Eagles

Eagles-Redskins should be a big fantasy game through the air

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Eagles-Redskins should be a big fantasy game through the air

Monday night's game between the Eagles and Redskins should feature a whole lot of passing.

In four-point passing TD leagues, the Eagles have allowed 17.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, 11th-most in the NFL. The Redskins have allowed 15.4 per game, but they're without their first-round defensive lineman (Jonathan Allen) and have two banged-up starting cornerbacks (Josh Norman, Bashaud Breeland).

This is the last game on the Week 7 schedule but could affect plenty of fantasy matchups.

TE Zach Ertz
Ertz has been the most consistent fantasy tight end this season and legitimately looks like a second-round pick next summer. 

He has a long track record of destroying the 'Skins and there's no reason to expect that to change Monday night. With Jordan Matthews gone, Ertz has become Carson Wentz's go-to guy on third down and in the red zone. 

Ertz is on pace to finish with 91 catches, 1,080 yards and 11 TDs this season. In NFL history, the only tight ends to reach all three numbers were Jimmy Graham in 2011 and Todd Christensen in 1983.

Projected stat line: 6 catches, 78 yards, TD

QB Carson Wentz
There aren't too many quarterbacks I'd start ahead of Wentz this week ... just Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Dak Prescott, Matt Ryan and Kirk Cousins.

Wentz is averaging 264 passing yards and has 13 touchdowns to just three interceptions. He should be able to throw on this Washington secondary, with the main worry being Ryan Kerrigan's pass rush.

Projected stat line: 310 passing yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT

QB Kirk Cousins
I'd expect similar stat lines from these two quarterbacks, with Cousins perhaps compiling more yards because he has less of a running game.

The strange thing about Cousins' season so far has been that he's put up numbers without Jordan Reed or Terrelle Pryor doing much of anything. In the four games Reed has played, he's averaged 4.5 catches for 35.5 yards and hasn't scored. Pryor, aside from his 44-yard touchdown, has 15 catches for 165 yards in five games.

Jamison Crowder (121 receiving yards) hasn't made much of an impact either.

But it hasn't prevented Cousins from averaging 267 passing yards with nine TDs and two picks. Cousins also already has a career-high 103 rushing yards with a rushing TD.

Cousins' two biggest-play threats have been running back Chris Thompson and backup tight end Vernon Davis, who's had catches of 69 and 51 yards in his last two games.

For me, Cousins is the No. 5 QB of the week (excluding the Thursday night game).

Projected stat line: 330 passing yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT

WR Alshon Jeffery
Jeffery has lined up nearly equally on the left and right sides this season — 46 percent on the left, 38 percent on the right. The Redskins haven't used a cornerback to shadow a particular receiver in any game this season, even when Norman has been healthy.

(Update: Norman has already been ruled out.)

So Jeffery should see some opportunities against both Breeland and Norman if they play, as well as Kendall Fuller.

In Week 1 against Washington, Jeffery caught three of seven targets for 38 yards, though you can almost throw that game out because it was the very first he played with Wentz.

With 10 days off in between Week 6 and Week 7, Wentz and Jeffery had plenty of time to work on their rapport. The Eagles had plenty of time to figure out additional ways to get Jeffery the ball downfield. The gut feeling here is you could see Wentz go deep to Jeffery on a jump-ball in the first series of the game. See if you can at least generate a pass interference call.

It seems like a matter of time until Jeffery, averaging eight targets per game, has his first huge stat line. To date, he's been a low-end WR2.

Projected stat line: 5 catches, 95 yards, TD

WR Nelson Agholor
Agholor has lined up in the slot on 88 percent of his snaps, and Fuller has done so on 87 percent of his snaps, so that's the matchup Monday night. 

Agholor is not a safe start. In Weeks 2 through 4, he had six catches combined. But he's been a big-play threat, averaging 16.1 yards per reception and scoring TDs in four different games.

I'd start Agholor this week ahead of guys like Pryor, Randall Cobb, Marqise Lee, Allen Hurns and any Rams receiver. 

I would not start Agholor ahead of Mohamed Sanu or DeSean Jackson.

