It's time to buy low on Nelson Agholor
On Monday, Philadelphia Eagles beat reporter Chris McPherson of PhiladelphiaEagles.com stopped by the Pro Football Focus show hosted by Mike Clay on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio (10 a.m. ET weekdays – Sirius 210 & XM 87). McPherson talked about Sam Bradford’s progress, why it’s time to buy low on Nelson Agholor, and more. You can follow McPherson on Twitter @cmaceagles.
Time For Another Sanchize Run?
Sam Bradford hasn’t been particularly efficient in his first three games as an Eagle. He has finished with grades of -0.4, -3.2, and -3.5, respectively, against the Falcons, Cowboys and Jets. During the offseason, backup quarterback Mark Sanchez claimed that he believed he would have a fair shot to compete for the starting job. That opportunity never surfaced during training camp, but could it be coming in the near future?
“No, I definitely don’t,” McPherson said when asked about a potential quarterback change. “For Bradford, it’s a combination of shaking off the rust and getting his body reacclimated from a mechanics standpoint to the every week grind.”
When Will Bradford Get The WRs Involved?
“I think Bradford’s inability to get the ball to his wide receivers is a little game plan specific. They didn’t want to go against (Darrelle) Revis and (Antonio) Cromartie in Week 3. Overall, I also think the receivers just aren’t making plays. Jordan Matthews has been the only reliable option. Guys like Miles Austin and Riley Cooper dropping passes and not making plays. They need to turn those plays into first downs to establish their tempo on offense.”
Buy Low On Agholor
McPherson didn’t mention Nelson Agholor’s name when referring to wide receivers who needed to step up and make plays. However, Agholor has been operating as one of the starters. He ran 31-of-31 Eagles pass routes in Week 3, and his snap count has remained consistent since Week 1. When can we expect him to start making plays?
“Very soon. Chip Kelly said on Monday that there are times on tape when Agholor is open, and they need to get him the ball. He wants Agholor to be fed the ball a little bit more than he has. I was intrigued to see that they kept Revis on Agholor. He has the ability to stretch the field and that’s something we haven’t seen from the Eagles to this point.”
Agholor is an excellent buy-low candidate. Although he has drawn just 11 targets so far in 2015, he is second on the team in total snaps (174) and snaps in route (111). The next closest wide receiver is Riley Cooper, with 108 total snaps and 64 snaps in route. Look for his role in the offense to expand soon. In Week 4, he will have opportunities to match up with PFF whipping-boy Bashaud Breeland, who allowed 125 yards receiving and two touchdowns on 10 targets in Week 3.
CBs lined up vs. Nelson Agholor by routes: 34 – Desmon Trufant 33 – Brandon Carr 24 – Darrelle Revis. That’s 81% of his routes. #Eagles
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) September 29, 2015
DeMarco Murray’s Status After tweaking his hamstring late last week during practice, DeMarco Murray has been sidelined. His hamstring tweak was originally not expected to keep him out, after an MRI revealed no serious damage, but he was eventually held out of Week 3. When can we expect him back, and will he retain his role in the offense? “We have to wait to see what he does in practice to know how close he is to playing. I still think Murray is going to be the guy going forward. Chip Kelly wanted to get two top-tier running backs for the injury reason. There could be weeks where it’s one or the other, but I’m leaning toward Murray as the clear No. 1 going forward as long as he’s healthy.”
So Why Did The Running Game Improve?
“They simplified the offensive line scheme where they didn’t have a lot of the guards pulling — which you saw on the sweep plays in the first couple of weeks — they weren’t successful. You saw more of the unbalanced line with Jason Peters alongside Lane Johnson and Brent Celek on the left — just to confuse the defense. I also think it was game-specific — they worked runs to the perimeter because the Jets like to load the middle of the defense with A-gap pressures and blitzes. They made small tweaks, but the question now is — can a new starter at guard replace Andrew Gardner, who is out for the season? But I think the offensive coaches made a lot of adjustments to help the run game get going that you’ll see in the coming weeks.”
IDP Alert: Keep Jordan Hicks On Your Radar The Eagles entered 2015 with more depth and talent at inside linebacker than any other team. After trading for Kiko Alonso, the expectation was that they could have a rotation for two inside linebacker spots with three starting-caliber players. Alonso went down with a knee injury in Week 2, and a decision on his status will eventually be made, but there is a possibility that he could miss the remainder of the season. Mychal Kendricks is a starter, but he missed Week 3 with a hamstring injury. Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis believes that Kendricks will be back in Week 4, according to Bob Grotz.
Rookie third-round linebacker Jordan Hicks stepped in for Kendricks and Alonso. Hicks’ first run as the first team inside linebacker was a major success from a fantasy football standpoint.
Jordan Hicks is currently the top scoring fantasy LB for Week 3 in balanced formats.
— Jeff Ratcliffe (@JeffRatcliffe) September 27, 2015
But how did he do in the eyes of the coaches, and should we expect to see more of Hicks when the Eagles get healthy at inside linebacker?
“The Eagles didn’t want DeMeco Ryans to play 1,000 snaps again. That’s why they traded for Alonso. They wanted a three-man rotation. We don’t know if Alonso is going to come back at all (knee) and if Kendricks can come back this week. When Kendricks returns, it will be a rotation. But it was impressive to see Hicks out there all three downs, in the dime package, calling the shots — for a rookie that’s a lot to shoulder. He was impressive from the physical and mental aspect.”
Hicks might be a tricky player to start if he is in a rotation, likely seeing the least snaps next to Kendricks and Ryans. However, both Kendricks and Ryans have a checkered injury history, and this makes Hicks an excellent bench stash in IDP leagues.
Dan Schneier is a staff writer at PFF Fantasy and he covers the NFC East beat for FOX Sports. You can find him on Twitter @DanSchneierNFL. You can also add him to your network on Google+ to find all of his past material.