DeSean Jackson Is the Best Fantasy Football Value Among the Eagles' Receivers
The 2019 season presented major challenges for all NFL teams, though it's arguable that no positional group was hit harder than the wide receiver corps of the Philadelphia Eagles.
All three starting receivers suffered injuries which costed them a varying degree of games missed, though all were significant. By the end of the season, the Eagles were not only rostering -- but starting -- receivers most people never heard of. Frankly, if you were an avid football watcher, you were probably an injury away from getting the phone call to come start for Doug Pederson's Eagles.
Philly's wideouts should have better injury luck this season, and they're all cheap in fantasy football heading into 2020. According to BestBall10's ADP since the start of May, no Philly receiver is in the top 50 at the position.
Are any of their wide receivers currently worth drafting at their current ADP? Let's have a look.
ADP: 137th overall (WR54)
Jalen Reagor is an electric rookie playmaker who was drafted in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. But Reagor's ADP might be a case of fantasy players over-drafting a rookie, though the intrigue is understandable.
He is a diminutive player who has the juice to take the top off a defense when working vertically (4.47 40-yard dash) as well as the ability to create yardage after the catch. Reagor's college statistics won't blow anybody away, yet he still had a 93rd-percentile college target share, 95th-percentile breakout age, and a 73rd-percentile college dominator rating -- according to PlayerProfiler.
The Eagles needed receiver help, so their selection of Reagor makes sense. He just might not do a ton in Year 1, with DeSean Jackson -- who is expected to serve as the Eagles' top wideout -- Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert all around to hog targets.
Our projections at numberFire currently have Reagor as the WR52, forecasting him for 51 receptions, 83 targets, 640 receiving yards and 4.4 touchdowns -- well under his yardage prop of 700.5 yards at FanDuel Sportsbook. Barring an injury to Jeffery or D-Jax, Reagor's ceiling should be capped in 2020.
ADP: 153rd (WR59)
Last offseason, the Eagles had a glaring need for a deep threat, and they chose to address it by trading for Jackson, reuniting the two sides after Philly originally drafted Jackson in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. Ultimately, the season did not go as planned as Jackson struggled with injuries, playing only three games -- really just one fully healthy game -- and totaling nine receptions on 10 targets.
It's obviously going to be incredibly tough to draw any conclusions on just 65 offensive snaps, but D-Jax looked like his usual electric self in Week 1 before injuries derailed his season, torching Washington for eight grabs, 154 yards and two scores in the opener.
Yes, it was one game and Washington wasn't good on defense, but Jackson showed he's still capable of being an elite deep threat, a trait that should carry over into 2020, and, per the report linked above, D-Jax is expected to be the team's number-one option out wide.
Barely inside the top-60 wideouts, Jackson looks like one of the better value options at the receiver position . His speed is much needed in this offense, and while we need to be wary of putting too much stock into one game, when healthy in 2019, Jackson showed he has more than enough in the tank to continue threatening defenses over the top.
Our projections have Jackson slated for just 43 catches, 605 yards and 4.0 touchdowns, numbers that are slightly worse than Reagor's, but given D-Jax's status atop the depth chart, his floor and upside are better than what we have him projected for as long as he can stay healthy.
ADP: 168th (WR63)
Like Jackson, Jeffery did not have the 2019 season he or the team envisioned him having. In what has seemingly become a trend, Jeffery suffered through injury woes once again, playing just 10 games. Over his last five years, he's missed a total of 20 games, with just one 16-game campaign (2017) in that time.
What Jeffery did when he played last year likely won't inspire a ton of confidence in anyone, and it shouldn't. He registered only 43 receptions (on 73 targets) for 490 yards, 4 touchdowns, and a putrid catch rate of only 58.9%, and 6.7 yards per target -- a figure which turned out to be the second-worst in his eight-year career.
Jeffery averaged just 12.2 PPR points per game, which ranked him as WR39.
Practically none of his statistics are encouraging, as he ranked outside of the top-40 receivers in yards per reception, yards per target, yards per pass route, catch rate, total target distance, average target distance, cushion, target separation, quarterback rating when targeted, and fantasy points per target.
The one plus for Jeffery is volume as he's still expected to be on the field plenty -- as long as he's healthy.
Jeffery's ADP has him slated to come off the board right before guys like Larry Fitzgerald, Parris Campbell, Allen Lazard and Brandon Aiyuk -- players with better ceilings and/or better floors. It's hard to buy into Alshon at this cost.
The Rest of the Bunch
Obviously, we're digging deep here, but let's briefly hit on these guys.
In what was truly a theme for the receiving corps of the Eagles in 2019, Arcega-Whiteside had a poor, injury-plagued season a year ago. When he played, he didn't do much, totaling just 22 targets despite playing 66.1% of the snaps. Per PlayerProfiler, JJAW generated just nine yards after the catch. A trendy sleeper this time a year ago, Arcega-Whiteside has a grim outlook for 2020.
Goodwin is one of the more intriguing receivers on this roster, though it's hard to truly understand what he is at this point in his career. The Olympic sprinter had one incredibly productive NFL season back in 2017, when he registered a 56-catch campaign on 105 targets for 962 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Since then, Goodwin has racked up only 35 receptions on 64 targets for 581 receiving yards and five touchdowns over the span of two seasons. He's probably best served as a super late dart throw in best-ball leagues.
Ward is likely to be on the roster bubble. The quarterback-turned-receiver stepped in for the short-handed Eagles down the stretch last year and did a fairly decent job, seeing at least three looks in every game from Week 12 on. He managed to create 1.66 yards per separation when targeted, a figure which ranked him 32nd in the NFL. But with the pick of Reagor and everyone else back healthy, Ward will likely take a backseat in 2020.
Like three of the names preceding him on this list, Hightower moonlights as a vertical deep threat. The one factor that separates Hightower from his teammates is his size, with the rookie standing 6'2" yet offering similar over-the-top ability as guys who are typically much smaller than he is. At this point, however, he's just a stash in the deepest of dynasty formats.