Weekend Reading: Foles And the Future

Nick Foles
Some links to pass along:

Neil Greenberg of the Washington Post cautions fantasy players about drafting Nick Foles too high:

In the 880 mock drafts conducted at Fantasy Football Calculator between July 4, 2014 and July 7, 2014, Foles was the sixth quarterback taken, ahead of Robert Griffin III, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick.

That would be a waste of a pick.


For starters, Jackson is now with Washington, pushing Riley Cooper, Jeremy Maclin and Brad Smith up Philadelphia’s depth chart. Over the past two seasons, Cooper has had comparable stats to D-Jax when Foles was throwing the ball, but their usage tells two very different stories...

Plus, you can’t expect Foles to play a full 16-game season, throw close to 500 times and have just two interceptions. The league saw 2.6 percent of passing plays end in an interception last year and if we ran each of Foles’s 2013 passing attempts in a random simulation 1,000 times, we would expect him to have two interceptions or fewer just 0.6 percent of the time...

The more likely scenario is Foles throws 500 times for 3,100 yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, which puts him more in line with the 15-18 best QBs rather than anywhere near the top 10.

Tommy Lawlor isn't big on the idea of the Eagles trading for Andre Johnson. 

If the Texans put Johnson on the market, should the Eagles have interest?

No.

If the question was simply about Johnson, the answer would be yes. But he’s not a free agent. Compensation is a factor. Johnson is a band-aid. I would not give up a pick for him. He’s older and expensive. Is he a good player? Yes. But the Eagles don’t need a workhorse WR, which is what Johnson is best at.

Let’s talk about age for a minute. The Eagles gave up a 5th round pick for Darren Sproles. What about that? Sproles is 31. He also impacts STs as well as offense. Sproles cost a cheap pick and has a reasonable salary. Johnson is a starting player. He would cost a higher pick and bigger salary. Do you want to add a 33-year old WR when the current group is young and has potential?

If this were mid-August and someone had gotten hurt, then you make a deal. Right now the Eagles are healthy and WR isn’t a position of “need”. I’m sure several of you will point out that Jeremy Maclin is coming off an ACL tear and that the Eagles have a couple of rookies in key roles. That’s true. But Maclin has looked good so far and the goal is to build up a young corps of WRs. The Eagles need to get Matthews, Huff, Benn and the others on the field.

ESPN rolled out their NFL Future Power Rankings, which takes into account things like quality of the young players on the roster, the quarterback situation, front office strength and coaching. They have the Eagles eighth.

The overview: Is Nick Foles the answer at QB? Our analysts think so, to some extent. Philadelphia jumped eight spots to No. 12 at the position, which puts the Eagles ahead of teams with some of Foles' 2012 draft classmates, including Washington (Robert Griffin III) and Miami (Ryan Tannehill). Foles has 33 TD passes with only seven INTs to this point in his career. He has a 9-7 starting record and a passer rating in triple digits. The rest of Philly's roster ranked fifth, and it's fair to say coach Chip Kelly has won over some skeptics. The Eagles moved up eight spots to No. 9 in coaching, the third-highest gain in that category. The drafting outlook fell three spots to 17th, but that isn't a significant change. The Eagles improved in every other category. This looks like a team on the rise. --Mike Sando

The youth movement: Kelly's offense was good enough in 2013 that many would believe he can get it done with just about anybody, but the draft proved that Kelly and GM Howie Roseman aren't similarly convinced. I believe 2014 second-rounder Jordan Matthews has the potential to overtake Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin as the top option in the passing game over the next season-plus, and 2014 third-rounder Josh Huff is a competitive, tough runner after the catch who could (again) thrive in Kelly's offense -- and soon. --Mel Kiper

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  • Andy124

    The more likely scenario is Foles throws 500 times for 3,100 yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, which puts him more in line with the 15-18 best QBs rather than anywhere near the top 10.

    Sure, that’s more likely that him having 2 interceptions on his next 500 pass attempts. But neither is likely enough to be worth mentioning.

    • travis papa

      4000yds 32tds 7ints and 3rushing tds with 200yds rushing sounds like a qb that should be the 6-8th qb taken or better. All that I feel is a realistic stat line and even if u bump the ints to 13 its only 6 fewer fantasy pts

      • NickS1

        Realistic, but unproven, I believe was his point. Newton, Brady, even RG3 and Kaep, have put up decent fantasy seasons worthy of top 10 consideration for QBs.

