Fantasy Football: Week 3 Start/Sit

Trust in Jalen Hurts

By: Matt Gruber

Week three is upon us and it is time for the weekly starts and sits. This is the third installment of the 17-piece series aimed to help you make the roster decisions to give you an edge over your opponent. Let’s jump into it and win some championships.

Quarterbacks

Start: Jalen Hurts – Philadelphia Eagles

Another week, another Jalen Hurts start appearance. Like clockwork. He has been everything fantasy managers had hoped through the first two weeks. In week one it was his passing. In week two it was his rushing. With his rushing ability, Hurts provides a high floor and a high ceiling. Next up in week three is the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night football. I expect Hurts to put on a show. With the over-under set at 52.5, it will be a high-scoring affair. The Cowboys are allowing an average of 360 passing yards after two weeks of the season. Jalen Hurts is set for takeoff.  

Honorable Mentions: Sam Darnold @ HOU, Daniel Jones vs. ATL, Kirk Cousins vs. SEA

Sit: Taylor Heinicke – Washington Football Team

After lighting up the New York Giants last week for over 330 yards and two touchdowns, things get a bit tougher for Taylor Heinicke when he travels to Buffalo. In week one, the Bills held Big Ben to under 200 passing yards and only one touchdown. In week two, the Bills held the Miami Dolphins to under 200 passing yards and no touchdowns. Facing an elite defense, on the road does not sound too enticing to me. I’ll pass on Heinicke this week.

Honorable Mentions: Joe Burrow @ PIT, Jameis Winston @ NE, Baker Mayfield vs. CHI

Running Backs

Start: Ty’Son Williams – Baltimore Ravens

In each of the last two games, Ty’Son Williams has seen at least 12 touches and turned that into at least 90 scrimmage yards. Averaging 6.5 yards per carry, Williams is in a smash spot against the Detroit Lions. While the backfield is not solely his and Lamar Jackson will take some opportunities away, Williams has been efficient. Sometimes that’s all it takes. With the Ravens currently favored by seven, I expect them to be in complete control the entire game. They will take to the ground and Williams will benefit.

Honorable Mentions: Saquon Barkley vs. ATL, Austin Ekeler @KC, Chris Carson @ MIN

Sit: Devin Singletary – Buffalo Bills

Devin Singletary has been a pleasant surprise so far through two weeks. Averaging 14.1 PPR points, he has helped many teams that went zero running back. Unfortunately, I am not confident starting him this week. He faces a stout Washington Football Team defense who has yet to give up 100 yards on the ground to running backs. Furthermore, they have only allowed one rushing touchdown to running backs. If you have other options, I would pivot from Singletary.

Honorable Mentions: Clyde Edwards-Helaire vs. LAC, Darrell Henderson vs. TB, James Robinson vs. ARZ

Wide Receivers

Start: DeVonta Smith – Philadelphia Eagles

After a hot first week, DeVonta Smith came back down to Earth. Way down. He recorded just two catches for 16 yards, letting a lot of fantasy managers down. This week, he is set to boom. Similar reasons as Jalen Hurts, Smith finds himself in a great matchup. The Cowboys have given up over 480 yards to wide receivers along with three touchdowns in just two games. Plug Smith into your lineup and don’t think twice.

Honorable Mentions: Marvin Jones vs. ARZ, Sterling Shepard vs. ATL, Robert Woods vs. TB

Sit: Corey Davis – New York Jets

Last week, Corey Davis was shut down by the New England Patriots. Logging two catches for just eight yards, he left plenty of fantasy managers disappointed. This week he faces the Denver Broncos. While it’s not a terrible matchup, the Broncos are coming off a game where they held Jacksonville wide receivers to just 71 yards and one touchdown. Jets quarterback Zach Wilson is coming off a bad game and I am willing to let Davis sit on my bench until Wilson can figure it out.

Honorable Mentions: Marquez Callaway @ NE, DeVante Parker @ LV, Henry Ruggs vs. MIA

Tight Ends

Start: Noah Fant – Denver Broncos

Noah Fant is currently averaging 12.8 PPR points per game. This is good for the tight end five. With the talented Jerry Jeudy nursing an ankle injury, Fant will remain a big part of this offense. This week, he goes up against the New York Jets who just allowed six catches for 70 yards to New England tight ends. As long as Teddy Bridgewater continues to pepper Fant with Targets, he should produce solid numbers.  

Honorable Mentions: Dallas Goedert @ DAL, Kyle Pitts @ NYG, Tyler Higbee vs. TB

Sit: Logan Thomas – Washington Football Team

So far into the season, Logan Thomas has been a touchdown-dependent tight end. Yet to surpass 45 receiving yards, you are counting on a touchdown to inflate his numbers. It will be tough sledding this week as he goes up against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have held opposing tight ends to under 50 yards in each of their contests, while not letting up a score. I would look elsewhere this week.

Honorable Mentions: Mike Gesicki @LV, Gerald Everett @ MIN, Dawson Knox vs. WSH

If you enjoyed this piece, feel free to find more of my content on Twitter @FF_Worm. I am always available to talk fantasy football and answer any questions.

