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Wing-Clipped: Managing the Eagles Wide Receivers


What seems to be an on-going joke around the NFL in recent seasons is the health status or lack thereof regarding the Philadelphia Eagles receiving corps. One person who isn't laughing: Carson Wentz. The often-injured quarterback has been dealing with a rash of injuries to his playmakers, limiting the weapons at his disposal. You have to go back to the 2017 season for the last time that he dealt with a fully healthy group of receivers, finishing with his best statistical season (33 TD with seven interceptions and a QB7 finish in fantasy). We all can recall the trainwreck that was the 2019 season with every starter being lost to injury, forcing Wentz to suffer through the likes of Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, and Deontay Burnett to finish the season.

The Eagles' front office made the conscious effort to address this problem through the NFL Draft by adding a trio of promising rookies to this group. But it would not be an on-going joke without laughter. The laughter (or tears for Philly fans) is that the Eagles are already dealing with a rash of injuries to the position early in camp. Alshon Jeffery, recovering from Lisfranc surgery, is likely to miss the early portion of the 2020 season. Rookies Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins are both battling injuries and are expected to miss time as well. That leaves the only healthy receivers at the moment as DeSean Jackson (often injured), Greg Ward (slot option), J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (underperformed in 2019), and rookie John Hightower.

We all know that the top option in the passing game will continue to be Zach Ertz, while also mixing in Dallas Goedert in 12 personnel packages. But how can Carson Wentz expect to excel while once again playing with a thin cupboard? I examine the options for Wentz at receiver and how fantasy managers should value them for the upcoming 2020 season.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Premium articles, rankings, projections, 15 lineup tools and daily Premium DFS research/tools including our Lineup Optimizer, Research Station and so much more! Sign Up Now!

 

Alshon Jeffery

As previously mentioned, Jeffery is slow to come back from Lisfranc surgery he had last December. The expectation at the moment is that he will miss at least the first game of the season, if not more. One true thing is that Wentz is a better fantasy quarterback with Jeffery on the field. His PPG and passing touchdowns are both higher with Jeffery in the rotation.

With this expected to be his final season with the team, once Jeffery returns he should immediately start once again and give managers a solid WR3/Flex option weekly. With a WR67 ADP currently, he can be a player that you grab at the end of your draft and see how his injury status changes going into the season.

 

DeSean Jackson

Jackson has not played a full 16-game schedule since 2013. Coincidentally enough, that was the last time that he was fantasy viable with a WR12 finish that season. With a top finish of WR23 (2014) since then, Jackson has constantly battled nagging injuries, one after another. Many managers will call back to the points explosion to begin the 2019 season (35.4 FP) as a reason to be excited about what's to come. But don't fall for fool's gold.

Jackson is a player that has more appeal in best-ball formats than in regular season-long. He will pop a big week now and then but become largely invisible for weeks at a time. His WR58 ADP is somewhat inflated due to the crisis befalling this team currently. Let another manager in your league be the person to deal with Jackson on the roster as you select someone with a higher upside.

 

Jalen Reagor

The rookie wideout from TCU that was drawing rave reviews now finds himself on the sidelines with a torn labrum. The injury could cost him the first month of the season, but with the Raiders' Tyrell Williams going on IR with a similar injury, this is cause for concern. The Bears' Anthony Miller has struggled through his first two seasons with a banged-up shoulder as well, so expecting big things from Reagor upon return could be a bit of a stretch.

With him learning multiple positions as a rookie, it is clear the Eagles were expecting him to contribute right away. Now instead of a potential sleeper pickup in drafts, managers must let him slide down the board to potentially pick up as a WR5 and see how the injury shakes out.

 

John Hightower

An intriguing dynasty prospect, Hightower is a name that I have been pushing throughout the summer for rookie drafts. A player with size/speed combo, Hightower projected out to become the replacement for Jeffery in the lineup as early as 2021. Now that timeline has been pushed up with the injury bug hitting this team, will he be a candidate to start right away? No. But he could be mixed in the rotation quite a bit and see some appeal as a waiver pickup early on. He remains a player I would want in dynasty preferably, but could be worth a roster stash in deeper redraft leagues.

 

Greg Ward

Ward is a player that the coaching staff seems to love. But his athletic abilities are somewhat lacking for a guy that is slated to play a majority out of the slot. With most of his 28 receptions coming at the end of the 2019 season, maybe he can carry some of that momentum over into the new season. But once the health of other players becomes clear, Ward is a player that will see his snap share decrease dramatically. He could see some sneaky appeal from a DFS standpoint early in the season, but from a season-long perspective, Ward should be left on the waiver wire.

 

The Rest of the Group

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside - The 2019 rookie was given chances to earn time on the field, especially with the rash of injuries and he still struggled mightily. Only 10 receptions on the season, it is hard to rely on him in 2020 in any format until he shows he belongs.

Quez Watkins - Watkins is a speedster (4.35) with a productive career at Southern Miss. He may be the eventual replacement for DeSean Jackson as the team's deep threat but expecting much from him in 2020 may be a long shot. If injuries continue to take hold of this group he could see more snaps on the field, but he will need seasoning to adjust to the level of play at the NFL. He is more of a dynast stash at the moment but could be a player that pops a week in DFS in 2020 in the right matchup.



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RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More