    • Dominik

      Amen. Sure his interceptions will go up, because 27/2 is unreal. But why in the world should he throw fewer TDs with 6 more starts? Why should he do that? Because he’s a 3rd rounder?

      Somebody should tell Russell Wilson that he never should have won a SB.

      Of course it’s possible that Foles turns out to be an average QB. It’s possible Peyton Manning has a bad season due to age/injury. But the possibility doesn’t make it more likely.

  • NickS1

    Add Greenberg to the list of people Foles will be proving wrong this year. While I agree that the 6th QB taken is probably a little high in fantasy (this year, at least), that list of stats he thinks Foles compiles this year is just disrespectful.

    To answer Lawlor’s question of “Do you want to add a 33-year old WR when the current group is young and has potential?” Yes, yes I do. Especially when that receiver is Andre Johnson, Anquan Boldin, or Larry Fitz. Can’t think of many other 33yr old vets I’d want to come in and teach these young bucks what’s up while getting 2-3 years of high level, quality production. Love Maclin, but not the guy I want showing Matthews/Huff the ropes.

    • MediaMike

      No doubt Maclin is a vastly inferior product to Johnson (or any other true #1 and a lot of #2s), but they’re making a strong effort to thin themselves out financially at WR. I just don’t see Johnson being here for the salary he’s going to command from a new team.

      • NickS1

        I agree that it won’t happen, most likely because of $. AJ is going to have to restructure his deal to leave or they won’t get any worthwhile pick, meaning the deal wouldn’t happen. His need to restructure makes me wonder what kind of deal he’d take to win. 10 or 11 seasons in, you’d have to think that winning might have a higher priority to him than it once did. Not that it trumps money, but just that it’s a definitely more of a consideration for him.

        • MediaMike

          They were talking about this on Sirius NFL a bit yesterday and one of the points that came up was that he boxed himself into a corner over a mistaken assumption that the Texans were going to blow things up under O’Brien coupled with the team now refusing to let him earn back his forfeited $1 mil workout bonus. It appear a full scale pissing contest has erupted and he’s not committed to leaving the team in order to save face.
          I’m just not sure what team has a favorable mix of QB talent, cap space, and playoff chances to fit a guy like Johnson in the mix. His best fits are New England and Baltimore, but they’re both in a bad way with the cap.

          • NickS1

            We’ll see. I’d love to see if Howie could swindle Houston, again.

      • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

        Without knowing the total contract figure, I do know Houston has to take a $12M hit just to deal him,(which probably makes a trade less likely,actually), but should also lower his cap hit for ’14 and beyond a decent bit.

    • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

      I’ve lost track. T-MAC-we actually do need to keep a running tab of all the doubters and haters. Then maybe at season’s end, send them a FU card to remind them of their pitiful projections, signed by the 24/7 readers.

    • Philly0312

      I actually disagree with 6 being too high. Foles was the number 2 fantasy QB last year by per game metric….and one of those games he only had one drive. His numbers over 16 games last year would be similar to A.Rods MVP season a couple years ago. A step back still sees him producing top 5 fantasy numbers. That doesn’t mean he is a top 5 qb, just means he’s a great fantasy steal in leagues no inundated with eagles fans. Right now Foles average Draft position in most leagues is the 6th round. THAT, is a steal.

      • NickS1

        Don’t disagree with anything you’re saying, but the 6th round is where I’d expect him to go. I know his numbers were ridiculous for fantasy, but I think, just like real life, people want to see sustainability. Especially since he’s facing some tougher D’s this year. The 4 NFCW teams on the schedule alone will make some people shy away from him. Just my thought.

  • Cyrus Robinson

    If you ran a simulator and your average expected value is vastly different than the observed value, it’s actually more likely that you’re just simulating with the wrong information/model. For example, if your Madden game simulated that the 2013 Eagles were going to average a 2-14 season, it’s not that the 2013 Eagles over achieved, it’s that your simulator was programmed to think that the Eagles were going to suck.
    I think it’s comical that they’re saying “this shouldn’t have happened, my computer says so!” What’s next? “In 1000 computer simulations, 16-0 Patriots defeat Giants 999 out of 1000 times.”
    Well, that’s why we play the game.

