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2023 Player Outlooks: Philadelphia Eagles

By Nick Caron | 8/4/23 |

Jalen Hurts

QB Jalen Hurts
(2022 QB Rank – No. 3, 28.5 FPts/G)

2022 was a magical season for the Philadelphia offense, led by quarterback Jalen Hurts. They led the NFC in both total yards and total points and the team really hasn’t changed much this offseason, so there’s a good chance that they’re among the top of the league in those categories once again. One thing that did change, however, was that they lost offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, who has now been replaced by Brian Johnson. Johnson spent the past two years as the Quarterbacks coach for the Eagles, so he should have an excellent rapport with Hurts and a strong understanding of what has worked for this offense in the past.

Hurts enters 2023 playing alongside one of the best overall supporting casts in the league, behind arguably the NFL’s best offensive line and an explosive, dynamic group of skill position players. His completion percentage was quite high this past season, at 66%. He surprised even some of his most vocal supporters, as well, when he threw for over 3,700 yards - a feat which is impressive for a quarterback who also has rushing ability.

Last season, Hurts averaged 8.0 yards per attempt, which means he's able to make big plays downfield – a valuable attribute for fantasy football. Another area where he excels is in touchdown percentage. Last season, he threw 22 touchdown passes, which is a 6.0% touchdown percentage. That's above average and indicates that he's able to find the end zone with his throws.

His touchdown passes are really the main area where Hurts hasn’t yet reached his ceiling. He threw just 22 touchdowns in 2022 and that came after tossing just 16 in 2021. We’ve seen some mobile quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson take big strides in passing touchdowns in the past and that’s certainly a possibility for Hurts, who should have plenty of opportunities in the red zone this season.

Hurts has proven himself to be one of the few true difference-making players at the position and that makes him a player who’s absolutely worth reaching on in drafts. He’s currently being selected around the 2nd/3rd round turn in normal redraft leagues, but don’t hesitate to take him as an early-to-mid-first-round pick in SuperFlex and 2QB formats.

RB D’Andre Swift
(2022 RB Rank – No. 24, 8.8 FPts/G)

Newly-acquired running back D'Andre Swift is one of the most polarizing players in all of fantasy football. While he’s certainly had moments of excellence, he’s also failed to stay healthy and was unceremoniously dumped this offseason by the Lions who invested a second round NFL Draft pick on him 2020. While a move to the Eagles is certainly an upgrade from a personnel standpoint, Swift’s high-level potential as a PPR running back might be limited in an offense with a mobile quarterback like Jalen Hurts. It’s quite rare for mobile quarterbacks to utilize their running backs heavily in the passing game, so there’s a real question right now as to whether or not the Eagles’ offense is truly the right fit for a player like Swift. He's a much better pass-catcher than Miles Sanders, who left the team this offseason, which should mean that he sees more opportunities than the minimal passing game usage that Sanders got in 2022.

From a pure skills standpoint, it’s tough to deny Swift’s talents. He's a dynamic, versatile player who excels as both a rusher and a receiver. Last season, he had 521 rushing yards, 62 receptions, and 437 receiving yards. His ability to get out in space and make plays makes him an exciting playmaker and an intriguing fantasy option.

He'll likely start the season be the Eagles’ lead running back, which is great news for fantasy managers. The Eagles’ offense has a strong likelihood of being explosive and he should get plenty of opportunities to score fantasy points. He has the upside to be a low-end RB1 or high-end RB2 in PPR leagues, but there are still some risks.

Swift has missed time with multiple injuries in his career, including a shoulder injury last year. So there's always the risk that he could miss time with another injury. But if he can stay healthy, he could be one of the best fantasy running backs in PPR formats. The other risk is the presence of Hurts, who is a dual-threat quarterback who will run the ball a lot. This could limit Swift's touchdown upside. But overall, there’s a strong case to be made that Swift’s upside outweighs his risks, especially given his ADP which is around pick 60.

RB Rashaad Penny
(2022 RB Rank – No. 64, 9.6 FPts/G)

Another new addition to the Philadelphia backfield is former Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny. Unlike Swift who’s more of a satellite back with more limited between-the-tackles rushing ability, Penny’s skill set is more in line with that of 2022 Eagles starter Miles Sanders, who rushed for 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns this past season. Sanders was not utilized much in the passing game, but was a good enough runner to justify seeing 259 rushing attempts - far surpassing his previous career high.

Penny is a high-risk, high-reward fantasy option. The high risk comes from his history of injuries. The high reward comes from his ability to generate explosive plays on the ground, as he’s been one of the most efficient running backs in the league when he’s been healthy. He could deliver some huge games for fantasy owners, especially in games where the Eagles get out to an early lead and end up relying heavily on their rushing attack to close out games. Unfortunately, quarterback Jalen Hurts could also steal a good number of goal-line carries from the Penny and Swift backfield, but he did that quite often in 2022 and Miles Sanders was still able to get into the end zone 11 times, so don’t be too scared off by Hurts’ presence.

The big question is, can Penny stay healthy? He played just five games in 2022 and he hasn’t played in more than 10 games in a season since his rookie year back in 2018. It's a gamble that fantasy owners will have to assess strongly, but if you're willing to take the risk, he could be a great value pick given that he’s being selected beyond pick 100 and outside RB3 range in most fantasy drafts.

