Eagles Fantasy Focus: Quarterbacks

The Eagles Quarterbacks in mini camp.NFL training camps will open in two weeks but for fantasy football managers the preparation has already started. Studying stats and mock-drafts are a mid-summer necessity if you wish to collect trophies, prizes and bragging rights come Week 16. As a champion and 14-year veteran of multiple leagues, I’d like to give Eagles fans my thoughts on this upcoming season from a fantasy point of view. This is the first installment of a positional break-down and projection for first-year coach Chip Kelly and the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles.

QUARTERBACK

Anything can happen in training camp but obviously Michael Vick is the favorite to open the season under center. Chip Kelly may not name a starter until the week before the opening game which could cause Vick’s draft value to drop. His potential in Kelly’s up-tempo offense, with plays designed to utilize his running ability, is intriguing. As always Vick needs to remain healthy and minimize turnovers, but the offensive line is improved over 2012. That will mean stability not only for the quarterback position but all impact players on offense.

The Eagles have also supplied Vick with more weapons then he has had in his entire career. The back-field will be a one-two punch of all-pro LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown, both productive and can catch the ball well. DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin also return as the starting receivers and could thrive in Kelly’s offense with their speed. The biggest improvement is the drafting of TE Zach Ertz and signing the versatile TE/H-back James Casey. Ertz will be a legitimate red-zone target whether or not incumbent TE Brent Celek makes the 53-man opening day roster. Casey can do a bit of everything and while he won’t accumulate stats, he is the glue that will allow the offense to be versatile.

Despite the improvements, unless he plays in the pre-season like its 2010, look for Vick no sooner than the 7th round. If you can stack up RBs and WRs, and depending how your league scores, he would be a value pick in the middle of the draft. Personally I would only take Vick as a QB2, backup or a flex option, and build my team around a top-tier quarterback. The ceiling for a healthy Vick statistically would be: 3800 total yards, 20-25 total TDs.

On a side note, if you are in a keeper league pay close attention to how Nick Foles and Matt Barkley perform in the pre-season. They will both get many opportunities to show what they can do. Vick is one scramble away from the IR and his contract situation is uncertain past this season. You could get a late-round steal and a QB to help your team in the future.

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Derek Taylor