  • MediaMike

    Neil Greenberg can S a D.
    Foles @ 3100 – 20 -13 is a joke.
    Foles behind RGKnee and Kaeper-nit-wit, two read one and run scramble bums, is a joke.
    Foles @ 3600 – 36-12 is more like it.
    Foles isn’t in the big 4. Foles isn’t in the next group of talents such as Rivers – Luck – Big Ben. Foles is behind Wilson.
    But I’d have Foles in the 9 to 13 mix with Ryan, Flacco, Cutler, and Stafford.
    Guys like RGKnee, Scam Newtwon, and Kaepernick are overrated trash by people obsessed with flavor of the month scrambling garbage. The whole style play has already peaked and will be gone in 3 to 5 years.

    • NickS1

      Scrambling is fantasy points, which is why they’re worth the consideration above Foles.

      • MediaMike

        So are the injury risks associated with scrambling as well as the fumbles.

        • NickS1

          Yes, but while injuries and fumbles MAY happen as a result, points WILL happen. I get what you’re saying, though.

  • BuddyBall

    Neil Greenberg is a joke.

    I’d love for him to try to justify his yardage projections. If Foles gets 500 pass attempts and ends up with 3100 yards, that’s a 6.2 yards-per-attempt average. Last year, Foles averaged 9.12. As a rookie, playing without
    Shady, behind an injured o-line, without Desean, on a team that had
    largely checked out, he averaged 6.41. 6.2 ypa is such a comically low projection that even the lowest qualified (minimum 14 attempts per schedule game) QB from last year (Mike Glennon) averaged 6.27 yards per attempt. The following quarterbacks averaged more than 6.3 yards per attempt: Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, Chad Henne, Terrelle Pryor, Christian Ponder, Case Keenum. And Foles won’t best any of them?

    And while it’s fair to say that Foles should experience an uptick in
    interceptions, there is no reason to assume he’s going to skew towards
    the league average interception rate of 2.6 percent. Per Football
    Outsiders, even if you convert all of Foles’ “near interceptions” from
    last season into actual interceptions, he’d still only have an
    interception rate of 1.9 percent. As a rookie in 2012, his interception rate was… 1.9 percent. If you
    assume 500 pass attempts (as Greenberg does), that 1.9 percent
    interception rate (which is probably a worst case scenario) equates in
    nine picks.

    Get bent, Greenberg.

    • Joe Thomas

      Well said

    • Charliefoxtrot

      That was awesome!

    • John E. Zang

      Just another stat geek that knows nothing about the real game and probably never even played sandlot style as a kid. He must know somebody.

    • NickS1

      Boom!

    • Jeff Asay

      That’s an excellent analysis/rebuttal. If you haven’t already, you should send it to Greenberg, ESPN, and Greenberg’s cat. If there’s any justice, ESPN will drop him and the cat will eat him.

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    • Eagle in VT

      I love his analysis…keep the expectations really low so I can snag Foles late and get great QB1 production!

    • knighn

      Well done.

    • Amar

      That is the highest number of upvotes i’ve seen on this site. 98 and still counting.

  • Reasonableeaglefan

    3100 yards?! C’mon man. I get that his TD/int ratio isn’t sustainable and I’m not expecting linear progression, but you honestly don’t think Foles is going to avg 200yds per game. You could prob put Sanchez in at QB and clear 200yds a game.

  • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

    “The more likely scenario is Foles throws 500 times for 3,100 yards, 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, which puts him more in line with the 15-18 best QBs rather than anywhere near the top 10.”………..Sounds like you need a new algorithm my dude, you must’ve plugged Matt Cassell’a bio into Nick’s profile.

    • MediaMike

      What’s funny is that Matt Cassell will have better than Matt Cassell numbers playing in Norv’s system up there in Minnesota.

      • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

        The simulator probably had him down for 4k and 35 tds with 2.6 picks

    • John E. Zang

      There’s no way Foles ends up with barely 3000 in this offense. If he does this team will be abissmal. Those are RGKnee type of stats.

      • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

        There’s been a lot of bashing Bob Griffen on the site today, but Im not buying it. He has everything at his disposal to be an absolute menace this year. Im all for team spirit, but keep it real. That kid came in 2 years ago and wrecked shop. No reason to believe the knee wont be stronger this yr. He and Foles will be invovled in some shootouts in years to come.

