ESPN's Fantasy Football Top 300 for 2013 list. He brought in 123.3 fantasy points for his owners last season and is projected to bring in less than that this season with the the projection at 115.2. With the possibility of Avant being targeted more this season, his numbers may actually be higher than that. It is worth keeping an eye on him over the first couple of games this season to see if Vick does go to Avant more than usual. However, he is not a huge point producer for fantasy leagues.
Currently, Avant is owned in 1.7% of ESPN fantasy leagues. If he does produce some decent numbers this season, you will at least know he will still be available by the time you want to pick him up.
Damaris Johnson / Jeff Maehl — Johnson and Maehl have no fantasy draft value. They may see some action this season, but with Jackson, Cooper and Avant playing ahead of them, it is very unlikely they have any fantasy production. Johnson isn't owned in any fantasy leagues and Maehl is owned in 0.1%. That's all the evidence you need about them.
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- Philadelphia Eagles Fantasy Football Preview – Running Backs
- Philadelphia Eagles Fantasy Football Preview – Quarterbacks
- Philadelphia Eagles 2013 Offseason Acquisitions (Part 10) – Arrelious Benn, Wide Receiver
- Philadelphia Eagles Trade for Wide Receiver Jeff Maehl
- Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Jumps into Pool from Balcony
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