The Philadelphia Eagles did not have a great season, given their expectations and that they are now two seasons removed from the Super Bowl. The wide receiver corps completely fell apart and Jordan Howard couldn’t shake a nerve issue to end the season. Still, they won the NFC little brother division, the NFC East, where the Seahawks bounced them in the Wild Card Round. What, then, should we remember from a disappointing Philadelphia Eagles 2019 for our 2020 fantasy football drafts?
What to Remember from the 2019 Philadelphia Eagles Season
- Of all rookie running backs who logged significant touches last season, who do you think scored the most fantasy points per touch? Well, given that this is the Philadelphia Eagles part of the series, I hope you answered Miles Sanders. Sanders also ended the year as the highest-scoring rookie running back, but a lot of that had to do with Josh Jacobs going in-and-out of the lineup at the end of 2019 with a shoulder injury. Sanders didn’t get his opportunity until a Josh Howard stinger kept him out of the lineup, but when he took over as the starter, he averaged 18.7 touches, 98 yards, and paced out to score ten touchdowns. He’s on the upswing, so get him in your 2020 fantasy drafts.
- Nobody threw more footballs to tight ends than the Eagles in 2020 (219 targets). That makes sense, given their decimated receiving corps (more on that later) and the Zach Ertz & Dallas Goedert’s presence on the squad. However, the Eagles ranked #1 or #2 in tight end targets in each of the last for seasons. For 2020, Ertz and Goedert both finished in the top-ten at tight end, and Goedert, like Sanders, is on a career upswing. Dallas Goedert already had a mini-breakout last year and posted more efficient numbers than Ertz. Goedert ranked #14 in fantasy points per route among TEs last year (min 10% target share), and Ertz sixteenth. Both represent top-ten value on draft day, but Ertz goes as a top-five TE, and Goedert outside the top-ten. Take the value here.
- The Eagles lost a lot of wide receiver targets to injury. Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery led their wide receivers in starts with ten. For reference, Emmanuel Sanders joined the 49ers on Halloween and played in ten games for them. There’s an idea that the Eagles churned through wide receivers but they… didn’t. Only five wide receivers received a target for the Eagles last season, which ranked second-to-last. In reality, they funneled more targets to the tight ends (see above) and guys like Boston Scott. The Eagles stashed Scott on the practice squad and on special teams until they needed him. In the last four games, Scott received 25 targets, which comes out to a 100-target pace. He turned those targets into 50 receiving yards per game. He also chipped in 38 rushing yards, turning him into a late-season force that tipped the balance in some fantasy leagues.
- It’s difficult to overstate my disappointment with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside’s rookie campaign. The second-round pick went off the board before rookie producers like D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin, and Hunter Renfrow. Then, he just disappeared. I chronicled already the difficulty keeping wide receivers on the field for the Eagles, but JJAW didn’t miss a game, he just remained buried in depth charts. Thirty-two rookie wide receivers had at least ten targets last year, and JJAW ranked eighteenth in fantasy points per target. He went in the second round… nobody else in the bottom half of WRs meeting that criteria went earlier than the sixth round (except Parris Campbell, who gets an injury pass from me). Nine went undrafted. He had plenty of opportunities, but it was just an overwhelmingly disappointing rookie campaign from JJAW.
- Carson Wentz finally put together a second sixteen-game season in his four years in the league. 2019 also marked the second time in three years that Wentz finished within the top-ten at quarterbacks. I’ve already detailed above the war of attrition that went on in the Eagles’ receiving room, which makes Wentz’s achievements more impressive. The reason for Wentz’s return to form isn’t difficult. Twenty-eight quarterbacks started at least ten games last season, and Wentz ranked sixth in TDs minus interceptions. In short, Wentz throws a lot of touchdowns (fifth-most) and not a lot of interceptions (tenth-fewest). That’s really what you’re looking for from a quarterback. A successful quarterback in the National Football League is a quarterback that throws a lot of touchdowns, and a quarterback that does not throw a lot of interce—Booger McFarland? How did you get here?