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts will take the league by storm

Eagles QB Jalen Hurts is the future

By: Brady Akins

In fantasy football, we crave players that can do it all.

Running backs who can catch passes, as well as, can run are valued much higher among experts than players who specialize in one. Wide receivers who get a high amount of targets better rank well in yards per target to be seen as a WR1. And of course, quarterbacks who run often and run well, are seen as must-start players.

The do-it-all focus is why we’ve seen players like Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray, and Josh Allen emerge as some of the hottest players in all of fantasy football. They put up impressive passing stats, and oftentimes outpace their own running backs in rushing yards.

Four of 2020’s top six highest-scoring quarterbacks had at least 400 yards rushing, and with the next four players outside the top six adding at least three rushing touchdowns to their fantasy production, it might be fair to say that the trend of rushing quarterbacks isn’t going anywhere.

The latest team to pick up on the trend is the Philadelphia Eagles, who will head into the 2021 season with their second-round pick from last year’s draft looking ready to lead the team back to glory– Jalen Hurts.

Hurts, as a runner, finished ninth among quarterbacks in rushing yards, despite starting in only four games last season. On top of that, he added three rushing touchdowns in just a three-week span and used that rushing performance to finish seventh overall in fantasy points per game from the time he became the team’s starter to the end of the year.

Hurts’ fantasy production in that time was ahead of Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Deshaun Watson– and did so facing strong defenses as well, going up against the Saints, Cardinals, and Washington Football Team in three of his four starting appearances.

But the craziest thing about Hurts is that he might not even be a duel threat, at least not yet. One look at the Eagles’ quarterback’s box scores will show that he still struggles as a passer. Hurts managed only one game in that four-game period with more than one passing touchdown, finished the year with a 1:3 touchdown to interception ratio in his final two games, and has yet to start a game and finish with a completion percentage above 60%.

But there’s reason to believe Hurts can improve on his passing, all while maintaining his elite ability as a rusher. If he can make the leap from ‘bad passer, good runner’ to at least above average in both, Hurts will have a legitimate case to be one of fantasy football’s best quarterbacks by the end of the 2021 season.

Help is on the way

With the 2020 season well in the rear-view mirror, it could be easy to forget that the Eagles’ pass-catchers last season were… let’s say “sub-optimal.”

The Eagles didn’t have a single player on their roster finish the season with over 1,000 receiving yards. Or, for that matter, over 900 receiving yards. Or 800… or 700.

In fact, Philadelphia’s leading receiver, a former sixth-round pick by the Detroit Lions, Travis Fulgham, didn’t even break the 600-yard mark with 539 yards in 13 appearances. 

But reinforcements should be arriving just in time to lead Hurts to a masterpiece season.

The best and the (metaphorically) biggest boost to the receiving corps will be the Alabama-rookie Devonta Smith, coming off of a Heisman-winning season where he led the FBS in essentially every statistical category you could imagine. On a loaded Crimson Tide offense, Smith’s skill stood out to the point where he became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman since 1991.

Smith is now in Philadelphia, joining the Eagles’ first-round draft pick from last year in Jalen Reagor– a player who struggled with injury through a chunk of 2020 but will be looking to bounce back from a down rookie campaign. Also looking to bounce back will be tight end Dallas Goedert, who, despite finishing with more yards, catches, and touchdowns than his tight end counterpart Zach Ertz, was out-snapped and out targeted by Ertz.

But now, with rumors swirling around Ertz’s unhappiness with the Eagles, Goedert’s door to becoming the full-time starter at the tight end might be open. Between him, the addition of a potential star in Smith, and the hopeful bounceback of Reagor, Hurts could have three talented pass-catchers at his disposal, enough to make a strong leap in his passing stats.

Now add that to Hurts’ rushing potential. The guy who, again, finished top ten among quarterbacks in rushing yards with only four starts. The guy who had three games with over 60 rushing yards, and one with over 100, all while playing quarterback. 

Hurts, without the exceptional numbers as a passer, still finished as the QB7 in his time as a starter. All the stars are aligning for that already impressive ranking to get much better in 2021– and you won’t want to miss out on it.

Dynasty: 3 QBs to trade away NOW

Trade away Carson Wentz

Intro

Yes! the 2021 NFL season is a week in the books. However, dynasty football is a year-round marathon. There’s so much work that goes into watching games, analyzing the tape, studying tendencies, etc. to draft players in dynasty leagues that will help build your squad over the long run.

Much like the NFL hitching your wagon to the right QB will do wonders for your team and allow you to build from the ground up. Today we’ll discuss a couple of QBs that you want to trade away on your dynasty teams. These are players that I’m projecting to not be in ideal spots for the long haul thus will not pay dividends in dynasty leagues. Let’s get started!

Quarterbacks

Carson Wentz – Now, I expect Wentz to have an okay season and he will probably start every game. He has one of the best offensive lines in front of him and improved talent around him from a year ago. However, since we are talking dynasty QBs, Wentz isn’t an option long term.

