September 12, 2023
During fantasy football drafting season, both D'Andre Swift and Rashaad Penny were routinely being taken over Kenny Gainwell. When evaluating Eagles running backs throughout training camp, that was a clear mistake.
Gainwell was the Eagles' most-used RB during camp, garnering the most touches out of any back and the most first-team reps. The outsiders and national media members didn't get that, as Swift and Penny being bigger names and their previous high draft pick statuses had them both going ahead of Gainwell.
After Week 1, Gainwell is undoubtedly the Eagles' feature early-down running back, as noted in the summer. Gainwell had 18 touches on Sunday against the Patriots with 14 carries and four catches. Jalen Hurts noted in his post-game press conference that the Eagles' offense leaned on the run game because of rainy conditions at Gillette Stadium, but they were feeding Gainwell more than anyone. His numbers weren't wildly efficient, averaging just 3.9 yards per run, but in fantasy football, raw total numbers are the name of the game.
Penny being a healthy scratch for the Eagles caused a stir this past Sunday, but the writing was on the wall. Gainwell gets the carries, Swift should be a part of the passing game, and Boston Scott is the team's kick returner. Perhaps that changes up over the course of the season and things become matchup based, but Gainwell is in a position to be the lone constant in the Birds' backfield.
Gainwell is only rostered in 11.4 percent of ESPN leagues and 47 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Those numbers will be shooting way up this week, even with a "questionable" injury diagnosis for Thursday Night Football.
Miles Sanders was viewed as a go-to back for the Eagles in 2022 before departing in free agency this offseason, but Gainwell's 18 total touches in Week 1 were equal to or more than what Sanders had in 11 games last season. Perhaps Gainwell is not a name known to the average football fan. Maybe Eagles fans aren't as high on Gainwell as Nick Sirianni and the team's coaching staff are. That doesn't matter in the fantasy realm.
Go grab Gainwell on the waiver wire while you still can. It'll be your last chance to do so this season.
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