NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles fantasy football guide: When to draft Wentz, Jeffery & Blount without being a total homer

Don’t draft Nelson Agholor no matter what. You’ll thank us later.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
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More than 55 million people play fantasy football each year, a number that ballooned to nearly 75 million last season. So if you’re one of the millions of Eagles fans who play fantasy football, consider this a public service announcement: Don’t draft Carson Wentz as your starting quarterback

We get that most football fans, especially in Philly, are total homers. But you can’t let your Eagles love cloud your fantasy judgement. The Eagles should have a better season on offense than they had in 2016, but that doesn’t mean Wentz is a top fantasy quarterback.

LeGarrette Blount might be a difference-maker in the backfield, but that doesn’t mean you should draft him as your top running back.

Alshon Jeffery? Totally take him, but not in the first or second round. And, yes, Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor will get more targets now that Jordan Matthews has been traded, but that doesn’t mean you should pick either of them this year.

We scoured through thousands of fantasy rankings to give you, Eagles fans, the best cheat sheet for when to pick your favorite players. Where should each of the Eagles go in your fantasy draft? This will help you figure that out.

What type of league?

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The number of teams, starters, bench and style of scoring matters with all these fantasy rankings. So we’ve tried to keep this as basic as possible. That means a non-PPR league (PPR leagues award points per reception, while more traditional non-PPR leagues give points for just yards and scores) with the following positions:

  • QB
  • RB1, RB2
  • WR1, WR2
  • TE1
  • Flex (W/RB/TE)
  • K
  • Def

That’s nine starting slots and six bench players for a 15-man team. A 12-team league means 180 positions will be drafted.

Birds to draft

We’ve listed the Eagles skill position players, kicker and defense, and included their positional rankings from eight different fantasy sites, plus a composite overall ranking. For example, Wentz may average out to be the 20th-best quarterback, but that doesn’t mean he should be drafted with the 20th pick. The overall composite ranking gives a sense of what round each player should be selected.

Please check this before you splurge on Donnel Pumphrey in the 10th round. Or at all.

Quarterback

Carson Wentz

One of these guys is the best fantasy QB. The other is Carson Wentz.

One of these guys is the best fantasy QB. The other is Carson Wentz.

Green Bay Press-Gazette-USA TODAY Sports
Wentz Positional Rankings
ESPN 18 CBS/Fantasy Pros 20
Yahoo 19 NFL.com 25
Fox Sports 20 USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 20
Fantasy Football Calculator 19 Numberfire 21
Composite Overall Ranking 131.4

We wrote several weeks ago that nobody outside of Philadelphia has much faith in Wentz this year and that’s evidenced by his poor fantasy rankings. Be sure, a low fantasy ranking isn’t an indication a quarterback will have a down year, but for a guy who threw as much as Wentz did as a rookie, rankings that low should give Eagles fans pause.

Wentz’s composite ranking is buoyed by ESPN and NFL weighting quarterbacks more heavily than other sites do. Wentz was 18th out of 32 quarterbacks according to ESPN, but 30th overall. He was 25th among QBs on NFL.com, but 40th overall.

Just counting the other sites, Wentz has a composite overall rank of 163. Based on his positional ranking, Wentz is at best a fantasy backup to stash on the bench. In 12-team leagues, his composite ranking would make him an 11th round pick, and without the two top-heavy QB rankings, he’d be a 14th-rounder.

Advice: If you draft two quarterbacks, Wentz has a huge upside given his low expectations. Splurge for him in the 10th round if you missed out on one of the top 10 quarterbacks. But not any sooner.

Running Back

LeGarrette Blount

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Blount Positional Rankings
ESPN 40 CBS/Fantasy Pros 30
Yahoo 26 NFL.com 26
Fox Sports 38 USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 17
Fantasy Football Calculator 24 Numberfire 36
Composite Overall Ranking 87.4

The Eagles will employ a running-back-by-committee this year, and that could hurt the fantasy value of both Blount and Darren Sproles. Only ESPN has Sproles rated ahead of Blount, but even though the rest have Blount as the team’s top back, his rankings are all over the place. One has him 17th — clearly in the RB2 range for fantasy owners — while others have him ranked 35-plus, which is either a bench back or maybe a flex in a league that allows a back as a flex.

Advice: Blount should get a ton of chances for red zone scores this year, but his overall yardage could suffer if he’s used more in short-yardage situations. His composite overall rank is solid, putting him as a mid-round pick. If he’s available in the seventh or eighth round, you should nab him as your third RB. If he’s your second RB, you better hope your QB and WRs are great.