It’s not that Wentz doesn’t produce solid numbers, however, he isn’t that oomph he had before his ACL and LCL tear in his left knee in 2017. Wentz also doesn’t provide the rushing upside as most of these younger QBs have. He is limited to being a pocket QB with limited mobile upside. With a shift in the league with how GMs are drafting QBs it makes the most sense to trade away Wentz, get decent draft capital back for him and trade for younger rookie QBs or wait til the 2022 NFL to draft a replacement.

Wentz may really not be the best short-term QB as “some” may have foreseen. Wentz was slightly a game manager against an okay Seattle defense from a year ago. If Wentz doesn’t play above average this year, it should be expected that he won’t have strong job security with his contract — not to mention the roster built for a QB to win now.

Daniel Jones – This is a make-or-break year for Jones. He has enough offensive talent around him along with Saquon Barkley returning. There is no excuse for Jones not to step up and deliver. However, the question is will he?? Simple answer is, no!

Jones is behind an awful offensive line. This is a huge concern and has been for a while now. I just don’t see Jones getting rid of the fumble/turnover issues that have plagued him for his first two seasons in the NFL. At this point, it might be time to cut bait and start over. There are so many talented rookie QBs this season that much greater talent around them and opportunity that Jones isn’t worth holding onto any longer.

In Week 1, Jones showed his lack of explosion as he just had 267 yards and a single touchdown. Jones has weapons galore and he’s young, so take that to your advantage in selling him now!

Jalen Hurts – Staying in the NFC East, Hurts is another QB that you need to trade away. He has tremendous upside in fantasy with his rushing ability and had a great last season last year but Hurts isn’t the long-term answer in dynasty leagues. I really don’t see much talent arm-wise.

Hurts actually played quite well last week. I don’t expect him to maintain a high quality of play or the HC-QB combo to have a fruitful career in the city of brotherly love. Although, there are A LOT of die hard Hurts fans and they sincerely bought into the hype he gathered from lots of analysts this offseason. Now after a solid Week 1 showcase against the atrocious Falcons pass defense, I would ship him off your roster.

Conclusion

As mentioned above in the intro, it takes time to scout good talent, especially in the quarterback position. However, if you are holding onto QBs like the ones above just because of one or two decent seasons then you aren’t planning correctly for the future of your dynasty squad. A huge part of the dynasty is to know when to cut bait, take your losses and move on. Sure, this can be time-consuming and a bit annoying but hey, it’s just fantasy! Have fun and enjoy being a GM!

By: Sukhwant Singh

Twitter: SinghisKing908

Which Dynasty assets will skyrocket in value in the next 8 weeks?

Two WRs, a RB, and a QB to buy in dynasty

By: Zach Hurts

Who here values talent, opportunity, and good situations? I have a few people that I view as values right now with all the stars are aligning for them. This is what I call a buy window. A buy window is a moment in time that allows you to trade for a player at their current price and reap the benefits when they breakout and skyrocket in value. There are a few players that I have been watching during the NFL and college that just seem poised for a big season in the NFL this year and beyond. 

First up is Jerry Jeudy! This man is one of the best route runners in the NFL and I don’t say that about very many players. I want to break Jerry Jeudy’s rookie season down for you he had 52 receptions for 856 yards and 3 touchdowns. A very solid rookie season at face value. However, let’s take a look at some advanced metrics. Jeudy had 26 uncatchable targets last season which happened to lead the NFL. If you want a percentage that is nearly 25% of his targets were uncatchable. Now I know that Jerry Jeudy struggled with some drops last year and that is a small cause for concern. Teddy Bridgewater should change the inaccuracy problems with the Bronco’s QBs last year. Bridgewater finished 5th in completion percentage last season. Jeudy will be Teddy’s #1 WR and is on his way to being an elite option at the WR position. 

This WR has been shadowed by Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase.  Terrace Marshall is going to burst onto the scene this year. He is 6’3’’ 205 and a physical freak. When Marshall was at LSU without Chase and Jefferson due to Chase opting out Marshall commanded 28% of the receptions 33% of the team yards and 59% of their receiving touchdowns. 59% percent of the receiving TD’s is extremely impressive and with D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson not being big red zone threats Marshall fits perfectly. When he was the #1 on his team he balled out and we will see that translate to the NFL similar to Justin Jefferson’s transition. He is on a similar offensive scheme to LSU he will start as the WR3 but will have the opportunity to surpass Anderson and be a top 2 receiving option on this team. He is very underpriced in dynasty and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to send offers out on him. 

Similar to Jerry Jeudy this RB hails from the Alabama regime. Damien Harris ever since he has entered this league he has been an undervalued asset. In his rookie season unfortunately he sat on the bench all year and was not used heavily. Last season he was used in more of a starting RB towards the latter half of the year. He averaged over 5 YPC (Yards Per Carry) which is one of the better YPC in the NFL tied for 6th among RB’s. Last year Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel were involved in the run scheme and now they are both on different teams. Damien Harris will have most of the carries in this offense and will break 1000 yards on the ground this season barring injury. Cam Newton also took a large number of rushing TD’s last year making Harris’s TD upside limited. Harris is still being undervalued even with the backfield clearing up. He has little competition and could very likely see a three-down role. 

