Fantasy Football Free Agency Preview: Philadelphia Eagles
Free agency has a major impact on fantasy football. We’re a long way from the 2017 league year, but for dynasty team owners it’s never too early to start thinking about how player values could change.
I’m going through each team’s free agency and salary cap as a thought exercise. As an avid dynasty player, knowing how player values could change is key to making good decisions about which players to stash and which to put on the trade block. Once I finish running through the teams, I’ll circle back and do some more player or position-specific analysis.
|PLAYER||POS||TEAM||TYPE||16 SAL||16 GUAR||TEAM CAP|
|TEAM||PLAYER||POS||DEAD $||CAP SAVINGS|
Needs – RB, WR
The Eagles are set at quarterback, with Carson Wentz and Chase Daniel. At tight end, Zach Ertz got a top-seven positional contract, so don’t expect anything significant to happen there either (although his contract is structured such that he could be dumped as early as 2018). The real needs are at running back and wide receiver. Jordan Matthews managed a PPR finish of WR48. Darren Sproles (RB24) and Ryan Mathews (RB32) fared better, but both are older and may not be on the team next year.
Sproles and Mathews are both still under contract, but Philadelphia barely has any cap space, so it wouldn’t be surprising if one or both were gone. Kenjon Barner is also a free agent, so there’s potentially a big workload available here; the three combined for about 280 carries and 96 targets. Lots of moving parts but Wendell Smallwood should be owned. Try to get him before it becomes obvious that he could be sitting on a gold mine. I do think Sproles has a good chance of returning, but even if it’s just Mathews that’s gone, that’s 155 attempts up for grabs. I’m interested for anything less than a mid-second round rookie pick. Sproles remains a solid hold and probably someone you can get at a discount to his positional finish, just based on his age. Not to cop out here, but I’d also hold Mathews if you’ve got roster space for it. I think there’s a very good chance he gets cut, and if not he’s probably in a messy committee. Regardless, he seems constantly dinged up. But when he plays…
Yeah, he’s decent. Don’t get me wrong, I only like it if he’s really cheap. But age, injury, and lack of role/team should make him very inexpensive. If you’re in a very deep dynasty league (or truly desperate), he’s worth a spot I think. Sproles is probably the safest of the three, as he’s most likely to return to the Eagles and keep his role, regardless of what else happens. Smallwood has good upside if Mathews gets cut.
At receiver…sheesh. I don’t think you can really invest in anybody outside of Jordan Matthews.
Matthews had a poor season, but he out-produced Dorial Green-Beckham and Nelson Agholor combined. Despite being his team’s leading WR, it’s probable Matthews’ dynasty value has declined. Here’s a quick comp.
So both Keenan Allen and Allen Robinson have lost value too, due to injury and poor performance. Still, they’re probably worth more than Matthews. But should they be? That’s an interesting question but suffice it to say that I’d be interested in Matthews at any discount to his value prior to last season (roughly a third-round start up pick). In very, very deep leagues or leagues that start more than five WRs, I suppose there’s value to holding Agholor or DGB. But I probably would still cut bait.
What I haven’t really mentioned is the chance that Philadelphia signs a free agent WR or RB. They could, but they’d have to cut or restructure some existing contracts to make that happen. As it is, they barely have enough to sign their rookie class. So I wouldn’t rule it out, but I wouldn’t expect anything significant. In other words, Jordan Matthews is almost certainly going to be the lead WR again next year. And, although the RB situation is murkier, Smallwood is the only one guaranteed to be on the team next year, followed by Sproles.
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- Available cap space was compiled in mid-December, 2016, and may have changed since. I’ll update that once I finish reviewing all the teams. (back)