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July 26, 2023

Fantasy football: What can training camp teach us about the Eagles' running backs?

How did the snap counts shake out in Philadelphia's first training camp practice?

Fantasy football Eagles
6.1.23_EaglesD'Andre-Swift_ColleenClaggett-9953.jpg Colleen Claggett/For PhillyVoice

D’Andre Swift #0 of the Philadelphia Eagles carries the ball during a Philadelphia Eagles practice at the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia, Pa. on June 1, 2023.

The Eagles are one of the main culprits as the entire NFL shifts away from giving talented running backs big second contracts. They had no interest in the Dalvin Cooks, Ezekiel Elliotts, or Kareem Hunts of the world, and it looks like no one else really does either.

The front office let Miles Sanders walk this offseason and brought in Rashaad Penny and D'Andre Swift to pair with Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell. All four running backs have distinct skill sets and it seems extremely murky as to exactly which of these backs will be the most fantasy relevant. There are arguments to be made for at least three of the backs.

Swift is a great pass-catching back who actually caught a few passes in Wednesday's first training camp practice (more on that in a bit). He'll add a new element to the offense. Penny is one of the most efficient downhill runners in the entire NFL when he can stay healthy. And Gainwell came on late last season as a key element in the Eagles' run to the Super Bowl.

Before they hit the field Wednesday, head coach Nick Sirianni did nothing to help clarify which RBs he thinks he'll be trusting with the football the most.

"So they'll rotate throughout," Sirianni said. "You're gonna see Boston in with the 1s, you're gonna see Kenny in with the 1s, you're gonna see Penny in with the 1s, you're gonna see D'Andre, you're gonna see Trey Sermon in with the 1s. You're gonna see them in with the 2s and you're gonna see them in with the 3s."

So the information coming in from training camp in July isn't super informative of what the Eagles plan to do in September. That sort of goes without saying. But this is an offense that has led the NFL in rushing over the last two seasons. No other team has even come close to scoring as many rushing touchdowns as they have in that span (18 from Jalen Hurts certainly helps). So someone in this running back room has to be worth drafting in fantasy, right?

On Wednesday the reps were pretty evenly split. Swift started with the second team but eventually got two touches with the 1s. Sermon actually had a touchdown catch with the 3s and was out there with the 1s a few plays later. Gainwell, Penny and Scott each appeared with both the first and second teams as well. 

Here's how the first team snap counts broke down for the Eagles' running backs Wednesday:

Player SnapsFP ADP
Kenny Gainwell857.3
Rashaad Penny436.0
Boston Scott4108.0
Trey Sermon3
D'Andre Swift225.3

This information might not tell us much now, but we'll continue to keep track during training camp to see if some kind of picture emerges before fantasy drafts commence just over a month from now.

For what it's worth, we added each player's average draft position — via Fantasy Pros — to the table above. Swift continues to be in the mix as a 5th or 6th-round pick in most 12-team leagues, with Penny (who our Jimmy Kempski projects will lead the team in carries) slots in as a 7th or 8th-rounder.

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