Fantasy owners can expect the Eagles’ backfield to be relied upon early and often to take the weight off of Carson Wentz for his first NFL start. Ryan Mathews has a dream matchup with a shaky front seven, and could see plenty of room to run. Darren Sproles also deserves RB2 consideration in PPR leagues due to the team’s lack of depth at wide receiver, as well as Offensive Coordinator Frank Reich calling the shots. Reich was responsible for drawing up plays with the San Diego Chargers in 2015, which led to Danny Woodhead notching 107 targets and 81 catches, and the Eagles would be wise to rely on their veteran satellite back.
Zach Ertz is also in a prime position to assert himself as a league-wide TE1 option as Wentz’ security blanket against a suspect defense.
While Jordan Matthews is a capable receiver, there are too many factors going against him this week. If a healthy Joe Haden has truly returned to form, it will be difficult for Matthews to have space to thrive. Additionally, if the Eagles are trying to minimize the pressure on Wentz, there may not be as many downfield targets to go around. Until fantasy owners can see more of what Wentz can do, it’s hard to justify Matthews as anything more than a flex option at best.
Wentz remains an intriguing dynasty stash, but even amid a good matchup, fantasy owners can’t expect to deploy him in lineups just yet.
Hue Jackson is calling the shots, and Duke Johnson, Jr. stands to benefit the most from it. The Browns’ talented receiving back will assume the role Gio Bernard had in Cincinnati under Jackson’s tutelage, and if game script has the Browns trailing, expect Johnson to take plenty of snaps. Gary Barnidge also deserves a start, given the few tight ends that are viable starters in fantasy leagues.
Corey Coleman would also benefit from a game script with the Browns trailing, and should be considered the top Browns’ receiver for fantasy owners to play. Josh Gordon remains suspended, and Terrelle Pryor remains raw despite his tantalizing upside. Expect Coleman to draw heavy targets, but having a quarterback that can get those targets in his hands is a valid question in and of itself.
Robert Griffin III’s amazing 2012 campaign is ancient history, and he needs to prove himself before being inserted into lineups. Isaiah Crowell could see a few valuable goal-line touches, but owners outside of deeper leagues likely have better options to play at running back this week.