Chip Kelly’s Receivers 2014
A look at the Eagles big four
You will read a lot of opinion on Chip Kelly’s offense this year. What was a bit of a projection in 2013 is all the rage in 2014, and for good reason. At this time, I’d like to respectfully remind you that we had Kelly’s situation well in-hand at this time last year. We even told you that Riley Cooper had fantasy appeal before Jeremy Maclin went down. Now, obviously, the smarts I spoke of in that article do not extend to alcohol soaked public appearances. Still, Cooper went out and proved us correct on the football part.
This year, with the departure of DeSean Jackson, the Eagles have an even more complex receiving crew than they had in 2013. And, unlike 2013, everybody knows that this offense produces big stats. Doing your leg-work on the Eagles' offense is equatable with sifting for fantasy gold. Here’s the rub. It’s an evolving ensemble cast as far as the passing game goes. The stars of the 2014 offense will emerge over time or via injury as we saw with the loss of Maclin last season. This offense is simply loaded with play-making talent at every position.
At wide receiver, there are four key talents to consider.
- Riley Cooper
- Jeremy Maclin
- Jordan Matthews
- Josh Huff
The rest of the Philadelphia depth chart is comprised of role players and injury-prone types. You are best-served to concentrate on the big four. Let’s break them down one-by-one within the context of the Eagles’ 2014 offense and see if we can get a bit of a blue-print for finding value.
- Riley Cooper - We see Riley as the safe play right now. He’s a decent value at his current ADP of 100. He should pretty much own the X spot and we expect solid WR3 production. Don’t discount that Cooper and QB Nick Foles are going into to their third season together. No other Eagles receiver has a full year in Kelly’s scheme at the NFL level. Rookie Josh Huff does have experience as a collegian.
- Jeremy Maclin - He’s got nice upside for sure, but he’s already being significantly over-drafted with an ADP of 60. We don’t want our readers anywhere near Maclin at that price for a few reasons. He’s still unproven in Kelly’s scheme and he’s coming off of a major injury. He’s also competing with a few highly talented rookies and playing in a scheme that will begin to feature the tight ends more than it did in 2013.
- Jordan Matthews - Here’s the bargain of the bunch right now. With a ADP that currently sits at 151, Matthews is a potential steal in any format. Having said that, he’s also far from a lock to be a weekly asset as a rookie in an offense that has tons of other options. Too much positive preseason buzz could increase his ADP significantly and that obviously removes some of his current appeal. This is something to watch. Matthews' upside is WR2, but our guess is that he slowly builds up to WR3 value—probably around mid-season. Check out Matthews' pre-draft scouting report if you have not already. He's one of our guys.
- Josh Huff - As of yet, Huff has no meaningful drafting trends outside of long term leagues, but that could change over the next few months. If you read our pre-draft scouting report on Huff, you’ll see that we have him as a developmental prospect with a lot of upside. The thing is, Huff won the lottery on draft day by getting selected by his college coach. This adds value to Huff from almost any angle you choose to focus on. He knows the system and he has the trust of the man in charge. It’s also heartening that Huff went fairly early. The Eagles used their 3rd rounder (86 overall) on him. Read the aforementioned scouting report for a complete take on his skill set, but the obvious takeaway relates to his PPR potential. In Kelly’s system, Huff could run a lot of high-percentage routes and that could pad his value nicely in PPR leagues. One injury to a teammate or a big training camp could make Huff a redraft-able commodity in 2014. He's a player to watch.
So there you have it. This is a depth chart to keep a close eye on, but we already have a good idea of how to play things. Avoid the guy with the buzz … currently Maclin. Take the guys with projected roles and depressed value … currently Cooper and Matthews. Keep an eye on Huff in camp, as a potential value. Finally, understand that the Eagles offense is an ensemble attack that will feature different players on different weeks, especially while all these new players fight to define and assert themselves.
Play the value game. You want a piece of this offense, but you need to avoid reaching. We’ll keep you abreast of the goings on and we’ll adjust our rankings accordingly throughout the summer.
I’ll be back tomorrow with our initial RB Projections and I’ll have the receivers and tight ends posted this weekend.
Things heat up soon, folks. Rotobahn is going to help you kick ass in 2014.
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