Darren Sproles

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Sproles Positional Rankings
ESPN 37 CBS/Fantasy Pros 51
Yahoo 53 NFL.com 42
Fox Sports 42 USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 62
Fantasy Football Calculator 66 Numberfire 42
Composite Overall Ranking 144.6

ESPN likes Sproles, but the rest of the sites have him behind Blount in their rankings. Still, he’s at best a flex play at this point in his career, ranked in the 40s, 50s, or 60s range for running backs.

Advice: Overall, he’s got a composite draft position of nearly 145, which puts him as a 13th-round pick. He’s a potential handcuff for Blount — draft him a few rounds after Blount to protect yourself in case of injury or scheme change — but if you draft Sproles, do it more for sentiment reasons, not necessarily to play him a lot.

Wendell Smallwood

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Cincinnati Bengals
David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Smallwood Positional Rankings
ESPN 85 CBS/Fantasy Pros 77
Yahoo n/a NFL.com n/a
Fox Sports 58 USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 90
Fantasy Football Calculator n/a Numberfire n/a
Composite Overall Ranking 250+

Donnel Pumphrey

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-Minicamp
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Pumphrey Positional Rankings
ESPN 61 CBS/Fantasy Pros 96
Yahoo n/a NFL.com n/a
Fox Sports n/a USA Today/Fantasy Sharks n/a
Fantasy Football Calculator n/a Numberfire n/a
Composite Overall Ranking 300+

Someone in your league will undoubtedly draft either Wendell Smallwood or Donnel Pumphrey. Make sure it isn’t you.

Advice: Both players will be available in free agency at any point in the season if-and-when Sproles and Blount are out of action. Homer or not, don’t waste a pick on either of the Eagles’ back-up backs. Even in a keeper league, where you might be enticed to draft Pumphrey as a long-term replacement for Sproles, he shouldn’t get a lot of reps to warrant being drafted.

Ryan Mathews

Mathews was the team’s leading rusher last year, and while he’s technically still part of the Eagles roster, he isn’t expected to be a part of the team this year. And still, he’s ranked higher on many sites than Sproles. If you want to draft an Eagles running back in one of the final rounds, maybe it’s Mathews, for whatever team he ends up playing on this year.

Wide Receiver

Alshon Jeffery

Alshon Jeffery should make his Eagles debut.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Jeffery Positional Rankings
ESPN 19 CBS/Fantasy Pros 16
Yahoo 17 NFL.com 18
Fox Sports 15 USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 19
Fantasy Football Calculator 19 Numberfire 16
Composite Overall Ranking 44.6

Jeffery is the Eagles’ top fantasy player, and that was true even before Matthews was traded to Buffalo. He’s consistently seen as a top-20 receiver, which in any 12-team league means he’s a strong WR2 option. But there are concerns about injuries with Jeffery. He’s missed significant time in his career and has already picked up a small injury during training camp. So if you pick him, don’t rely on him to play all 16 games. (That’s advice for the Eagles, too.)

Advice: Be smart with Jeffery. If you’re an Eagles fan, chances are you’re in a league with other Eagles fans. Let them overdraft Jeffery in the first or second (or third) round. If he’s there in the late third, he might be worth the pick, but only if you have a top running back and another receiver already. Then again, if took a receiver in the first two rounds, it’s not worth taking another one a round too early, Eagle or not.

If Jeffery is there in the mid-4th or 5th round, grab him.

Torrey Smith

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Smith Positional Rankings
ESPN 50 CBS/Fantasy Pros 77
Yahoo 79 NFL.com 98
Fox Sports n/a USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 99
Fantasy Football Calculator n/a Numberfire 64
Composite Overall Ranking 193.2

Smith had two bad years in San Francisco, so despite some excitement in camp, it’s hard to expect much from him until he proves it. He’s ranked as the 50th-best fantasy receiver by ESPN, but just inside the top 100 by other sites, if he was ranked at all.

Advice: Stay away from Smith. He’ll be available as a free agent all season, unless he has a big week early. His composite ranking is 193, outside the top 15 rounds.

Nelson Agholor

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Agholor Positional Rankings
ESPN 83 CBS/Fantasy Pros 73
Yahoo 56 NFL.com 132
Fox Sports n/a USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 100
Fantasy Football Calculator 62 Numberfire 79
Composite Overall Ranking 256

Note to anyone in any of my fantasy leagues: Please feel free to draft Agholor.

Note to everyone looking for fantasy advice: Buyer beware.

No one benefitted more from Matthews being dealt than Agholor, who jumped close to 200 spots in some overall fantasy rankings. And with that he’s still outside the top 250 players, which would put him as an absolute no-go in your fantasy draft.

