The 2013 NFL season is underway and the Philadelphia Eagles are less than 24 hours away from kicking off the season against the Washington Redskins. Even though the season has started, fans continue their fantasy drafts. In this edition of the Philadelphia Eagles Fantasy Football Preview, the tight ends, kicker and defense/special teams will be looked at.
With Chip Kelly bringing a new offensive scheme to the Eagles, it remains to be seen exactly how the tight ends will be used. Kelly mentioned before about using three tight end sets, but he surprised a lot of people when he sent his offense out into a four tight end set during the preseason. That little bit of information shows that Kelly may have quite a few plays designed around the tight ends.
Brent Celek — Celek is the number one tight end on the Eagles roster and will likely be Michael Vick's go-to tight end in the two or more tight end sets. Celek may get even more targets this season because of the injury that has sidelined Jeremy Maclin for the season. Celek had seven catches in the preseason which is more than he has had in the seasons since his rookie year. If that is any indication of the Vick/Celek chemistry, this season could be a good one for Celek. Celek has always been one of the safer picks for tight end because he is used consistently and produces.
For Fantasy Football 2012, Celek was ranked 14th at tight end and 140th overall. After only bringing in one touchdown last season, Celek dropped to 25th on ESPN's Fantasy Football 2013 Top 50 Tight Ends list and 244th overall on ESPN's Fantasy Football Top 300 for 2013 list.
Currently Celek is owned in 14.2% of ESPN fantasy leagues and is usually a late round pick. As of right now, Celek would be a wise backup option until you see exactly how many passes will be heading his way.
James Casey — Casey is the Eagles' second starting tight end and will be another big man for Vick to target. Casey can also double has a halfback so he could see time in two different positions. However, he probably won't see as much playing time as Celek or get nearly as many passes his way.
Casey isn't ranked on ESPN's Top 300 for 2013 list, but he is ranked 44th on ESPN's Fantasy Football 2013 Top 50 Tight Ends list. He is only owned in 0.2% of ESPN's fantasy leagues and he is most likely on the bench in those leagues. The best option for you and your fantasy teams is to avoid drafting Casey and go for Celek or the other starting tight ends available.
Zach Ertz / Emil Igwenagu — A rookie and a player who spent almost all of last season on the Eagles' practice squad. Both players aren't expected to get a lot of playing time. That should be enough information for you to make a decision for your fantasy team.
Alex Henery — With the up-tempo offense, Henery should get a lot of opportunities for extra points and field goals. Henery has only missed seven field goals in 58 attempts since his rookie season in 2011. Most of his field goals have come from under 40 yards (29) since his rookie season. However, he has hit 19 from beyond 40, with three of them from 50-plus.
Ranked 19th on ESPN's Fantasy Football 2013 Top 35 Kickers, Henery may be the sleeper out of the bunch. He may not be Steven Gostkowski of the New England Patriots or former Eagle David Akers,who is now with the Detroit Lions, but Henery can produce and he is consistent. With the up-temp offense and the possibility of more scoring chances, Henery should be a "must draft" player, even if it is as a backup. Expect his numbers to be better than last season.
In years past, the Eagles defense was usually a top choice in fantasy football leagues. After their performance in the preseason, there is only one piece of advice for you: Stay away! it is too risky to choose the Eagles as you defense for fantasy leagues as the Eagles secondary had a lot of issues in the preseason, whether it be injuries or poor performance. Unless, by some miracle, they come out strong in the first couple of games, your best option is to draft a different defense. Even if they do get hot, you should still stay away from them because you don't know how long it will last. There are more consistent defenses out there to get.
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