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July 06, 2016

Eagles players getting no respect in fantasy football drafts

Eagles NFL
070616ZachErtz Michael Perez/AP

Zach Ertz is being underrated by fantasy football nerds.

If you're strolling around CVS or Walgreens this time of year, you'll start to see fantasy football magazines lining the shelves. (Do people still read things on paper?) 

What you won't find in many publications – in those magazines or anywhere else – are Eagles landing among the top 50 players drafted. In fact, only one player (barely) found himself among the top 10 players drafted at his position.

The people at aggregated the average draft position at many of the more popular fantasy football sites and came up with average overall and positional rankings. Here is where various Eagles players ranked:

Player Overall Positional rank
Ryan Mathews, RB 52 21
Jordan Matthews, WR 67 30
Zach Ertz, TE 92 10
Darren Sproles, RB 148 55
Wendell Smallwood, RB 220 66
Nelson Agholor, WR 229 74
Eagles defense, Def/ST 252 25
Rueben Randle, WR 257 79
Sam Bradford, QB 259 31
Carson Wentz, QB 276 32
Brent Celek, TE 294 30
Cody Parkey / Caleb Sturgis, K N/A Not in top 30

I agree with some of the rankings above and vehemently disagree with others.


Zach Ertz, TE

Below is a list of every tight end in NFL history who had at least 2000 receiving yards after their first three seasons in the league:

Player Team Rec Yds TD
Mike Ditka Bears 173 2774 25
Rob Gronkowski Patriots 187 2663 38
Jimmy Graham Saints 215 2648 25
Kellen Winslow Chargers 202 2620 21
Antonio Gates Chargers 194 2454 25
Dave Kocourek Chargers 134 2405 9
Mark Bavaro Giants 158 2379 16
Charle Young Eagles 167 2209 12
Keith Jackson Eagles 194 2187 15
Dan Ross Bengals 168 2150 10
Bob Tucker Giants 154 2126 13
Jeremy Shockey Giants 183 2095 10
Jason Witten Cowboys 188 2084 13
Walter White Chiefs 118 2041 15
Kellen Winslow Browns 176 2031 8
Zach Miller Raiders 166 2027 7
Zach Ertz Eagles 169 2024 9

Ertz is ranked behind guys like one-year-wonder Gary Barnidge and hasn't-done-jack Coby Fleener.

The area where Ertz hasn't produced is in the end zone, but there's really no discernible reason why he shouldn't. A season ago, Ertz was dealing with a sports hernia injury which slowed him down early on. Over the last four games (fantasy playoff season), Ertz caught 35 passes for 450 yards.

Eagles defense

The Eagles are the 25th defense? Are people serious? Over the last two seasons, the Eagles defense and special teams has 18 touchdowns! Who gives a flying rats ass if they give up yards?

Sam Bradford, QB

I mean, people are apparently drafting Johnny Manziel before Sammy Sleeves. Seriously, Johnny Football is ranked 30th overall among quarterbacks, and Bradford is ranked 31st. I assume that low ranking is due to fear that Carson Wentz is going to start. That's not going to happen, early on anyway, barring some kind of unusual circumstances.

Bradford will be the starter, and in my view is a low end #2 quarterback in 12-team formats. 

Darren Sproles, RB

I should preface this by saying that you should only take Sproles in PPR leagues, as Doug Pederson has said that he plans on moving Sproles around the formation and trying to generate mismatches against opposing linebackers. During the Chip Kelly era, Sproles wasn't used in the passing game creatively at all.

Don't touch:

Ryan Mathews

This is maybe more of a personal preference thing, but I hate having players on my roster who constantly appear on the injury report. When you look at Mathews' playing career, he has actually played in at least 12 games in five out of six years. However, during that time frame, he has appeared on the injury report a staggering 53 times. The Eagles do have more 1 p.m. games than they usually do this season, which at least helps in making early decisions on him for game day, but in my view, he's still just not worth the headache to get him in the fourth or fifth round.

Nelson Agholor, WR

Agholor is facing serious sexual assault accusations. Whether or not any actual charges stem from that, Agholor has a major distraction on his hands. Couple that with a fairly unimpressive showing in OTAs and minicamp, and I'd just stay away completely.

Wendell Smallwood, RB

The Eagles like Smallwood and he could eventually become a useful weapon out of the Eagles backfield as a receiver, but he has to prove he can be a quality pass protector before he can get on the field. I assume Smallwood getting drafted at all is due to the presence of injury-prone Ryan Mathews entrenched as the starter, which I get, but he's not so valuable yet that I'd draft him as a handcuff.

Carson Wentz, QB

Maybe one day Wentz will be among the top 5 quarterbacks drafted in your league, but for now, he's not likely to even dress on game day early in the season.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski