The Eagles are 14th in the league in points per drive, revealing a middle-of-the-pack offense. Beyond this macro metric, we find the Birds set with some impressive advanced data. They are second in the league with a third-down conversion clip of 55.2%, well ahead of the league average rate of 40.4% through this small early-season sample. They are also sixth in first downs and have the second-lowest rate of three-and-outs in the league through two weeks.

There’s clearly some evidence of an ascendant offense, yet we must also recognize the sluggish portion of Philly’s portfolio; the Eagles have converted just half of their six red-zone trips into touchdowns (tied for 16th in the league)– they were 24th in the league last season with a red zone efficiency rate of 49.1% (percentage of touchdowns per red zone trip).

The Eagles scored a touchdown on 18% of their drives last season, good for 22nd in the NFL and just ahead of the Bears and Jaguars. They have scored a touchdown on 17.4% of their drives this season. That’s just not good enough to earn a meaningful, upper-echelon points-per-drive rate. I think of per-drive production as the on-base percentage for offensive football success; isolating offensive efficiency with a simple formula.

The sample is entirely tiny this season, but in order for the Eagles’ offense to prove potent, red zone efficiency needs to approach league average (was 55.6% last season). That, or they need to hit more home runs in the vertical passing game. I’m thinking verticality is where the ceiling—or best-case outcome—is with this offense.

The fantasy angle threaded into this discussion of Philly’s scoring efficiency comes from Carson Wentz’s right arm—he’s averaging 11.26 air yards per throw, second only to Jameis Winston.

Winston led the NFL with 10.04 air yards per attempt in 2016. Wentz was 26th (7.28). He is averaging, through two games, seven attempts that travel at least 10 yards past the sticks this season, which is the third most in the league. He was 23rd last year with just 4.31 “downfield” attempts per game. The newfound verticality of this offense is exciting, albeit still inefficient with Wentz converting on just 28.6% of these throws beyond the sticks (23rd in the league on such throws).

What inspires my interest in Carson Wentz as an emergent fantasy quarterback is the upside his unique downfield offensive freedom presents; even without league average rates in red-zone or vertical efficiency, Wentz is fourth in fantasy points per game among quarterbacks with 21.85 (using ESPN standard scoring).

It certainly helps that he is averaging 30.5 rushing yards (also fourth best at the position). Then again, including his full career sample, Wentz averages, well, 30.5 rushing yards per game. This rushing rate quietly ranks seventh in the NFL among quarterbacks, and fifth if we remove Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III from the sample dating back to last season. For those who drafted Wentz at a reasonable price late in drafts, you could have a legitimate QB1 on your hands—thanks in large part to his legs.

All of this is to say that the Eagles have a middling offense when it comes to converting both scoring opportunities within 20 yards of the end zone and big-play shots downfield. These trends date back to last season. There are, however, these new trends to consider; particularly the downfield passing tactic and volume-driven passing agenda they’ve employed early this season. Only Aaron Rodgers (51.5) has dropped back more times than Wentz (49.5) through the first two weeks of the season. The Eagles are getting just 52 rushing yards per game from their backfield, ironically tied with Green Bay at 29th in the league. Takeaway: the Eagles are going to throw a ton of passes. Wentz will likely challenge for the league lead in attempts.

Even in the face of this small, eight-quarter sample in 2017, Wentz is throwing his average pass 54.6% further downfield than he did last season en route to 26% more yards per completion. There is still a real gap in opportunity and production for Wentz’s fantasy profile, especially if he can become league average in vertical success. If we ever wondered how Wentz would fare when afforded league-high opportunity rates, the answer is coming.


Week 3

Whether the focus is the waiver wire in traditional redraft leagues or the daily fantasy market, let’s highlight some of the names and numbers that demand attention for Week 3.


This is an odd week rife with road favorites (10 of them!) and sluggish point totals. Home favorites in games with healthy point ingredients from Vegas tend to produce rewarding DFS plays. With that in mind, Kirk Cousins ($6,100 on DraftKings) is reasonably priced and is in the rare spot as a home dog, but the enticing metric from the desert is the game’s 55-point total, suggesting the Redskins’ team total is 26 points. For some context, the Eagles’ implied team total is 24.25 points, even though they are sizable favorites (the Giants game sits at a modest 42.5 total in most books).

Matthew Stafford ($6,200) is another home dog in a potential shootout, with the Falcons and Lions total sitting at 50.5 across the board. I don’t think we need to spend big to get some big numbers behind center this week.

Running Back

Not the Eagles (actually Darren Sproles at $3,900 is always a fine punt play on DraftKings). But really, Isaiah Crowell ($4,800) will finally eat. The Colts’ defense remains leaky and their current rush defense metrics are likely noisy given their opponents so far. Sticking in the value tier, Jonathan Stewart ($4,700) remains the premier red zone and short-yardage back for Carolina, and this offers a cheap path to the healthy point total in that division meeting.

We have to spend at some point, so I’ll want to face the Jets when seeking cost certainty. Even amid some knee issues, Jay Ajayi ($7,700) is a worthy RB1 asset. Leo Williams is banged up and the Jets are ceding the most rushing yards to backs in the league. I’m riding this Le’Veon Bell ($8,800) train; he’s killing me in some auction leagues I landed him, but the DFS promise is just amazing given he’s the rare player due 25 touches on a potentially special offense.


The Devin Funchess ($4,200) hype might never materialize, but facing this generous Saints secondary is a great litmus test for his potential. If we save a ton at running back, maybe spend for Kelvin Benjamin ($6,700) instead, as he could go multi-TD on the Saints without needing any shift in his normal usage pattern.

Alshon Jeffery ($5,900) is just too cheap even in the fact of a tough matchup with Janoris Jenkins. With Wentz averaging over 36 yards on completions past 10 yards, it only takes one or two big plays for Jeffery to repay his cost. In this same price range, Demaryius Thomas ($5,900) can post his traditional high-floor outcome facing a patchwork Buffalo secondary.

Tight End

Jared Cook ($3,100) isn’t Daniel Snyder, but he has owned the Redskins at times over the past few seasons. With brilliant matchup rates and a 20% share of a Derek Carr offense, he’s a fine streamer in redraft leagues or a top target at tight end for DFS. Eric Ebron ($3,300) might be made of paper mache, but he’s similarly poised with a 20% slice of a competent passing attack.


There isn’t much reason to avoid the Patriots ($3,800); even though they are slow up front, facing a raw rookie as 13-point favorites supports a strong outcome spectrum on defense. The Eagles ($3,000) have pressured opponents on 33% of dropbacks this season, sixth highest in the league. The Giants have yielded pressure on 27% of Eli Manning’s dropbacks last week. I’m skeptical the Eagles can cover by a touchdown, because, well I’ve been here before, but I do think there is potential for this to get out of hand if the Giants can’t keep Eli clean.