The last player on this list is a lean mean rushing machine that can also throw a deep ball with perfection. It’s not Russell Wilson, but It’s Jalen Hurts. Hurts was a beast in college who played very well in Alabama except for his first National Championship appearance which ended up losing him his job. He then came into the national championship the following year and led them to a victory. He transferred after he wasn’t the starter. He played lights out in Oklahoma and was second in the Heisman race behind Joe Burrow. This is very unmentioned. He had low accuracy in year one largely because his receiving core was bad.: Greg Ward, Alshon Jeffery, and Dallas Godert. His weapons are already drastically better. He was a beast on the ground having “12 rush attempts per game”. Hurts should continue to be effective. Outside of a new receiving core this year, he has had a whole year of training camp and preseason to develop and adjust to the speed of the NFL. He has the potential to be a top 5 QB in fantasy for several years to come but for some reason, he gets no respect. People love him in redraft but he will be a franchise QB, not just a 1 year transitional QB.

Overall all of these players have a lot of talent and have an immense opportunity to breakout. You want to buy them before the breakout happens. I am confident that all of these players have the situation, the opportunity, the talent to change their startup value by several rounds. As I always say send trades because Dynasty Never Rests!

Breaking down Philadelphia Eagles depth chart: offensive edition

Will Jalen Hurts shine this season?

By: Jacob Keppen

There are a ton of questions about the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021, specifically on offense. What we will see from Philly’s new-look offense in 2021 is largely unproven. There is talent and highly selected players, but at most positions, there is little in the way of known commodities. From the center snapping the ball to the man throwing the ball, here is a breakdown of the position units for the Philadelphia Eagles on offense.

Quarterback: Jalen Hurts, Joe Flacco, Gardner Minshew

The big question at quarterback is of course Jalen Hurts. The Eagles can only go as far as Jalen Hurts can take them in 2020. Last year’s second-round selection, Hurts showed good flashes in his four games as a starter, including a three-yard touchdown performance against Arizona in Week 15. One of the least accurate quarterbacks last season was still Hurts. Can Hurts fully round out his game and become a franchise quarterback? Or will the Eagles be searching for quarterbacks in the 2022 NFL Draft? If Hurts doesn’t shine and the Eagles, unfortunately, have a high draft choice next year, it wouldn’t be hard to know which position they’re selecting in round one. 

As for the backups heading into the season, Joe Flacco is what he is at the age of 36 and shouldn’t be counted on to come in and win games for the Eagles. He’s a pure mentor for Hurts and a reliable QB to take care of the football in emergency situations. Then there is Minshew Mania. Minshew shows intrigue though as a potential long term high end backup quarterback for the Eagles. Minshew is one of the best backup QBs in the league and still young at 25. We saw Winston go into New Orleans as a young backup and eventually become the starter. If Hurts doesn’t pan out soon, Minshew may see the field in the near future. 

Running Back: Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, Kenny Gainwell 

The Eagles went light at the running back position, surprising virtually everyone. This was a team that almost had too many running backs in the preseason, expected to struggle to only keep four in the regular season. Jordan Howard and Jason Huntley were both cut, making their way to the practice squad (don’t be surprised when Jordan Howard ends up on the main roster once again)

Which Miles Sanders will the Eagles be getting this season? Sanders didn’t quite look the same in 2020 as he did in his freshman year, struggling in the receiving game mightily. Sanders still has big-play potential, able to break off a run at will. Behind him is Boston Scott, a very competent 3rd down back who can step in a pinch. Scott is coming off a career year in scrimmage yards (586). Rookie Kenny Gainwell impressed in the preseason with the highest PFF rookie grade on the Eagles and one of the highest in the league. He very might challenge for a lot of touches in the Eagles offense. Don’t be surprised if the Eagles get Gainwell involved in the offense in multiple ways. The real thing missing in the Eagles backfield is a real power presence. Maybe it will be Jordan Howard, but for now, the Eagles lack a bit of bite in their rushing attack.

Wide Receiver: Devonta Smith, Jalen Reagor, Quez Watkins, Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

The Eagles wide receiver room is not a great one, nor is it a proven one. While there is potential, there are two first-round receivers in the room, nobody is proven here. Devonta Smith should easily be the best pass-catcher on the Eagles offense, potentially able to be a true #1 receiver for Philadelphia. You’d still like someone a little more proven alongside him though.

Jalen Reagor has potential but didn’t quite live up to the hype last season. While he has looked good in practice he needs to prove it in a game first. Quez Watkins was a breakout star in the preseason, his lightning speed unmatched early on in the Eagles offense. Can the former 6th round pick carve out a big role in the offense, or is it just a product of the preseason. Ward is who he is, a reliable set of hands who doesn’t really do anything dynamic. Arcega-Whiteside is the puzzling name left, most fans surprised (and upset) to see him still on the team for his third season. Despite having an even worse sophomore campaign, Arcega-Whiteside managed to make the roster over Travis Fulgham, a free agent acquisition who showed real potential last year. Is this the year J.J. Arcega-Whiteside does ANYTHING for the Eagles?

