2016 Fantasy Football WR Outlook: Philadelphia Eagles

Last season, the Fantasy Football world was waiting to see what Chip Kelly could do with his high-powered offense.

The answer: Not a whole lot.

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Quarterback Sam Bradford paired 19 touchdowns with 14 interceptions, and finished with just the 18th-most passing yards. DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews combined for 1,241 and 12 rushing touchdowns, but their individual performances did not make them worth starting.

Jordan Matthews was a solid Fantasy receiver in PPR leagues, finishing in the top 20. But Fantasy players were still disappointed, though, as his touchdown receptions stayed the same from his rookie season at eight.

Nelson Agholar was seemingly hyped up as much as Cordarrelle Patterson a few seasons back, but luckily he wasn’t drafted too early. He was drafted in Round 5 according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com, but I did see him go as early as Round 4 in some leagues last season.

It was frustrating for a lot of players Agholar was so disappointing, but it was even more frustrating considering some of the other receivers Fantasy players passed on to get the rookie: Jarvis Landry, Brandon Marshall, Julian Edelman, Jeremy Maclin, and Amari Cooper. 

I did believe Agholar was an interesting option, but I said last June that he was being drafted a little too early at the time. That was when he was being drafted in Round 7. His ADP absolutely exploded after that, leaving a lot of Fantasy players struggling at the receiver position because they were relying on Agholar as their WR2.

There were talks Josh Huff could be a sleeper heading into 2015 Fantasy Football drafts, and Riley Cooper was still hanging around.

For a team with a lot of potential, Matthews and tight end Zach Ertz (at the end of the season) were the only bright spots in this offense for Fantasy players.

But that was 2015, and there’s a whole new Fantasy season ahead. Let’s take a look at the profiles for the Matthews, Agholar, and Rueben Randle heading into the 2016 Fantasy Football season.

2016 Fantasy Football Outlook: Jordan Matthews

While Matthews may not have eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards last season or improve upon his touchdown totals, it’s important to look at the bigger picture.

Between Bradford and Mark Sanchez, the Eagles receivers only had the opportunity to catch 23 touchdowns. Since Matthews hauled in eight, that means he caught 34% of the touchdown passes thrown.

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For a reference point, Antonio Brown caught 38% of the touchdown passes thrown for by quarterbacks on the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And what I really liked about Matthews’ performance from 2015 was that he was quietly able to improve his upon his totals.

Player Year Receptions Receiving Yards YPG Average TDs
Jordan Matthews 2013 67 872 54.5 8
Jordan Matthews 2014 85 997 62.3 8

Even though it’s not exactly the same kind of ascension, these numbers remind me of DeAndre Hopkins‘ past three seasons. Keep in mind that Hopkins has also posted these totals with quarterbacks throwing him the ball who are far from consistent, similar to Bradford last season.

Player Year Receptions Receiving Yards YPG Average TDs
DeAndre Hopkins 2013 52 802 50.1 2
DeAndre Hopkins 2014 76 1,210 75.6 6
DeAndre Hopkins 2015 111 1,521 95.1 11

But because of how quickly Hopkins has ascended, he will have a hard time living up to the hype that has made him one of the top receivers off the board this season. With 111 receptions, 1,521 receiving yards, and 11 touchdown receptions, it will be very hard for Hopkins to improve or even repeat those numbers.

Matthews, though, still has room to improve on his numbers. The 23-year old receiver was on the field for 79.5% of the offensive snaps last season, as Kelly liked to use different formations and try to spread the ball around. Cooper was on the field for 49.4% of the offensive snaps, and somehow Miles Austin was on the field for 35% of the offensive snaps.

With Cooper and Austin both gone and not much depth behind Matthews, he could see more playing time.

It’s not a guarantee that more playing time will help his Fantasy numbers, but Matthews will have more opportunities to increase his receiving totals if he is playing more.

