Best and worst fantasy plays of Eagles-49ers

Best and worst fantasy plays of Eagles-49ers

Carson Wentz is the No. 2 fantasy quarterback through seven weeks, trailing only Alex Smith.

So if you've got Wentz, you're 100 percent starting him this week against the hapless 49ers. The only fantasy quarterback I'd even consider starting over Wentz this week is Drew Brees, who faces the Bears at home. The Saints' home field is the offensive equivalent of Coors Field in baseball.

And yes, that means that I'd start Wentz over Tom Brady (vs. Chargers) this week. 

On to some of the tougher fantasy plays of Eagles-49ers:

WR Alshon Jeffery
We're at the point now where benching Jeffery is a legitimate option. If you're in a league that starts three wide receivers, you're probably starting Jeffery. But if you start two wide receivers and a flex, there are just so many players performing at a more consistent level than Jeffery.

Jeffery has shown rust all season. He isn't gaining separation deep down the field and he's not coming up with tough catches on jump-balls, aside from the sideline fade he caught late in Monday night's win.

Would you believe that Jeffery has now gone 18 straight games without reaching 100 receiving yards? Would you believe that he's scored just four times in his last 19 games?

With the way Wentz is spreading the ball around and heavily involving Zach Ertz on intermediate routes and in the red zone, Nelson Agholor inside the 20 and Mack Hollins on deep passes, Jeffery has become an increasingly risky start.

The 49ers are a dream matchup for any skill player. They've allowed the most fantasy points in the NFL to running backs, the second-most to quarterbacks and the 10th-most to wide receivers.

Still, temper the expectations for Alshon this week. I thought he was poised to break out against a depleted Redskins secondary and it never materialized.

I'd start Jeffery this week over Demaryius Thomas, T.Y. Hilton and DeSean Jackson.

I would not start Jeffery this week over Chris Hogan, Amari Cooper, Doug Baldwin, Kelvin Benjamin or Adam Thielen.

Projected stat line: 4 catches, 55 yards

• • •

RB LeGarrette Blount
This right here? This is a Blount game.

The forecast calls for torrential rain on Sunday, and given that Wentz is relatively inexperienced playing in those kinds of conditions, the Eagles could rely heavily on the running game against San Francisco.

The 49ers are dreadful against running backs — they've allowed 1,325 total yards and nine TDs. Granted, a lot of that was caused by Ezekiel Elliott last week and Blount isn't nearly that type of dual threat.

Still, expect a high-volume game from Blount, who gained just 29 yards on 14 carries in Week 7.

I'd start Blount this week over Carlos Hyde, Doug Martin, C.J. Anderson and all of the Patriots' running backs.

I would not start Blount ahead of Lamar Miller or Joe Mixon.

Projected stat line: 22 carries, 110 yards, TD

• • •

TE Zach Ertz
The 49ers have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're a good defense vs. TEs. It's more so the byproduct of so many other skill players doing damage against them.

Ertz is matchup-proof, which he proved against the Panthers with two touchdowns against a defense that typically stifles tight ends. 

If you have Ertz, you're starting him. Let's not even waste time explaining why.

Projected stat line: 6 catches, 66 yards, TD

• • •

RB Carlos Hyde
The Eagles' run defense is on a historic stretch of limiting running backs. It could suffer a bit with Jordan Hicks out for the season, but the Eagles still have so many players who can collapse the pocket, run blitz effectively and tackle in the open field.

Hyde should accumulate some numbers this Sunday out of sheer necessity from the 49ers. I mean, C.J. Beathard is this team's starting QB. Just don't expect huge production. 

With Matt Breida getting more and more involved, the possibility exists that Hyde has a goal-line carry or two vultured away.

Projected stat line: 80 total yards

• • •

WR Pierre Garcon
Garcon is the only 49ers skill player I like this week because San Fran is expected to be behind by a lot early in the game and forced to pass. 

Garcon always plays well against the Eagles. The last eight times he's faced them, he's averaged five catches for 60 yards. He's scored four TDs in the last six meetings.

Because the Eagles limit opposing running games, it means they face more pass attempts. It seems probable that Garcon will see double-digit targets in this one.

Projected stat line: 7 catches, 86 yards, TD

• • •

WR Nelson Agholor
I've said in this space several times this season that Agholor is a risky start because he's so touchdown-dependent. The guy's averaging 3.4 catches per game, but he has five TDs. 