Tight End: Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz, Jack Stoll

As it has been over the past few years, the Eagles have one of the best tight-end groups in the entire league. Dallas Goedert is a player many are pegging as a breakout candidate in 2021, his flashes over the past three seasons finally culminating into true stardom. He’ll still have to compete with fan-favorite Zach Ertz who is back, contract situation is resolved. For a team hard-pressed to find any reliable receivers, bringing back Zach Ertz was a great decision for the Birds, his consistency was a great asset to such a young offense.

Offensive Line: Jordan Mailata, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Andre Dillard, Nate Herbig, Brett Toth.

If everything works out and everyone stays healthy, the Eagles should have one of the best lines in the league. Injuries have played the biggest problem over the past year, the Eagles unable to field a consistent unit upfront. The stars are back, with pro bowl center Jason Kelce returning for another season in Philadelphia. Lane Johnson and Brandon Brooks look to continue to hold down the right side of the line, both amongst the league’s best when fully fit. The problem is health has definitely been an issue, with Brooks returning from his second Achilles tear. With both, over 30 health could potentially ruin a dynamic partnership.

On the left side of the line, it is finally Jordan Mailata time! Jason Peters is not here to take the job away from him anymore, and former first-round pick Andre Dillard was unable to take the job away from him in the preseason. Mailata is a giant amongst giants, towering over even the biggest defensive linemen. He has made incredible strides over the past few years, and really has the potential to be a franchise tackle for the Eagles. Always seemingly forgotten, Isaac Seumalo is certainly one of the better options at guard. While not a superstar like some of his compatriots, Seumalo gets the job done and is at worst a serviceable average guard in the NFL. Look for Philly to dominate upfront in easily their best unit on the offense… again so long as they can stay healthy.

What does Gardner Minshew bring to the Eagles?

What role will Minshew Mania play in Philadelphia?

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

Gardner Minshew has officially been traded from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a conditional 6th round draft pick that could become a 5th rounder based on playing time. This news came very shortly after head coach Urban Meyer announced that first overall pick Trevor Lawrence would be the day one starter for the Jags. There was apparently a “quarterback competition” in camp but let’s be honest, it was always going to be Lawrence named as the starter. He is a generational talent that has been labeled “the best QB prospect of all time” by several professional scouts.

The official announcement is what made Minshew available via trade and the Eagles organization did not waste much time in acquiring him. In a corresponding move, third-string QB Nick Mullens was released from the team. Minshew will now likely serve as the backup to starter Jalen Hurts entering the 2021 NFL season but his role could actually mean more than just that. He has proven to be a capable player and has the ability to push Hurts and serve as an alternative option if things don’t work out as planned.

Gardner Minshew: Exceeding Expectations

Though his two seasons with the Jaguars were not great, Minshew demonstrated that he is a capable quarterback at the NFL level. In 23 total games played, he completed 63 percent of his passes for 5530 yards and 37 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions. While these numbers are mediocre, it’s fairly impressive considering the circumstances. He was only a 6th round draft pick out of Washington State and was considered more of a development project at best. He far exceeded those initial expectations and did it on a team with very little offensive talent surrounding him. Furthermore, he lacks the overall athleticism and arm talent of a typical NFL quarterback so it’s encouraging that he was able to overcome that and still find success.

Expected Role with the Eagles

Considering the very low price tag that the Eagles gave up to get him, this trade makes perfect sense for them. He is a safer option than anything they could draft in the 5th or 6th round because he has already proven that he can play at the professional level. The only other quarterback on the roster, besides Hurts, is Joe Flacco. His best days are long behind him and probably are never coming back considering he is already 36 years old. With the Eagles being a rebuilding team right now, Minshew makes a ton more sense than Flacco does as a back up. If the Hurts plan does not work out the way they want it too, they now have a realistic second option in Minshew.

This concept can also provide extra motivation for Hurts now that he knows there is a true backup on the roster behind him instead of just a roster filler and emergency replacement like Flacco. Hurts was decent last season, but he will have to progress as a player this year to gain the confidence from the Eagles organization that he is their long-term solution at quarterback. Last year in his rookie campaign, Hurts eventually took over the starting job from the disaster that was Carson Wentz. Hurts started the final four games of the season but appeared in 15 games total, completing 52 percent of his passes for 1061 yards and six touchdowns against four interceptions.

Based on passing statistics alone, Minshew actually has a much better track record so far. Granted it’s an extremely small sample size for Hurts, but that is definitely something to keep an eye on. Hurts will have to improve his passing numbers this season to show that he can be a starting quarterback moving forward. The thing that Hurts brings to the table that Minshew lacks is athleticism and in particular the ability to contribute in the rushing game. Hurts recorded 63 rushing attempts for 354 yards and three touchdowns last season in his limited role with the team and are expected to be a part of the rushing attack this season by design. In conclusion, Hurts will definitely begin the season as the starting quarterback, but the Eagles now have a “real backup plan” if he does not develop his passing game the way they hope he will.

