2015-2016 brings along a brand new Eagles team, completely unique from the Andy Reid era. The Chip Kelly era is in full swing, he has taken over the franchise, has his offense, has his guys, and will now attempt to prove that he can make it in the NFL. How does this affect your fantasy football season? With the loss of their starting Quarterback, Wide Receiver, and Running Back, the Eagles have an entirely new look, effectively replacing all of the lost parts gives them Demarco Murray and Ryan Matthews opposed to Lesean McCoy, Nelson Agholor rather than Jeremy Maclin, and Sam Bradford instead of Nick Foles.
What can we expect out of the new regime in the backfield? One of the many things that plagues fantasy owners is a “committee backfield.” It’s not sure whether the Eagles will be a committee between Demarco Murray, Ryan Matthews, and Darren Sproles or if Matthews is an insurance policy for Murray and Sproles is still a specialist. Last season we saw, 415 rushing attempts between McCoy, Sproles, and Polk, but that was while dealing with injuries across the field as well as McCoy going through a slump. Between Foles, Sanchez and Barkley, last season we saw 621 passing attempts a number that will surely go down. Between the 3 running backs it’s logical to expect about 450-500 rushing attempts in the regular season with a break down of Sproles getting 3-4 rushes a game, Murray getting 18-22 attempts a game, and Matthews running about 6-8 times a game which gives us a range of at least 432 rushes a game and at most 544 rushes this season as an extreme case. These numbers are just predictions but logically the Eagles ran 415 times last season with an injured McCoy and Chris Polk, they now have three pro-bowlers expecting an increase in rushing attempts is not far-fetched. An increase in running the ball is almost certain when the Quarterback and Wide Receiver position is so uncertain. Of course injuries are always a risk and they are beyond unpredictable, assuming that all of the Eagles Running Backs stay healthy their draft stock should be:
Demarco Murray is a top ten running back who should be taken in the first round in most leagues, but is an absolute steal in the second round. If he’s even close to as productive as he was last season he will be a gift to any fantasy team.
Ryan Matthews should be drafted between the sixth and eighth rounds, but should not be one of your two best running backs, if you plan on being successful. He should be a flex player if you need him to be or an injury/bye week fill in, nothing more.
Darren Sproles should be a very late round player, 12th-15th round. Realistically he is a third string running back who will get most of his productivity through the passing game and special teams. Someone in your league will reach up to get him because his stats are deceiving.