        • John E. Zang

          I don’t see it. He came in when the NFC east was a mess, the eagles in particular and ran around and made plays with Morris paving the way for play action. He got his butt kicked playing like that and now he has to learn how to be a qb from the pocket which he’s never done his entire life. Trying to learn to play that way when you’ve been successful using your athelticism all your life is a hard thing to do. Can’t teach old dogs new tricks. I don’t say that because he’s old but he’s trained his mind and body to react that way since he started playing and to unlearn that is difficult from a scientific stand point.

          • John E. Zang

            See Scam Newton, Mike Vick, Colin Kaepernick, and Vince Young. Russel Wilson is the only athletic QB I can see making a career for himself because he can work the pocket and uses his athleticism judiciously to get receivers open. He sort of reminds me of a Steve Young mixed with Drew Brees. But he still has some to learn as a pocket qb.

          • JP Long

            Russell Wilson was absolutely horrible at the end of the year last year. And he never stays in the pocket. He runs backwards alot. He is a tremendous playmakker,leader and is clutch. Yet he is getting far too much credit. He has an epic Defense and a solid running game.

          • John E. Zang

            I may have gone a bit far with Drew Brees/Young comparisons. I totally agree. He doesn’t impress me much as a QB but out of all the new style QBs I think he has the best chance at making a decent career. I don’t think he’ll ever be lighting up the score boards like Rogers in Green Bay or anything. I think he’s more of a game manager than Alex Smith sometimes.

          • John E. Zang

            I wouldn’t say he was “horrible” at the end of last year though. Does he have a lot to learn as a QB? Yes. But part of the way he plays is also play design. Their good at utilizing his strengths and he manages to not get hit or give the football to the other team. The caviat is they may be stunting his development as a true quarterback. He’s not very consistent with his timing on plays because he’s always improvising it seems.

  • EaglefaninAZ

    Neil Greenberg. Now that is some real “Fantasy Football”.

  • Sconces

    “The league saw 2.6 percent of passing plays end in an interception last year and if we ran each of Foles’s 2013 passing attempts in a random simulation 1,000 times, we would expect him to have two interceptions or fewer just 0.6 percent of the time…”

    It’s like he didn’t even consider that some quarterbacks are better than others. What a stupid argument.

    • Bert’s Bells

      Considering that luck is a major factor in interceptions, it stands to reason that Foles would regress. A random simulation is actually a decent way to project. Obviously, its not reality.

      I think we all agree that its highly unlikely Foles plays 16 games and throws fewer than 5 picks in 2014. It’s possible (.6% maybe?) but unlikely.

      • Sconces

        Using a simulation with the league average only makes sense if Foles is exactly in the middle of starting QBs. I just don’t get how that makes sense. The QBs in the league who consistently have low INTs would be considered highly unlikely to repeat each year too, with that argument.

        And I definitely think Foles will regress from .2 INTs per game. I’m just saying it’s a stupid argument by the writer IMO

  • Fly High

    I applaud Greenberg’s views on Foles fantasy value. Please publicize them so I can get Foles cheap in fantasy auctions.
    My personal fantasy chart has Foles in 3 -way tie for 2nd with Rodgers and Bress (behind Peyton). I do not think he is as good a QB as the other two. But in Chip’s offense, which means open receivers, and lots of attempts, I think Foles will score as high.Foles was the #1 fantasy scorer in the second half of last year.

  • anon

    Jaws made the comment that often foles is throwing to wide open targets. if 80% of his throws are to wide open guys of course his numbers are going to be crazy.

    • NickS1

      Which also adds to Greenberg being an idiot.

  • Scott J

    I put Neil Greenberg’s comments in my GFY random simulator and it spit out that he has waaaay too much time on his hands.

  • Max Lightfoot

    I don’t do fantasy football, but even I can see that Greenberg is a hose-bag.

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  • dnabrice

    Neil writes for the Washington Post…He’s jealous that we got a productive Foles in the third round when he had to give up numerous 1st rounders to get RG3. Bet his simulators have RG3 starting more games than Foles this year.

  • dnabrice

    @Tim_McManus,

    Realize it’s interesting when an Eagle gets play in a national newspaper like the Post, but the reasoning and “stats” are so off base, I don’t think it’s worth pointing people in the direction of his article.

    He probably just got a bunch of hits on his article from Philadelphia fans. I was going to write a comment about how ridiculous his analysis was, and then realized I’d just be boosting his webpage hit count. No need to draw attention to inferior analysis.

    Keep up the good work boys. Your analysis is far superior. We don’t need that slop.