Why the Eagles won’t finish last in the division again

Jacob Keppen

Let’s not mince words. The 2020 Philadelphia Eagles were a bad team. It was hard to watch the team attempt to play football, finding new ways to disappoint fans week after week. There is hope though for 2021. A lot of fans and experts are writing the Eagles off after a horrid season last year, but there is a very good shot that this team is not nearly as bad as expected, and here are three key reasons why.

Improved Offensive Line

It is highly unlikely that the Eagles offensive line will be nearly as bad in 2021 as it was in 2020. Seen as one of the strengths of the team, the O-Line struggled mightily to stay healthy all season. The injury bug hit Philadelphia early before the season even started. Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks tore his Achilles in July and would miss the entire season. In the preseason, Andre Dillard tore his tricep and would also miss the entire season. Dillard was slated to take over at left tackle and prove that he could be a true building block for the team moving forward. The injuries just didn’t stop coming, with Philadelphia fielding over 13 different line combinations over the course of the season.

It is highly unlikely that Philadelphia will experience nearly the same amount of bad injury luck that they did in 2020. If this is the case and everyone stays healthy, the Eagles still look to have one of the best offensive lines in the league. Brandon Brooks is returning and will hopefully return to form as a top guard in the league. He will be a great help to Lane Johnson who struggled at times last season. Jordan Mailata looked like potentially the guy everyone hoped Dillard would be, their camp battle one of the most intriguing of the offseason. Jason Kelce is back and just in case he goes down, the Eagles added 2nd round Alabama interior lineman Lance Dickerson to the fold through the draft. On paper, the Eagles offensive line looks to be one of the team’s strengths once again.

Improved Weapons on Offense

To say the Eagles haven’t provided their quarterbacks over the past few years with great firepower on offense would be an understatement. The wide receiver position has been a rough one to watch over the past two years. While other teams have found young stars such as D.K. Metcalf and Justin Jefferson, the Eagles just haven’t seen the same productions from their youngsters, the most proficient being free agent signing Travis Fulgham last year.

This year it looks to be different. In the quest to see if Jalen Hurts is the real deal, the Eagles traded up and selected this year’s “can’t miss” receiver in Devonta Smith. Smith is one of the most dominant receivers to ever play at the collegiate level, becoming the first wide receiver to win the Heisman since Desmond Howard. He has game-changing WR1 ability that will make the offense run so much smoother. Now as a secondary option, look for last year’s 1st round pick Jalen Reagor to make a bigger impact in the offense. Reagor will be counted on to make more splash plays, rather than be an all-around receiver, and that will play more towards his skillset. Don’t forget about Travis Fulgham, who led the team in receiving yards despite starting only 8 games, and Dallas Goedert who looks to have a breakout season as the clear #1 tight end in Philly.

A Better Defense Than You Think

Philadelphia’s defense has the potential to be a lot better than most people think in 2021. Even looking back at the 2020 season, Philadelphia had one of the best pass rush units in all of football, finishing third in sacks last year with 49. Pretty much everyone on the line is being brought back, and third-round pick Milton Williams looks to make an impact as a depth piece. Look out for either Derek Barnett or Josh Sweat to take another step this year.

Philadelphia’s linebacker group looks a lot better than it did at the start of last season. Gone are the days of quarterbacks identifying Nate Gerry in coverage and making sure the ball goes to his man. Alex Singleton was a breakout player last year for the Eagles and it will be interesting to see how he will do in new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s system. Former Viking Eric Wilson looks to be the best linebacker the Eagles have had since Nigel Bradham too. While there are definitely questions regarding the Eagles secondary, the 2nd cornerback position is especially suspect, there’s a shot the Eagles have an underrated front 7 for Gannon to play with.

Why Jalen Hurts can be the next great dual threat QB

Jalen Hurts is ready to take the next step in Philadelphia

By: Jeremy Trottier

The 2020 NFL Draft brought in quite a new scene of quarterbacks, such as Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa, Jordan Love, and many more.  However, only one of the quarterbacks taken outside the first round in this class so far has been given the reigns to start for his team, that being Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles.  He is also probably the most intriguing quarterback from this class in terms of the situation he was put in as well as how he performed barring potentially Tua.  As of now the Philadelphia have not made any major moves at the position to replace him, bringing in Joe Flacco as a veteran backup and Nick Mullens as a backup plan likely.  

With this in mind, it seems that Hurts is set to start for now in Philly, and depending on his performance, for the remainder of the 2021-2022 season.  In the 2020-2021 season he was able to accrue four starts, and really did not look to bad in them.  For reference, here are some of his major stats:

  • 77 completions on 148 attempts (52.0%)
  • 1061 passing yards, 6 passing touchdowns, and 4 interceptions
  • 63 rushes for 354 yards and 3 touchdowns

In this article, I will be going over three reasons as to why Hurts could become the next great/elite dual-threat quarterback in the league.

