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Sleepers, Busts and Bold Predictions: The 2024 Philadelphia Eagles

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Welcome to Sleepers, Busts and Bold Predictions for the 2024 fantasy football season. Our Chris Meaney and Daniel Kelley are going to go team-by-team around the league all summer. They’ll pick sleepers, busts and bold predictions for each team. Sometimes they’ll agree! Sometimes they will go completely opposite one another! And that’s fine, because they’ll defend their positions, and you can decide for yourself who to side with. Up today: The Philadelphia Eagles.

Below, they tackle the team, starting with their picks in “The Answers,” then expanding on their picks in “The Explanation.”

2024 Sleepers, Busts & Bold Predictions: Philadelphia Eagles

The Answers

Favorite Sleeper

Meaney: DeVonta Smith
Kelley: DeVonta Smith

Biggest Bust

Meaney: Dallas Goedert
Kelley: Dallas Goedert

Bold Prediction

Meaney: Saquon Barkley Is the Overall RB1
Kelley: Jalen Hurts Is Not a Top-5 Quarterback

The Explanations

Sleepers

Meaney: DeVonta Smith

This is the cheapest Eagle in drafts, therefore he’s my sleeper. I’ve mentioned this a few times throughout this series, that a sleeper to me is someone who will outperform their ADP. Saquon Barkley, A.J. Brown and Jalen Hurts are all at fair prices. I don’t believe there’s room for a third wideout in the Eagles’ offense like Parris Campbell. We could see some moments from rookies Johnny Wilson or Ainias Smith, but not enough to warrant them as sleeper candidates. Smith is going as WR23 in high stakes leagues, but he has the upside to finish as a low-end WR1 or a high-end WR2. I don’t think his ceiling is as high as Brown’s but these two were only separated by 2.2 fantasy points per game in 2023. In 2022, Brown finished seventh in points per game, Smith finished 15th. 

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 30: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) catches a pass during Philadelphia Eagles training camp on July 30, 2021 at Novacare Complex in Philadelphia, PA  (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JULY 30: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) catches a pass during Philadelphia Eagles training camp on July 30, 2021 at Novacare Complex in Philadelphia, PA (Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire)
Kelley: DeVonta Smith

We’re halfway between “random” and “trend” right now. Remember, one is random, two is a coincidence, three is a trend. Well, in 2022, DeVonta Smith averaged 12.2 PPR points per game through Week 9 and then 16.9 the rest of the way. In 2023, by the same split, he went from 11.8 to 16.1. That means over two years, he’s at 12.0 PPG in the first half and 16.9 in the second. That’s roughly the difference between WR38 and WR9. I don’t think there’s anything special about the second half, but it’s interesting. In other words… I’m not saying Smith will start slow and close fast again (though he could); I’m saying we know he’s good enough to put up top-10 numbers at the position over a full season (while carrying a WR18 ADP for 2024). And hey, if he starts slow again … that’s a buy-low waiting to happen.

Busts

Meaney: Dallas Goedert

Goedert is a better real-life player than a fantasy asset. He’s a fine tight end, but his ceiling is capped. It’s capped because the offense goes through two passing options and that’s A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. I think there’s room for Smith to grow as a wideout and now the third option in the passing game could belong to Saquon Barkley. Goedert averaged 6.9 targets, 4.2 catches and 37.7 yards per game last season. Again, that’s fine, but the ceiling is so low. Goedert has scored four or fewer touchdowns in five of his six seasons, and he’s never scored more than five. He’s also been held to three in each of the last two. The Eagles are more likely to run in the red zone than pass, and when they do pass, Goedert isn’t getting the ball over Brown or Smith. On top of that, Goedert has missed time in three of the past four seasons. If you’re going to wait on TE, consider Pat Freiermuth, Hunter Henry or Cade Otton. Or better yet, target Dalton Kincaid, Kyle Pitts or Jake Ferguson. 

Kelley: Dallas Goedert

In Week 5 of 2022, Dallas Goedert caught 8 balls for 95 yards, while DeVonta Smith caught 10 for 87. In Week 4 of 2021, Goedert went 5-56-1, while Smith went 7-122. The two have played 40 NFL games together, and those were the only two times they’ve both cracked 15 points in the same game. That’s not even that high a total! In any given week, 15 points is around WR20 or TE7/8. Those two just don’t succeed at the same time, and DeVonta Smith certainly stands higher in the pecking order than Goedert and has never missed a game to injury in his career. Add in Goedert’s injury issues (he’s missed games every game of his career except 2018), his low upside (he’s cracked 20 points only twice the last two years, since the team paired Smith with A.J. Brown) and an improved tight end position, and Goedert lacks any real fantasy upside.

Bold Predictions

Meaney: Saquon Barkley Is the Overall RB1

All you really need to know to buy into this is the fact that Saquon Barkley was hit behind the line of scrimmage on 46% of his carries last season, and D’Andre Swift was hit on 27% of his carries, which was the lowest rate in football. The Eagles’ offensive line will still be among the best even without Jason Kelce. They also won’t need to lean on the “Tush Push” as much with Saquon in the backfield. Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman doesn’t have a history of paying running backs, which he did with Barkley. I think he saw how the 49ers were able to get to the next level with Christian McCaffrey, and Roseman saw an opportunity to do the same. Keep in mind, Miles Sanders and Swift both finished inside the top five in rushing in each of the last two seasons. I wouldn’t really look into Saquon’s 3.9 YPC mark last season or his 3.7 showing in 2021. At times, he was the only weapon in the New York offense, and he faced a lot of stacked boxes. That won’t be the case in Philly. 

Kelley: Jalen Hurts Is Not a Top-5 Quarterback

There have been 69 quarterbacks with at least 250 fantasy points in a season the last five years. Cam Newton in 2020 scored 261.0 fantasy points and had 12 rushing touchdowns. That means 27.6% of his fantasy points came via rushing scores, the highest of our 69-player sample. That version of Newton was all but done as a passer. After that, Jalen Hurts has the second- (25.2%, 2023), fourth- (20.6%, 2022) and fifth- (19.2%, 2021) highest percentages of points coming from rushing scores in our 69 players. In the spirit of total fairness, Josh Allen is Nos. 3 and 6 on the list, so just ranking highly here isn’t necessarily damning. The problem is, though, that things are set up for Allen to maybe rush even more in 2024, given the loss of receiving weaponry in Buffalo, while Hurts’ situation seemed geared up for him to have less rushing success — Saquon Barkley is there, Jason Kelce is gone, maybe taking the Tush Push with him. Hurts could be the exact same quarterback on a quality level in 2024, but take him from 15 rushing scores to 8 (which would still be a fine rushing season!), and he would have fallen behind Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson and Jordan Love last year.

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