Your 2013 Eagles Fantasy Football Guide

A hometown-bias-free look at the Birds worth drafting for your squad.

Homerism is death in fantasy football. I’ve learned this the hard way. It’s tempting to draft an Eagles player so you’ll have at least one guy on your squad you can root for wholeheartedly. (It also helps take the sting out of starting Victor Cruz or Tony Romo.) But when you grab Brent Celek because he’s the only homeboy left, you can kiss your championship dreams goodbye.

Objectively evaluating the Eagles’ fantasy potential is tricky this season, given the unknowns in Chip Kelly’s offense that will either revolutionize the NFL or send him limping back to college. As SportsCenter slobbers over Michael Vick preseason highlights and talk-radio callers predict a 10–6 season, don’t get caught up in the hype. The following is a bias-free guide to the Birds worth considering for your fantasy squad. Choose wisely — and when your buddy’s in last place with Riley Cooper as a starter, you’ll have the last laugh.

Michael Vick
Vick poses many of the same concerns in the fantasy game as he does in the NFL — tremendous upside but always a health risk. During his tenure as an Eagle, he’s been sidelined at least three games each season due to injuries. The return of Jason Peters should help keep him off the IR, and the quarterback has looked sharp at times. But the old Vick resurfaced in mediocre performance on Saturday. And he still won’t slide. A regular fantasy starter he’s not, but worth a backup spot on your roster.
Grade: B-

Nick Foles
Not a draft pick, even as a handcuff for Vick if/when he goes down. But keep Foles on your waiver-wire watch list. He could be a plug-and-play option down the road if you’re desperate at QB, Vick is hurt, and Foles strings together a couple of decent starts.
Grade: D

Matt Barkley
Someone, somewhere, will try to be the Chip Kelly of his fantasy league and draft Barkley. Don’t be this guy. Not even in keeper leagues.
Grade: F

DeSean Jackson
D-Jack used to burn defenses. Recently he’s been burning fantasy owners — like myself — who’ve slotted him as a solid WR2. Sure, he looked like his old self three weeks ago when he hauled in a 47-yard touchdown from Vick. But it was the first preseason game. Call it PTDD — post-traumatic DeSean disorder — but I wouldn’t count on him as more than a low-WR3 or bench depth. To paraphrase a line from Hustle & Flow, I’m not f—ing with DJ.
Grade: C+

Jason Avant/Riley Cooper/Damaris Johnson
Someone’s going to see an increase in production with Jeremy Maclin sidelined for the season. It’s more likely that all three wideouts will get looks rather than one transforming into a viable fantasy option. Keep tabs on them as the season rolls on, but in 10- or 12-team leagues, avoid on draft day.
Grade: D

LeSean McCoy
Did you see that 21-yard run against the Panthers? The one where he shook a guy so hard that he fell down twice? Then juked a gang of three more defenders? Preseason, playoffs, a dirt field across from your momma’s house — doesn’t matter where it happened. The man has highlight potential every time he touches the ball. McCoy’s days as the most underrated back in the league appear to be over; one Yahoo fantasy expert ranks him number three overall, behind only Adrian Peterson and Arian Foster. He’s the real fantasy prize of this Eagles team. Go all in.
Grade: A

Brent Celek
Seven targets against the Jags looked like a good sign for Celek’s involvement in the offense — until he had one target against the Panthers on Saturday. Again, there’s only so much one can glean from the preseason, especially with the playbook still shrouded in mystery. But with Zach Ertz and Clay Harbor in the mix and Celek’s most productive fantasy years behind him, look elsewhere for your tight end.
Grade: D+

Zach Ertz
Another watch-list guy but not worth drafting. Could have one or two big games. The trick is figuring out when he’ll bust out and having the guts to start him.
Grade: D

Alex Henery
Early concerns about Henery’s role in the offense disappeared against the Jags on Saturday, as he went three-for-three, including a 45-yarder. He may lose a few opportunities if Chip is aggressive on fourth downs. But he’s worth a dice roll if you’re looking for a kicker late and absolutely need an Eagle on your squad.
Grade: B-

Don’t even think about it.
Grade: F