Offensive Weapons

One of the biggest reasons Hurts could have success at the NFL level is that Philadelphia is really trying to put weapons around him.  The most notable being first round WR Devonta Smith who they drafted at pick number ten.  A Heisman Trophy winner last season, and likely a top three receiver in this draft class, Devonta Smith is really a viable weapon for Hurts.  Phenomenal route running, solid speed, and very good hands highlight the strong points in Smith’s game, and if he proves to be the prospect Philly is banking on him being, he should easily be WR1 on the Eagles.

The Eagles also have a plethora of other weapons who are all varying levels of talent and at different points in their career.  For those who do not remember, the last time Zach Ertz played a full season, he put up an 1163-yard season and was widely considered a top five tight end in the league at the time.  If he can come back in 2021 and keep a clean bill of health while also returning to the number of targets he has had in the past, he could definitely still be viable.  The Eagles also have Dallas Goedert, the next potential full-time starter at the TE position, Jalen Reagor, who has a lot to prove but was not too bad last year, and Miles Sanders, an explosive young running back with a huge ceiling.  

New Coaching Staff

Looking at how the Eagles coaching staff has changed from last season to now, it is quite impressive how they have completely overhauled the biggest coaching positions.  Starting with head coach, going from Doug Peterson to Nick Sirianni, which I think is easily the biggest move of their staff overhaul.  Sirianni is a huge 12 personnel coach, he has used it all of his career, and with two big time tight ends in Ertz and Goedert, they can easily do this with no issues.  He also loves getting running backs involved in the passing game, which is great news for Miles Sanders as it will expand his opportunities while also giving him a chance to prove himself as a versatile player on the field.

The Eagles also brought in an actual offensive coordinator, rather than letting Doug Peterson do both HC and OC.  The new OC is Shane Steichen, who has really worked his way up the ranks in a span of ten years, and realistically is a great option at coordinator.  Spending last season as the OC of the Los Angeles Chargers, he really proved his worth in utilizing Justin Herbert correctly, so taking another QB from the 2020 class and igniting their career could be in store.  The Eagles also moved on from DC Jim Schwartz, bringing in another coach from the Indianapolis Colts coaching tree in Jonathan Gannon.  Spending 2018-2020 as the Colts cornerbacks coach, he may be able to really bring the best out of Darius Slay while developing other CBs on the roster such as rookie Zach McPhearson, Avonte Maddox, or K’Von Wallace.  

2020 Campaign

If anything is going to prove how good of a dual-threat player Hurts is, it was his first game starting in the NFL, against the New Orleans Saints.  Watching this game live as a Saints fan was absolutely wild to see and proved to me that Hurts is ready for the NFL level.  A Saints defensive front-seven that had not given up a 100-yard rusher for 55 games (November 19th, 2017) got torched by Hurts, when he rushed for 106 yards by himself in that game, while also allowing Miles Sanders to rush for 115.  This was quite the feat, as up to that point the Saints front-seven was a brick wall, and very rarely gave up big plays.  

Being able to rip apart a defense flat out such as the Saints’ on the ground shows some true skill, especially in your first ever NFL start.  Did the lack of film on Hurts at the NFL level give him the advantage of surprise?  Potentially.  But they had his college film to work with, and have faced mobile QBs such as Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson, and many others, but very rarely are they left scrambling to stop the run by a QB.  This at the very least shows to me his prowess as a rusher, and his passing that game was not horrible at all either.  17/30 passing (57% approximately) for 167 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions is reasonable in your rookie debut and was pretty impressive given he did not have a true WR1 yet.  Reagor was still developing, and is much better in a Z WR position, or even slot.  

Top 3 questions for Philadelphia Eagles training camp

Jacob Keppen

Who is the Eagles left tackle for the future?

The Philadelphia Eagles are in a peculiar situation regarding their left tackle position. For years left tackle was never in question in Philadelphia. For nearly a decade, Jason Peters gave the Eagles hall of fame caliber play on the left side of the line. That was last decade though, and the Eagles have a big decision to make for their franchise moving into the 2020s. Who will be the guy that will hopefully be protecting Jalen Hurts for the foreseeable future? Luckily the Eagles have a candidate for the job, in fact they have two, and it will be the highlight of camp to see who wins out the job.

If you asked any Eagles fan after 2019 who was the franchise tackle moving forward, almost all would say first-round pick, Andre Dillard. The Washington State product was drafted with the 22nd overall pick by the Eagles with the intention of taking over the blindside blocking position for Peters. It hasn’t worked out quite as fans would’ve hoped two years removed from that draft in Nashville. Dillard was thrown into the fire for five games during his rookie season, and he struggled a good amount early on. In his first real bit of action against Minnesota, the rookie Dillard struggled mightily, giving up nine total pressures. There were some promising moments, including a really good performance against Khalil Mack and the Chicago Bears.

