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Offseason Primers: Philadelphia Eagles

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Dream Team is gone. The Eagles are no longer viewed as a team full of superstars.

Heading into the 2011 season, the Eagles were viewed as a potential power. Michael Vick was coming off a dynamic season, and the offense was loaded with budding stars like LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. On defense, the Eagles brought in Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and they were expected to win the Super Bowl.

Two years later, Andy Reid is no longer the head coach, Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie are gone and Vick is competing for his job. Chip Kelly is the new head coach, and he has plenty of decisions to make with his new team.

2012 Touches Leaders
780 total touches (rush attempts + receptions)
LeSean McCoy 254 (200 car., 54 rec.) 32.5%
Bryce Brown 128 (115 car., 13 rec.) 16.4%
Jeremy Maclin 69 rec. 8.8%
Brent Celek 57 rec. 7.3%
Jason Avant 53 rec. 6.7%
All Others 219 28.1%

The biggest quandary facing Kelly is with Vick, and this might be his final chance to prove he can be a starting quarterback in the NFL. He'll be 33 when the season starts, and his career is far from over. But after being a star in 2010 he has faltered the past two years, and he has to rebuild his on-field reputation again in a new system under Kelly.

On the surface, Kelly's up-tempo offense suits Vick's style of play, but we have to find out if the two can mesh. Vick still has plenty of talent and plenty of talent around him with Jackson, Maclin, Brent Celek and McCoy. But Vick's problems remain the same: he's injury prone and prone to mistakes.

If he starts 16 games we can still see him posting quality stats, but that's no guarantee since he hasn't finished a full season since 2006. He enters this season as a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback, and he's worth drafting with a late-round pick. If you have reasonable expectations for Vick then he'll be a good selection on Draft Day. But if you go in expecting Vick to play like 2010 again then you can expect to be disappointed, because it's unlikely that quarterback will ever be seen again.

As for McCoy, Jackson and Maclin, they should enjoy playing for Kelly. And we'll find out if Kelly can infuse some new talent in Bryce Brown and James Casey, who was signed as a free agent in the offseason. We like Casey as a sleeper this year, but don't expect much from Brown if McCoy is healthy. This is still McCoy's backfield, and he should return to form as an elite Fantasy running back.

LeSean McCoy -- Still going strong

2012 Target Leaders
618 pass attempts
Jeremy Maclin 122 19.7%
Brent Celek 88 14.2%
DeSean Jackson 87 14.1%
Jason Avant 76 12.3%
LeSean McCoy 67 10.8%
All Others 178 28.8%

There are some Fantasy owners worried about McCoy this season. He is coming off a bad year, playing for a new coach in Kelly and has some potential competition for carries in Brown. All of that is true, but have no fear; McCoy remains an elite Fantasy option. Yes, 2012 was a tough year for him. He missed four games with a concussion and went from 20 total touchdowns in 2011 to just five. He also failed to reach 1,500 total yards (he had 1,200) for the first time since 2009. But despite his struggles, McCoy still had double digits in Fantasy points in 10 of his 12 outings. He still remains the starter, and Kelly will lean on him. And even if he comes off the field for Brown at times, it's not like this is a 50-50 split. McCoy will continue to do the heavy lifting for this offense. We definitely recommend drafting McCoy in Round 1, and he should be considered a Top 10 overall pick. Brown is worth a late-round selection as a handcuff, but figure McCoy to be around 1,500 total yards again with the chance for double digits in touchdowns and close to 50 catches. He's an elite Fantasy option, and he will regain his form this year.

Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson -- Bounce-back candidates

Jackson and Maclin are hoping the addition of Kelly can help them rebound from a down year. For Jackson, he has been a disappointment the past two years. In 2011, while dealing with his contract status, Jackson had just 58 catches for 961 yards and four touchdowns. He then dropped to 45 catches for 700 yards and two touchdowns in 2012, including being out the final five games with a rib injury. Kelly has promised to use Jackson a lot this year, and we hope he's true to his word. Jackson has plenty of potential -- he had 2,200 receiving yards and 17 total touchdowns from 2009-10 -- but he has to stay healthy and prove he wants to be an elite receiver again. The good thing with Jackson this year is you can draft him with a mid-round pick compared to the past two years when he was an early-round selection. For Maclin, he is entering a potential contract year, and we hope the motivation of a new deal will help him perform at a high level. Maclin was good but not great in 2012 with 69 catches for 857 yards and seven touchdowns. He now has 22 touchdowns in his past three years with at least 63 catches a year over that span. But Maclin has never reached 1,000 receiving yards, and he's had a hard time staying healthy, even though he's only missed five games in four seasons. Go into this season with Maclin as a solid No. 3 Fantasy receiver. He has the chance to be a starting option in all leagues, but he should be drafted with a mid-round pick with the hope he'll outperform his draft value.

