ESPN’s Mike Clay joined Cody Benjamin and EaglesNotebook.com to talk Philadelphia Eagles this week, projecting the team’s 2017 fantasy football numbers and highlighting the best and worst of the Birds’ restocked roster.
An NFL, fantasy football and player projections analyst for ESPN, Clay also hosts the “Next Level Fantasy Football” show on Sirius XM Radio. A member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, he posts on Twitter @MikeClayNFL.
Listen to Clay’s Eagles chat on SoundCloud above or read some highlights from the talk below:
On the best position – both in real and fantasy value – on the Eagles’ roster: It’s probably tight end … I’ve always been kind of a (Zach Ertz) apologist … Trey Burton’s obviously a pretty good H-back, solid backup and Brent Celek as a blocker, so tight end is right up there as one of their best units. But, really, the rest of it’s on the defense … they have a lot of terrific units on that side … four of the five defensive units, I think, are really, really good … Can this be one of the best defensive units in the NFL? Yeah, I think so … Maybe this is an average team, but as I dug deeper and deeper and deeper into all 32 teams’ depth charts, you really realize how talented this defense is on paper. Cornerback aside, they probably have a top-10 unit.
On the worst position on the Eagles’ roster: Absolutely (cornerback). I mean, running back could probably give it a run for the money if you’re looking at it relative to the rest of the NFL, although LeGarrette Blount kind of moved the needle a little bit for them there … I know Jalen Mills has generated some hype and there’s fans who like him, but I see this all the time from teams – from fans, especially. You’re focusing in on your own team (and) you think, ‘Wow, this guy is good, and we found a gem here,’ but not necessarily … in the short term, I do have concerns.
On the Eagles’ remade wide receiver corps: I’m an (Alshon) Jeffery fan … his injury issue is probably a bit overstated … he’s probably a top-10 talent at the wide receiver position … Shelton Gibson, I liked him a lot before the draft as a speed guy. I don’t know if he’ll do a lot out of the gate, but if Torrey (Smith) struggles, then maybe he steps into kind of that lid-lifter role.
On the most and least trustworthy 2017 Eagles fantasy projections: The toughest is probably going to be (Carson) Wentz just because Year Two, a lot of questions, which way does he go – does he regress and struggle, take a step back, or does he take a big step forward with the new supporting cast? It’s very possible that I’m too low on him. I think I’m more likely to be low than I am high … And most confidence? Come on, I mean, Darren Sproles, that’s an easy one, right? Seventy, 80, 90 carries and right around 45, 50 catches, that’s the easy one.