Matthews is being drafted in Round 6 on FantasyFootballCalculator.com, but I don’t think that represents where he is being drafted in most drafts. I drafted him in Round 4 in the Fantasy Championship league, and I generally see him being drafted between Rounds 4-5.

The only warning I would give about Matthews is if Bradford becomes so unreliable that Carson Wentz needs to start, his production might take a dive. Wentz could be a great quarterback at some point of his career, but he’s going to have a learning curve just like every other rookie quarterback.

He’s going to go through growing pains, and that could unfortunately hurt Matthews’ week-to-week consistency.

2016 Fantasy Football Outlook: Nelson Agholar

With only 23 receptions last season, there’s not a lot of NFL stats to judge Agholar on.

We know that he was on the field for 58% of the offensive snaps last season, and we also know that Agholar saw six red-zone targets last season. That tied Darren Sproles for the third-most targets in the red zone in 2015, but Agholar did not turn any of those targets into touchdowns.

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So with that limited knowledge, we have to heavily rely on the situation he finds himself in for the 2016 Fantasy Football season.

And right now, things aren’t looking good for the second-year receiver…

On June 10, Philadelphiamag.com reported Agholar was under investigation for raping an exotic dancer. The results of the investigation were sent to Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, but a final decision has not been reached.

Agholar’s attorney says his client is completely innocent, but this could be a case that not only affects Agholar’s NFL career, but his life.

But if we return to just the football side of things, there isn’t much positive news to report about the 23-year old receiver…

According to Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, Agholar hasn’t “come anywhere close” to being the receiver the Eagles want him to be. Agholar dropped four passes last season, which means he dropped over 9% of his targets.

Shorr-Parks said the drops from 2015 have followed the younger receiver into OTAs.

This could open the door for Huff to be more involved, but he apparently is having a difficult time catching the ball during OTAs as well.

Although he just looked like a warm body to throw into the lineup when he was signed, Rueben Randle could find himself with a larger role than most Fantasy players are expecting.

2016 Fantasy Football Outlook: Rueben Randle

It sounds surprising, but even though Randle has been in the league since 2012, he is still just 25.

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Randle has always seemingly been on the verge of Fantasy relevancy, but he just hasn’t been able to make himself worth starting on a consistent basis.

Player Season Receptions Receiving Yards Touchdowns
Rueben Randle 2013 41 611 6
Rueben Randle 2014 71 938 3
Rueben Randle 2015 57 797 8

I don’t see him receiving more attention from Bradford than Matthews. But with his NFL experience, he could easily see more work than Agholar if the second-year receiver doesn’t turn things around.

And if anything happens to Matthews, Randle may be the best receiver on the Eagles.

The only thing to keep in mind with the 25-year old receiver is that he wasn’t targeted in the red zone very much last season.

Player Red-Zone Targets Red-Zone Touchdowns
Odell Beckham Jr. 22 7
Shane Vereen 12 4
Will Tye 12 3
Dwayne Harris 11 3
Rueben Randle 10 3

There’s not much chance of that changing in Philadelphia, either, with Ertz and Matthews receiving the majority of red-zone targets in 2015. It would be hard to start Randle on a consistent basis in most leagues, but he isn’t a bad late-round addition to an MFL10 team.

The Bottom Line: Because Fantasy players were expecting more from him last season, Jordan Matthews is available between Rounds 4-6 in 2016 Fantasy Football leagues. But he still had a very productive Fantasy season in 2015, and he’s a great value this year. Because of off-the-field issues and performance issues when he is on the field, Fantasy players should steer clear of Nelson Agholar unless he starts to receive shining reports out of training camp. Rueben Randle won’t see enough targets to start on a regular basis, but he could have a bigger role if Matthews is hurt. He also could have a few relevant games even with Matthews in the lineup, which makes him worth considering in Rounds 18-20 in your MFL10 leagues.

Up Next: 2016 Fantasy Football: A Review of 5 Quarterback ADP Values 

Categories: 2016 Fantasy Football, 2016 Fantasy Football Wide Receivers, Fantasy Football

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