Projected stat line: 4 catches, 62 yards

TE Jordan Reed
It's Week 7, he's already had his bye, and yet Reed admitted again this week he's still not playing at 100 percent. In the past, it hasn't mattered much because Reed has produced even when banged-up. But this season, he's been extremely disappointing to those who drafted him in the fourth or fifth round.

Reed used to swallow up massive target shares from Cousins. In his first nine games last season, he saw 8.8 targets per game. The year before, he averaged 8.1 targets in 14 games.

This season, he's had target counts of 8, 6, 5 and 5. In his best game, he had six catches for 48 yards without a TD.

The Eagles' strong work against tight ends has carried over into 2017. After allowing the second-fewest fantasy points per game to TEs last season, the Eagles have allowed the ninth-fewest this season. 

Through six weeks, the only tight end to exceed 45 yards against the Eagles was Travis Kelce (8 for 103) in Week 2. They've allowed just two touchdowns to tight ends — Kelce and Hunter Henry.

Reed is not a great start this week, but tight end is so thin that you probably have to start him if you have him. 

I'd start Cameron Brate, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Kyle Rudolph ahead of Reed this week.

Projected stat line: 5 catches, 55 yards

Other notes:
• Don't love LeGarrette Blount or Rob Kelley in this one. Wendell Smallwood will cut into Blount's carries, and Samaje Perine and Thompson will cut into Kelley's.

• I do really like Thompson in this one. Should be a fast-paced, vertical game and he's getting opportunities on more than just third down. I'd start Thompson ahead of Doug Martin, both Packers running backs, James White, Orleans Darkwa, Bilal Powell, Buck Allen, Duke Johnson and Frank Gore.

• Over the last two weeks, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has made separate comments indicating he wants to get both Crowder and Josh Doctson the ball more. Doctson has a better matchup this week than Crowder, who will line up mostly against the resurgent Patrick Robinson.

Eagles QB Nick Foles reportedly OK after leaving game with shoulder injury

Eagles QB Nick Foles reportedly OK after leaving game with shoulder injury

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles will be OK after leaving Thursday’s preseason loss to the Patriots, according to a report Friday.

“After tests,” the Super Bowl LII MVP is not expected to be out long, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Foles, who left the game early in the second quarter after a strip sack, didn’t have a great outing: 3 of 9 for 44 yards. But more important than anything, he appears to be healthy after a scare.

After the game, Foles said he was “optimistic” about the injury.

“It’s just the shoulder,” Foles said. “It sort of got jarred in a funny way as I was following through. It feels good. We’ll check it out tomorrow more thoroughly.”

Foles didn’t return to the game, but he also never left the sideline, receiving treatment on what the team called a shoulder strain.

With the opener still weeks away, Foles didn’t want to speculate on his status for Week 1, but didn’t sound like a guy that planned to miss much time.

“I’m not even going to go there,” Foles said. “We’re just going to live in the moment and sort of go day to day. I’m going to do everything I can to get back on the field and hopefully practice the first day we get back practicing and be ready to roll.”

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Former Eagles first-round bust Marcus Smith released by Seahawks

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Former Eagles first-round bust Marcus Smith released by Seahawks

Marcus Smith, the Eagles’ first-round pick in 2014, was released by the Seahawks Friday, the second straight summer he’s been cut.

With just 6½ sacks in 51 career games over four seasons, Smith is among the biggest first-round busts in recent NFL history.

The Eagles released Smith last July 26, and he signed with the Seahawks two days later. He played in 14 games for Seattle a year ago, tying his career high with 2½ sacks.

Smith had missed practice the last two days with what coach Pete Carroll said was a personal issue.

In three years with the Eagles, the 26th pick in the 2014 draft recorded four sacks.

Some 174 players have recorded more sacks than Smith since opening day of 2014.

Smith is part of a remarkable trio of first-round defensive end busts the Eagles have drafted in the last couple decades.

Jon Harris, the 25th pick in 1997, had two career sacks. Jerome McDougle, the 15th pick in 2003, had three career sacks. And Smith has 6½.

Among defensive ends drafted in the first round during the 18-year span from 1997 through 2014, Harris, McDougle and Smith have the fourth, sixth and 16th-fewest sacks.

Smith, now 26, was due an $800,000 base salary this year if he made the Seahawks’ roster. They’re on the hook for a $400,000 signing bonus they gave him in March and will now have to carry that in dead money.

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