RB Kenneth Gainwell
(2022 RB Rank – No. 54, 3.8 FPts/G)

While the Eagles’ new acquisitions at running back are great for the offense as a whole, the player who was likely the biggest loser for the Eagles this offseason is running back Kenneth Gainwell. It looked for a moment as if Gainwell might potentially get an opportunity to start this season when they moved on from Miles Sanders, but that thought was quickly put to bed when the team brought in both Rashaad Penny and D’Andre Swift.

Gainwell played a minimal role in the Eagles' offense in 2022, carrying the ball just 53 times despite playing in every game. He did lead all Eagles running backs with 29 carries and 23 receptions but is unlikely to maintain a strong grasp on the pass-catching role now that Swift has arrived.

Gainwell projects as more of an insurance policy rather than a locked-in contributor, but he’s playing behind two backs who both have a long history of injuries, so there’s a decent chance that Gainwell ends up carving out a role at some point during the season. He’s someone who should probably go undrafted in most leagues, but keep an eye on him throughout the season as he could end up being a very valuable waiver wire addition.

WR A.J. Brown
(2022 WR Rank – 4, 12.7 FPts/G)

The Titans were seemingly unconvinced that A.J. Brown could be a true alpha receiver in the NFL, but he put all doubts to rest in 2022 when he lit up the fantasy scoreboard to the tune of 95 receptions for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns. Brown proved that not only is he a big-play threat who can rack up yards, but he's also a reliable red-zone target who can score touchdowns. His new team, the Eagles, committed to getting him the ball, which gave him both a high weekly floor and a high weekly ceiling - a true dream scenario for fantasy managers.

The Eagles’ aggressive passing attack coupled with a strong offensive line, a great play-caller in head coach Nick Sirianni, and an MVP-caliber quarterback in Jalen Hurts provide an exceptional situation for Brown and fantasy owners. His raw numbers are elite, but what really sets Brown apart is his consistency. Going back to his 2021 season with the Titans, Brown has now had at least 50 receiving yards in all but three games last season, and he scored a touchdown in nearly half of his games. That type of consistency is rare and makes him a very valuable fantasy asset.

Since coming to Philadelphia, Brown's fantasy value has increased significantly. In fact, his ADP has risen from the middle of the third round heading into 2022 all the way up to the early second round heading into 2023. The Eagles made him the clear number one wide receiver and they've designed the offense to feature him heavily.

The only real concern about Brown is that he's dealt with some minor injuries over the past couple of years, which have occasionally impacted his fantasy production. While he's healthy now, it's something to keep an eye on. Still, he’s a strong candidate to finish as a mid-level fantasy WR1 again here in 2023.

WR DeVonta Smith
(2022 WR Rank – 9, 9.5 FPts/G)

Devonta Smith might have been replaced as the top target in Philadelphia, but he proved that he can still be monster fantasy producer as the “1B” in the high-powered Philadelphia offense.

Smith, like Brown, benefits from the Eagles' pass-heavy offense. He's a great route runner and has excellent hands, which makes him a valuable target for Jalen Hurts. However, one of his weaknesses is that he's not a big-play threat like A.J. Brown. He doesn't break a lot of long touchdowns or have many long receptions. His yards per reception ranked just inside the top 50 among wide receivers in 2022 and his aDOT was outside the top 60 at the position.

His fantasy value is solid, but he's more of a high-floor player than a high-ceiling player. While that makes him a bit less exciting as a fantasy option than Brown, he can still be valuable given that he’s being selected alongside other players like Tee Higgins, DK Metcalf, and Deebo Samuel who are not necessarily the locked-in top targets in their own respective offenses. If Smith falls to you at around his ADP or preferably a bit below it, he's a solid pick, but don't take him too early. He'll get you consistent points, but he's not likely to be someone who's going to win you your league.

TE Dallas Goedert
(2022 TE Rank – 9, 7.4 FPts/G)

Even though he doesn't get as many targets as some other tight ends, Dallas Goedert’s efficiency and red-zone usage give him a high fantasy ceiling. He's also a safer option, since he's involved in the offense in multiple ways - not just at the goal line. But since the Eagles' offense is so prolific, he has plenty of opportunities for touchdowns.

Goedert finished 2022 among the top tier of tight ends in average yards per route run, finishing third at the position in that category. Perhaps more impressive is that he finished as the No. 1 TE in the league in yards per target. He lines up more often as a traditional receiver than in the slot, and he's often targeted on intermediate routes in the Philadelphia offense.

The main issue that prevented Goedert from truly breaking out into the top tier of fantasy tight ends this past season was his total targets. He was fine for fantasy purposes, but he finished outside the top 10 at the position in targets, in large part because the Eagles prioritized getting the ball to A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

He's being drafted as a low-end TE1 in most fantasy leagues, but he has the potential to be a top-five tight end in terms of production. An injury to either Brown or Smith could mean a significant boost in target share for Goedert, so there’s some strong asymmetrical upside in drafting him as late as he’s going. If you're looking for a reliable, consistent option at tight end without breaking the bank, Goedert is a great option.

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