When you reach the Super Bowl, win or lose, it’s impossible to retain every player on the team that got you there. The Philadelphia Eagles are no different going from the 2022 season to 2023. A large handful of their defensive personnel are moving on to different teams this season. The good news is, especially for fantasy football, the key pieces on offense are all set to return. So, let’s see what’s in store for this Eagles team in pursuit of winning a championship this time around.
Philadelphia Eagles Fantasy Football Preview
Key Subtractions and Additions
Subtractions: Miles Sanders (RB), Javon Hargrave (DT), T.J. Edwards (LB), Kyzir White (LB), Marcus Epps (S), C.J. Gardner-Johnson (S), Isaac Seamalo (OG), Shane Steichen (offensive coordinator), Jonathan Gannon (defensive coordinator)
Additions: D’Andre Swift (RB), Rashaad Penny (RB), Marcus Mariota (QB), Terrell Edmunds (S), Jalen Carter (rookie DT), Nolan Smith (rookie DE)
Jalen Hurts is the 255-million-dollar man. After signing a massive extension this off-season, the Philadelphia Eagles have their franchise quarterback through the 2028 season. Hurts was one of the biggest bargains of last fantasy football season. He’s now one of the most highly coveted players at his position ahead of the 2023 fantasy football season.
Jalen Hurts’ 165 rush attempts are the most of any quarterback last season. His 10.27 points per game specifically from running the ball are the fourth-most all-time by a quarterback. Hurts may not run the ball as many times again this season, but he’s still running behind one of, if not the best, offensive line in football. The quality of his carries, which should still easily exceed 100 attempts, cement him into the top-10. On one of the highest-scoring offenses in football, he remains in the top-five conversation, and that’s being conservative.
Even with Miles Sanders’ career season last year, Hurts still ran the ball the fifth-most times across the league inside the red zone. He tied for second in rush attempts inside the 10-yard line and was second in attempts inside the five.
Notice I haven’t even discussed Hurts’ weapons in the passing game yet. When you combine his rushing upside with this team’s passing attack, Hurts is an obvious top-three option at the position and an advantage in your lineup in every format.
Hurt’ new backup, Marcus Mariota, is closer to his skillset than Gardner Minshew was last season. Let’s hope we don’t see much of him, though. If we do, he’s done a fine job as a starter for multiple teams. Mariota can still lead this team to success if called upon.
Miles Sanders is taking his talents to Carolina as the clear-cut starting running back for the Panthers. To replace him, the Eagles signed Rashaad Penny and traded for D’Andre Swift. They’re joining Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott in this backfield that already battles Jalen Hurts for carries.
Rashaad Penny’s one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles carries just a $600,000 dead cap hit if he’s waived at any point. After five seasons, at 27 years old, Penny has just 337 total regular season carries. His injury history is unfortunately lengthy, but when he is available, he boasts a 5.3 career yards per carry average. That includes 6.22 yards per carry in his last 176 attempts over the last two seasons.
Speaking of injuries, D’Andre Swift has appeared in just 40 of a possible 50 games in the first three seasons of his career. When he is available, Swift presents pass-catching upside with a 4.6 yards per carry average, with room for more as he sometimes lacks vision.
Hurts is still going to have a major impact on this team’s offense in the ground game. That caps everyone else’s fantasy ceiling. Even in a career-best 2022 season, Miles Sanders finished as just the RB18 on a points-per-game basis. Sanders leaves behind 47.6% of the Eagles’ 2022 carries. He had the fourth-most rush attempts in the red zone and tied Hurts with the third-most inside the 10 last season.
We’ll have to wait and see who comes out unscathed through the preseason. As of now, though, I’m expecting Swift to see the majority of touches amongst this group. He’s in a contract year playing for his hometown team and was acquired even after signing Penny. The presence of these two makes Scott irrelevant and likely relegates Gainwell to limited passing-down duties. At best, the highest-scoring running back from this group finishes inside the top 20, but is unlikely to be an RB1 in fantasy.
A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are one of three pairs of teammate receivers inside the top-15 from last fantasy season on a points-per-game basis. The two of them had nearly identical seasons stats-wise. Smith had seven more receptions while Brown had 300 more yards and four more touchdowns; all in the same, full slate of games. Smith’s 99 receptions are even more impressive considering he had zero in Week 1. Meanwhile, Brown’s 11 touchdowns match a career-high and he had three in one game last season.
Both Brown and Smith averaged more than eight targets per game. Regardless of tight end Dallas Goedert’s five-game absence, these two command the attention in the passing game. The Philadelphia Eagles offense targeted running backs just 61 total times. With a quarterback who’s able to extend and make plays with his legs, it’s less likely to see Hurts check down to that position. That won’t change much in 2023. Brown and Smith are both in WR1 territory this season.
Behind these two, the Eagles wide receiver depth is concerning. They have Olamide Zaccheaus, Quez Watkins…and that’s about it. We may see them continue to add experienced depth to this roster, but nobody should threaten Brown or Smith’s fantasy-friendly target share.
By now, it should be obvious that Dallas Goedert is the probable third receiving option in the 2023 Philadelphia Eagles’ passing game. In just 12 games played, he was still third in targets amongst all players on the team last season. His 69 targets were more than every Philly running back combined. They also account for 74% of the 2022 Eagles’ tight end targets, again, in just 12 games played.
Goedert is a no-brainer to be a TE1 in fantasy football again this season. He rounds out the top tier of talent at the position. I’m comfortable ranking him inside the top-six, but in the back half given the competition for targets and run-heavy approach at times from this offense.
The Philadelphia Eagles defense is tied for fourth in points per game (8.9) from the 2022 fantasy season. After losing many of their starters, this unit could have some growing pains in 2023. The saving grace is that most of the young guys expected to fill big shoes all come from the same place: the University of Georgia. Familiarity with each other from a championship program may lessen those growing pains.
This season, the 2023 Philadelphia Eagles’ schedule is far different from their 2022 games. They’re set to play the Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, and plenty of other high-scoring offenses. That said, the Eagles are a good defense to stream, but the opportunities to feel good about doing so are few and far between this season.
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— Lisa Ann (@thereallisaann) May 6, 2023