Which Eagles players are overrated or underrated this year?
• Inside the Locker Room
With Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer
Can LeSean McCoy approach old Brian Westbrook fantasy numbers?
McCoy certainly showed he has the ability to put up very good numbers, but the perfect storm that created Westbrook’s garish stats just isn’t there. Westbrook was used as the primary check-down receiver because the Eagles lacked a difference-making tight end. And for most of his tenure, Westbrook was the best wideout option on the team. So he was used the way the Eagles use DeSean Jackson now — to stretch the field or on short screens. Simply put, McCoy is one of several potent weapons, where Westbrook was often the lone serious threat.
Has DeSean Jackson maxed out or is there another gear left?
This is a question that will go a long way toward deciding the Eagles’ fate in the next few years, since Jackson is due a big long-term contract. He is still a threat to score from anywhere on the field. At the same time, though, defenses have learned that he can be neutralized at times with physical play. The emergence of Jeremy Maclin as a reliable target also means fewer throws in Jackson’s direction.
Will Brent Celek ever be a reliable fantasy tight end starter with Vick at QB?
That’s a tough call. Celek took a plunge last season as Vick took over the starting job from Kevin Kolb. But there was more at work than the QB change. Celek played through injuries, including a painful hand injury that led to some drops. Meanwhile, with defenses trying every possible blitz to slow down Vick, Celek was called on to block more often than in the past. So 2011 should be telling.
Vick: Better or worse in 2011?
Depends which part of the first year you’re comparing him to. Vick put up some ridiculous numbers in wins over Washington and the New York Giants but tailed off at the end of the season as teams began finding ways to blitz him into poor decisions. Best guess: Vick will be steadier in 2011, putting up reliably good numbers without as many extreme highs or lows. Also, expect his rushing totals — Vick had nine of the Eagles’ 18 rushing TDs last year — to be down. One thing Vick and the coaches want is for him to protect his body more.
• Fantasy Playoff Run — Weeks 14-16: @MIA, NYJ, @DAL
Miami and New York were both top-10 defenses in fantasy points allowed, while Dallas was 28th. The Jets did surrender 26.7 points per game to WRs and 17.6 per game to QBs last season. So if Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy can get hot vs. the Jets, a trip to Dallas is enticing, since last year’s matchup saw Vick throw for 270 yards and two TDs, McCoy rush for 149 and Jackson catch four balls for 210 and a TD.
• Athlon Best Bets
Sleeper: Jason Avant, WR
Deep-Sleeper: Riley Cooper, WR
Overvalued: Michael Vick, QB
Top Rookie: Alex Henery, K
Bounce-Back: Vince Young, QB
Top IDP: Trent Cole, DL
• Try to Avoid
Brent Celek, TE
The Eagles’ offense under Michael Vick rarely features the tight end. One year removed from a stellar 2009 season, Celek saw 34 fewer targets in 2010.
WAIT UNTIL: 20th RD
• Draft Class Fantasy Impact
The Eagles are set at the skill positions and at quarterback, which allowed most of the draft attention to fall to the offensive line and adding depth to the defense. Even though he’s a rookie, Henery could be a viable fantasy kicker as he is replacing fantasy football’s most consistent kicker over the last three seasons in David Akers.
More Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets and Rankings:
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 280
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Top 240 w/ IDPs
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defense/Special Teams