Fantasy Football Team Preview: Eagles

From FanHouse

With Fantasy Football season ready to kick in high gear, FanHouse is here to preview each and every team — one per day until we’ve done them all.

Meet The …
Eagles, backed by two injury-prone, aging talents with yet another shot at fantasy greatness!
Andy Reid and company have loaded up on new toys for Donovan McNabb. They are hoping to rekindle the memories of when a guy named T.O. was around. Finally, McNabb breathes deep and says, “Now I have enough playmakers.” However, will he and his homeboy Brian Westbrook actually be able to stay healthy?

The Breakout
This offense has a lot of potential breakouts/budding stars. It’s hard not to like the potential of DeSean Jackson putting it all together this season or the thought of Jeremy Maclin adding another weapon for McNabb. But I’m going with the sleeper route so to speak and that’s gonna be Brent Celek. He will flourish in an offense that loves to utilize the tight end positon. You probably haven’t much of a clue to who this guy is. That’s fine, just know that he grabbed three TDs in the Eagles’ playoff run last year. Was it a flash in the pan? Doubt it. He’s taking over the role as the No. 1 TE, a role that L.J. Smith couldn’t ever quite grasp. McNabb has plenty at his disposal and Celek will be a key ingredient. Chances are Celek will go undrafted, but his numbers won’t be too far off from some of the tight ends that get snagged in the later rounds. It’s a reach, but you already know about Jackson, Maclin and McCoy to name a few.

The Bust
Sorry to say this, but Brian Westbrook is at the point in his fantasy career where you have to wonder a few things. Like, can he stay healthy for another grueling season? Is he still a Top 5 running back? The short answer is no. I’m not suggesting you jump off the bridge. However, the days of Westbrook being a lock to give you exactly what you need from your RB1 are gone. He will have a solid season production-wise and very well could stay healthy, but the Eagles are sure to take it easy on their feature back. They drafted LeSean McCoy in the 2nd round and brought in Lorenzo Booker via free agency last season. Both rushers will get a fair share of touches as they learn and adjust to the offense. The Eagles “believe” they are playing for a bigger prize this season and that can only mean keeping Westbrook fresh for a stretch run. Don’t avoid Westbrook altogether, but just proceed with tempered expectations and don’t overpay for him. Sound good?

The Depth Chart
QB1 – Donovan McNabb
QB2 – Kevin Kolb
RB1 – Brian Westbrook
RB2 – LeSean McCoy
RB3 – Lorenzo Booker
WR1 – Kevin Curtis
WR2 – DeSean Jackson
WR3 – Jason Avant
WR4 – Reggie Brown
WR5 – Jeremy Maclin
TE1 – Brent Celek
TE2 – Matt Schobel
K – David Akers

The D/ST
The Eagles are young and loaded on defense. They are stacked in the secondary and at linebacker. They always give you decent numbers fantasy-wise. That said, it’s tough to consider them a Top 5 fantasy defense. You can always feel comfortable using Philly on a weekly basis (pending on matchups), but you may be best served waiting it out and plucking this unit off the waiver wire if it lands there.

The Skinny
This team has proven fantasy stars with a lot of wear and tear, yet there are plenty of young assets that can be had on the cheap and could very well produce in the perfect offensive system. Expectations are always high in Philadelphia, and so should be your expectations for most of the skill positions on the Eagles.

– Donovan McNabb is entering another season as “the questioned” unquestioned leader of this team (if that makes sense). He will no doubt at some point this season be forced to look over his shoulder and see Kevin Kolb. Despite all that, McNabb has done nothing but produce when he’s healthy. He’s certainly not going to turn back the clock to 2005, but he’s got perhaps the best offense he’s ever had around him. Keep in mind as well that he wasn’t too far off Peyton Manning territory in standard leagues last year. Food for thought.

– DeSean Jackson has the potential to be an absolute monster. It appears the Eagles will push him away from full-time return duties, which could be good and bad. Regardless, his goal is to focus more on receiving duties, which could pay great dividends. Let’s not forget Jeremy Maclin is certainly no slouch at kickoff/punt returns. This could be a fierce combination.

– Look for Jason Avant to have a “sneaky” good season. I’m pretty much over the Kevin Curtis phenomenon. You know what you are getting with him — some big games and some duds. As the young weapons learn the ropes, expect McNabb to build upon the rapport with an older steady hand in Avant.

Yes, there a lot of mouths to feed on this offense … who can you trust? For drafting purposes, I suggest sticking with the usual suspects McNabb, Westbrook and Jackson. Don’t get cute. You can test drive the rest of these guys at any given point. Oh yeah, if you do need a kicker … David Akers ain’t all that bad.

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