Sure, he might be a starter now, but that doesn’t mean he’s suddenly reliable, no matter what the experts say.

Advice: Yahoo has him as the 56th-rated receiver now. If 15 teams all draft four receivers, that’s 60, which means he’s theoretically draftable. But he’s really not. So don’t.

Mack Hollins

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Hollins Positional Rankings
ESPN 109 CBS/Fantasy Pros 187
Yahoo n/a NFL.com n/a
Fox Sports n/a USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 171
Fantasy Football Calculator n/a Numberfire n/a
Composite Overall Ranking 400+

Dude might become a hall of famer. We don’t know. But he’s not worth drafting yet, even in keeper leagues. You want to do it. But don’t.

Advice: We’d still take him over Agholor and don’t even care if we’re wrong.

Jordan Matthews

He was the second-rated Eagles receiver a week ago. Even though he’s in Buffalo, he’s still worth drafting. And now that he’s gone, you might be able to get him in the eighth or ninth round, which is where he should go.

Tight End

Zach Ertz

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Ertz Positional Rankings
ESPN 7 CBS/Fantasy Pros 10
Yahoo 9 NFL.com 5
Fox Sports 7 USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 10
Fantasy Football Calculator 12 Numberfire 10
Composite Overall Ranking 91.1

Ertz could have a great year this season, and he’s absolutely a starting TE in fantasy, ranked anywhere from the fifth-best to the 12th-best. But tight ends are hard to draft, as the best two or three go in the first few rounds, then good value can be had later in the draft.

Advice: With Matthews gone, Ertz could become even more of a security blanket for Wentz, so expect his targets to increase this season. He could also get more red zone opportunities in play action with Blount in the backfield. If you can get him, draft Ertz in the seventh or eighth round, but don’t get tricked into taking him much earlier, even if there’s a run on tight ends.

Trey Burton

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Burton Positional Rankings
ESPN 47 CBS/Fantasy Pros 55
Yahoo n/a NFL.com 33
Fox Sports n/a USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 61
Fantasy Football Calculator n/a Numberfire n/a
Composite Overall Ranking 350+

Brent Celek

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Celek Positional Rankings
ESPN 65 CBS/Fantasy Pros 71
Yahoo n/a NFL.com 53
Fox Sports n/a USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 48
Fantasy Football Calculator n/a Numberfire n/a
Composite Overall Ranking 400+

Burton could be the Eagles’ best flex option on the actual roster, but not on your fantasy roster. Neither he nor Celek are draftable, as neither are ranked within the top 24 at the position, which assumes each team also takes a back-up or flex option.

Advice: Avoid drafting, but keep an eye on Burton. He might could grow into a larger role in the offense. Plus, if Ertz gets hurt, he’s worth a mid-season pickup.

Kicker

Caleb Sturgis

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Sturgis Positional Rankings
ESPN 14 CBS/Fantasy Pros 17
Yahoo 21 NFL.com 22
Fox Sports n/a USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 8
Fantasy Football Calculator n/a Numberfire 29
Composite Overall Ranking 218.2

True story: A friend once drafted former Eagles kicker David Akers…in the first round. So please, please whatever you do, don’t draft Caleb Sturgis with your first pick. Or with any pick.

Sturgis is ranked as high as eighth, but most sites don’t even have him in their top 20, and some lists only go that high because who would ever have interest in the 21st-best kicker in football?

Advice: There are better fantasy kickers. On almost every team.

Defense

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Defense Positional Rankings
ESPN 22 CBS/Fantasy Pros 13
Yahoo 17 NFL.com 16
Fox Sports n/a USA Today/Fantasy Sharks 9
Fantasy Football Calculator 15 Numberfire 10
Composite Overall Ranking 213.2

The Eagles defense just got better with the trade for Ronald Darby, but their rankings didn’t improve much other any of the major fantasy sites that have updated rankings since last week’s move.

More than maybe any other pick, the Eagles’ defense is all over the fantasy map, seen as a top 10 defense by some, but a bottom 10 by others.

Advice: If your draft is 15 rounds, pick skill position players in the first 13 rounds, take a defense in Round 14 then a kicker in the last round.

If the Eagles are available in Round 14, think about drafting them, even though their composite ranking indicates otherwise. But really, just try to play matchups for the first few weeks, picking against bad offenses as much as picking good defenses on their own merit. By then, a defense that was overlooked will stand out that you can ride for the bulk of the season. Maybe it will be the Eagles.

Or just take the Cardinals early and not have to worry about it. But if you do want the Eagles defense, you shouldn’t overdraft. For any of the Eagles this year, that’s the best advice.