But at this point, with how well Agholor has caught slants and converted red-zone opportunities, he's a legit WR3. 

I'd start Agholor ahead of Mohamed Sanu, all Redskins receivers, Danny Amendola, Jordan Matthews, Paul Richardson and Ted Ginn Jr. 

Projected stat line: 4 catches, 60 yards

• • •

Other thoughts:
• The idea that the Eagles will run the ball a lot Sunday would benefit more than just Blount. It could also lead to a TD for Wendell Smallwood, but I'd advise starting Smallwood only in deep, 12-team leagues.

• The Eagles' defense is a top-3 play this week. The only two defenses I'd start ahead of them would be the Vikings (vs. Browns in London) and Chiefs (home vs. Broncos on Monday Night Football).

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

The Eagles have found their replacement for Torrey Smith. 

Heck, they found an upgrade. 

On Thursday, the Birds agreed to terms with veteran speedy receiver Mike Wallace on a one-year deal. The deal is worth $2.5 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. 

This signing makes a ton of sense for the Eagles, especially if they weren’t ready to hand Mack Hollins the starting spot Smith left. Hollins can now split time with Wallace. Even if the Eagles didn’t trade Smith, they weren’t going to keep him at his price tag, so adding Wallace gives the Eagles a veteran with speed at a cheaper cost. 

Wallace, 31, is coming off a season in which he caught 52 passes for 748 yards (14.4 yards per reception) and four touchdowns. For comparison, in 2017, Smith caught 36 passes for 430 yards (11.9) and two touchdowns. And Smith dropped seven passes, while Wallace dropped just three, according to ProFootballFocus. In fact, Wallace's numbers weren't far off from Alshon Jeffery's stats last year (57 receptions, 789 yards, 9 touchdowns). 

While Wallace isn’t coming off his best season in 2017, he went over 1,000 yards in 2016 and has averaged 15.0 yards per reception during his nine-year NFL career. The Eagles hope he'll be the deep threat they thought they were getting in Smith. 

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Wallace is second in the league in 40-yard receptions and in 50-yard receptions. He has 43 receptions of 40-plus yards (behind DeSean Jackson's 56) and 26 receptions of 50-plus yards (behind Jackson's 36). 

If that's not recent enough for you, the Eagles had seven pass plays of 50-plus yards in 2017; Wallace had three on his own. He can still stretch the field. 

The Eagles can now start Alshon Jeffery and Wallace on the outside, which will allow them to keep Nelson Agholor in the slot, where he was great last season. Then they’ll still have Hollins and Shelton Gibson (both draft picks from 2017) off the bench. Not bad. 

Wallace will turn 32 before the season starts, so the Eagles have added another veteran player, something they’ve done plenty this season. They already added Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. It’s pretty clear the Eagles see the need to maximize their window of opportunity and getting players to join them is probably easier coming off a Super Bowl win. 

Signing veterans on one-year deals certainly worked well for the Eagles last season and if this one works out too, they will have found a good fit for the 2018 season.  

Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

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Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

The Eagles pulled off trades and signed a few free agents after the new league year began on March 14 ... and it's shortened their Super Bowl odds. 

The Eagles' odds to win Super Bowl LIII improved from 9/1 to 17/2 between Feb. 5 and March 22, according to Bovada. Despite beating them in Super Bowl LII less than two months ago, the Eagles still trail the Patriots, who stood pat at 5/1. 

Here's the full top 10: 

1. Patriots: 5/1
2. Eagles: 17/2
3. Vikings: 9/1
4. Steelers: 12/1
5. Packers: 14/1
5. Rams: 14/1
7. Saints: 18/1
8. Falcons: 20/1
9. Texans: 22/1
9. Jaguars: 22/1
9. Raiders: 22/1

As for the rest of the teams in the NFC East, the next closest to the Eagles are the Cowboys, but their inactivity this offseason gave them longer odds, going from 18/1 to 28/1. The Giants' odds stayed at 50/1, while the Redskins' odds went from 50/1 to 66/1. 

And here's a fun prop bet: The over/under for Michael Bennett sacks in 2018 is set at 8. Last season, he had 8½ with the Seahawks. Now, he's playing on a dynamic defensive line but also figures to play less because of the Eagles' rotation.