James Casey -- Sleeper

Expected 2013 Draft Averages
Michael Vick 117-125 overall
LeSean McCoy 4-10 overall
Bryce Brown 126-133 overall
Jeremy Maclin 102-110 overall
DeSean Jackson 114-120 overall
Brent Celek Undrafted
James Casey Undrafted

Casey has never been a big stat producer. His best season was 2012 when he had 34 catches for 330 yards and three touchdowns for the Texans. But he's never really had the chance to showcase his skills playing a hybrid role of fullback and tight end in Houston. With the Eagles, Kelly has talked him up as a tight end who can be used like Aaron Hernandez with the Patriots. They can move Casey around on offense, and he should be able to increase his catches, yards and touchdowns. Brent Celek remains the starting tight end, but Casey could still be on the field with Celek and make plays. We don't recommend drafting Casey in the majority of standard leagues, but he is someone to keep on your radar. The Eagles are going to be creative on offense with Kelly, and Casey is someone who could benefit -- along with Fantasy owners.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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Player News
Titans receivers can thrive in YAC with Marcus Mariota's accuracy
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:02 pm ET) The Titans wide receiving corps could gain more yards after the catch this season because of rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and his accurate throws, per ESPN.com.

The Titans were 24th in the league in yards after the catch last season, but with Mariota under center that can all change.

“If you have an accurate quarterback, it allows us to get more yards after that catch,” wide receiver Harry Douglas said. “And that’s one thing that makes a receiver dynamic -- first being able to catch the ball and then being able to do some things with it after you catch it. I feel like [to this point] Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers.”


Saints RB Khiry Robinson doesn't feel he's on outside looking in
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:55 pm ET) Saints running back Khiry Robinson might be the least known of his backfield counterparts, but he doesn't feel like the off man out, per ESPN.com.

Robinson knows the team is heavily invested in the likes of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, but he's still confident he can thrive in whatever role the Saints put him in.

“I’m the type of person, I’m gonna get what I get and do what I do with it. So whether it’s 20 carries or one carry, I’m gonna do the best of my ability every play,” Robinson said.

Robinson has shown flashes of success during his three years in the league. Injuries played a key role against him last season, which can ultimately put him as the third back on the depth chart. He will use the offseason to continue to improve and challenge his counterparts for playing time.

“I just gotta keep working,” Robinson. “It’s all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we’ve got another player right up there to do the same thing.”


Browns OL Michael Bowie itching to compete for starting spot
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:47 am ET) Browns offensive lineman Michael Bowie is not required to report to training camp until the end of July. But never mind that - he's heading out after the last Independence Day firework explodes in the sky.

Bowie is itching to get started. He missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury after starting for Seattle on its Super Bowl title team in 2013. He is seeking to stay in tip-top shape in an attempt to land a starting spot on a Cleveland line that is the strength of the team.

"It's up to them to decide who is the best five," Bowie told the team website. "All I can do is take care of my business. Hopefully I can get a shot. That's what I'm working for."

Bowie participated fully in the offseason program, working mostly with the second team at right tackle. That will likely be the spot at which he competes for a starting job. Incumbent Mitchell Schwartz has not performed particularly well there and Mike Pettine has vowed there will be competition all over the field in camp.


Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan nearly recovered from knee surgery
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:32 am ET) Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan appears to be on target to join the team for training camp after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery that prevented him from participating in earlier offseason activities.

Kerrigan, who registered a career-high 13 1/2 sacks a year ago, had the operation to alleviate pain in the area.

"My leg feels really good and I'm glad I got the surgery - not just for football but it makes my everyday life feel better so I'm glad I got it done," he told CSN Washington. "Now it's just a matter of getting stronger and getting into shape."

Kerrigan added that he's been running and now only needs to regain strength to insure his place at training camp.


Texans waive DT Brandon Ivory
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Texans waived rookie defensive tackle Brandon Ivory on Thursday, according to ESPN.com

Ivory was arrested on first degree burglary charges in Tuscaloosa, Ala. just one day ago. Ivory's agent Jeff Guerriero said Ivory is not guilty of the charge. 

"I spoke to Brandon he is not guilty and his name will be cleared of all charges," Guerriero said. 


Chargers TE Antonio Gates suspended 4 games for PED use
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy, the team announced. 

It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract. 

The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension. 

"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."  


Packers' Datone Jones out 1 game for substance-abuse violation
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones will be suspended for one game for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, according to NFL.com. 

Jones will miss Green Bay's season-opener against the Bears. In 2014, Jones totaled 22 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games played. 


Cowboys LB Rolando McClain suspended four games for 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Cowboys announced that linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

McClain hasn't been able to participate much in offseason workouts due to going under offseason knee surgery. McClain will be eligible to practice in training camp and is expected to be healthy by then. 

"I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake. I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error," McClain said in a statement, via CSN Bay Area. "I look forward to returning to the field on week 5, when I hope to help my team beat the Patriots.

In 2014, McClain, who had previously retired twice before being traded from the Ravens to the Cowboys, totaled 81 tackles and a sack in 13 games played.


Jets DL Sheldon Richardson suspended four games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced Thursday.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans," Richardson said in a statement via the Jets, per Fox Sports. "However, words aren't enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don't want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won't be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I'm able to return to the field.”

Richardson, who was a 2013 first-round pick, is entering his third season in the NFL. He was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.

He has totaled 84 tackles and 11 1/2 sacks in 32 career games. He also has one safety.


Texans DT Brandon Ivory arrested on burglary charge
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Texans defensive tackle Brandon Ivory was arrested Wednesday morning in Alabama and charged with first-degree burglary, according to a Tuscaloosa Police Department report obtained by SportingNews.com.

Ivory and another man were allegedly involved in a home burglary when the two entered the residence by kicking open the back door and then demanding money from the residents. The two stole money and two Ipads from the residence. Ivory and the other suspect were arrested at their apartment shortly after the incident with the stolen money and property.


 
 
 
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