It’s time to start thinking about fantasy football, and we have started going team by team to let you know what each NFL franchise can do for your fantasy squad. You can click here to see if your team has been previewed yet. If it isn’t there, chances are it’s coming soon. We have finished the NFC and AFC West, the NFC and AFC South, and now move on to the NFC East.
*Rankings are based on a 12-team, standard scoring format.
2011 RECORD: 8-8
2012 BYE WEEK: 7
TOP DRAFT PICKS: (1) Fletcher Cox- DT- Mississippi State
(2) Mychal Kendricks- ILB- California
(2) Vinny Curry- DE- Marshall
QUARTERBACK: Michael Vick is one of those guys on draft day that make you extremely nervous. You get to that point where you want to take him, but you don’t want to have to count on him to stay healthy for a full season. Last year was a relative disappointment for fantasy owners. He was 17th in the league in passing yards, and had an 18-14 TD-INT ratio last year. The big drop off came in his running. He dropped from 9 rushing touchdowns in 2010 to 1 last year. He also fumbled the ball a career high 7 times. Mike Kafka and Nick Foles will compete for the backup job. Mike Vick is a bottom level QB-1 in my mind, and possibly a QB-2. He will likely be drafted higher than that. Vick is highly unlikely to end up on any of my teams, namely because I just don’t trust him to stay healthy.
RUNNING BACK: While I can go on and on about reasons to avoid drafting Vick, LeSean McCoy is probably my favorite guy coming into this season. He ran for 1,309 yards and 17 touchdowns, leading the league in the latter category. He also added over 300 yards receiving and 3 more TD’s through the air. I would be surprised if he saw 273 carries again, but I think he is the most trustworthy running back on the board. Dion Lewis is the backup, but he is 5’7″ and it is hard to put him on the field on any down but third. McCoy is an elite RB-1 option, and if I had the choice, would be my number 1 overall pick. If I end up with McCoy, I wouldn’t mind having Lewis as a handcuff. If I don’t get Shady, I probably pass on Lewis.
WIDE RECEIVER: It will be interesting to see if DeSean Jackson’s new contract makes him play harder, or pull it back a little bit. He was just under 1,000 yards, but being held under 60 catches is a concern. He also only scored 4 touchdowns. He is still a home run threat, but can often leave fantasy owners frustrated in the weeks he swings and misses. Jeremy Maclin missed 3 games last year, or would have hit 1,000 yards for the second consecutive season. His touchdown totals also dropped from 10 down to 5 last season. Jason Avant and Riley Cooper will vie for looks as the #3 WR. I would draft Jackson and Maclin both as WR-2s, though I feel a little more comfortable with Maclin. Avant is probably worth looking at as a backup, but you can probably do better. If there is an injury to one of the top two guys, he becomes more valuable.
TIGHT END: Brent Celek has twice failed to meet his impressive 2009 numbers. Last season he picked up 300 more yards than he did in 2010, but only went from 4 to 5 touchdowns. I think last season is probably about what he is, as opposed to the great 2009 and the poor 2010. 800 yards and 5 touchdowns is a fair estimate, and that is enough to make him a solid fantasy backup TE.
KICKER: Alex Henery had a great rookie season last year, connecting on 24 of 27 attempts. I think the offense will improve this season, giving him more opportunities. He is a low-end draft worthy kicker.
DEFENSE-SPECIAL TEAMS: Defense was a focus in the offseason, as the Eagles used their first two picks on defense and brought in DeMeco Ryans from Houston. They put up big sack numbers, but don’t produce a ton of turnovers. DeSean Jackson as a return man adds to their value. Keep in mind they play in a tough offensive division though. They are an upper-mid level defense, and definitely worthy of choice on draft day.