Fans were hoping to see Dillard take that next step in 2020, but a torn bicep ended the sophomore season before it even started. In his stead, a new rising young star emerged at left tackle from an unlikely source. Shocking fans around the league, former rugby player and 7th round pick Jordan Mailata made the most of his opportunities at left tackle. On an offensive line struggling to do anything right, the 23-year-old Aussie was one of the few bright spots. Despite having no football experience prior to his rookie year, Mailata has made incredible strides as a player. His performance, combined with his great athleticism and young age has muddied the waters a bit on the left tackle position moving forward. Dillard was a promising first-round pick, but the team has no idea how good he is, even though he will be turning 26 this season. The left tackle position is one to keep an eye on all preseason.

Which wide receiver is on the chopping block?

The Eagles have pretty much two certainties in their wide receiver room. First round picks Devonta Smith and Jalen Reagor are locks to make the roster. Outside of those two, those final spots are completely up for grabs.

Greg Ward is one of the better bets to make the roster. The former Houston Cougars quarterback has done well in a slot role for the Eagles, being an unspectacular but reliable option. Travis Fulgham’s short but spectacular flashes during last year’s season should be enough to earn him a spot as well. 

Looking at the last two spots, there are three prime candidates. This camp is the proving ground for former 2nd round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. The former Stanford receiver has been a massive disappointment for the Eagles, struggling to even see the field. John Hightower, a 5th round pick last year, showed promise as a route runner but struggled to catch anything. He is also 25. Quez Watkins is a younger speedster who showed promise as a deep threat. One of these three will miss the cut, and it will most likely come down to training camp and preseason.

Who is cornerback #2?

The question all offseason has been: who is starting opposite to Darius Slay? With the offseason in the past, fans still do not have an answer. The Eagles didn’t bring in any veteran competition for the position (yet) and only really added 4th round selection Zech McPhearson. The position is as wide open as they come, leaving an opportunity to be won at training camp.

Early on, the front runner looks to be Michael Jacquet. Jacquet has been receiving most of the reps in OTA at CB2. An undrafted free agent out of Louisiana, Jacquet showed some promise in starts late in the season before having one of the worst games by a corner in recent memory against the Cowboys. Only playing the position for a few years now, the Eagles might be intrigued by Jacquet’s high athletic upside.

There are other candidates possible for the job. The aforementioned McPhearson with a good camp can make his case to start, and a free agent can still be brought in, though it is very late in the process. Fans have been wanting the cornerback question answered all offseason, and it looks like everyone’s going to have to wait just a bit longer to figure it all out.

Could Joe Flacco really start for the Eagles?

Is Flacco the answer for the Eagles QB position?

By: Pat Pitts

The Eagles decided to put all of their eggs in the Hurts basket by trading away Carson Wentz. The second-rounder takes the reigns leading this offense back to Super Bowl contention, or not?

Joe Flacco agreed to a one year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles. It is understood that he will back up and mentor Jalen Hurts to close his career. However, the Eagles have been use to a QB carousel over the past few seasons. Is it possible we are graced by the presence of Joe “Elite” Flacco?

Allow me.

Can Joe Flacco replicate his 2012 playff performance this season?

In 2012, Joe Flacco entertained football fans with one of the greatest postseason performances in history. He threw 77 passes for 1140 yards and 11 touchdowns; he did not throw a single interception. Hoisting the Lombardi to conclude the dominance only seemed fitting. 

He signed an extension making him the highest player in the league a few months later. Joe Flacco became the talk of the sports realm. 

Flacco’s contract gave analysts a copious amount of time to compare him to guys like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and his holiness, Tom Brady. But his play was comparable to that of Sam Bradford and Brock Oswieler. 

Joe Flacco derailed the Baltimore train beginning in 2013 when he snapped the team’s playoff streak for the first time since 2007. It snowballed into more missed playoff appearances, the first time in consecutive seasons since 2004-05. He may be elite, but not clutch. 

Since his time in Baltimore, Flacco has bounced from the team hoping to have one last chance. It has not worked out so well. Things are different in Philadelphia. 

How possible is it for Flacco to start this season?

A hall of fame athlete once told the world anything is possible. Yes, even Flacco taking snaps. 

I believe in Jalen Hurts. I believe he can take over this offense, eventually leading the charge when battling in the playoffs. Hurts received some brotherly love from the front office when they selected him sixth overall in the draft. Miles Sanders saw an increase in total yards from a year prior. Things are looking up. 

The only scenario for Flacco to make an appearance of even start is Jalen being hurt. The coaching staff cannot be fickle about the decision. Dive in headfirst, Nick. 

Flacco’s impact will be off the field. Whether it is the film room or the sidelines, Flacco will be in the sophomore’s ear after every bad throw. He will sit with him on the bench to review the playbook. He will be the teacher; Hurts must take the role as the student. 

Joe Flacco has floated around the NFL for over a decade. He joins the crew of Newton, Rodgers and Stafford as the old-timers. The guys who have seen and done it all, but cannot hang it up. The hope for another shot dwindles down day by day.

Flacco does deserve one more chance for glory but Hurts deserves it a bit more.

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