The Philadelphia Eagles pulled out an incredible 21-10 victory over the previously undefeated Minnesota Vikings in Week 7, and no, it wasn’t because of rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. It was because of the Eagles wildly improved defense generating 6.0 sacks, an interception, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries while holding Minnesota to half its average points-output per game.
The Eagles snapped a minor two-game skid and are now well in the driver seat towards a playoff berth for the first time in three years, but can fantasy owners trust Philadelphia’s D/ST for the rest of the season?
Truthfully, given Philadelphia’s remaining schedule, FanDuel and DraftKings players might not know that answer at all this season.
In Week 7, it was the Eagles, not the league-leading Vikings, who looked like the best D/ST in all of fantasy. Minnesota, which entered the game as one of the league leaders in sacks with 19.0, didn’t take down Wentz once and managed only two quarterback hits, though they did coax two interceptions out of the rookie.
The Eagles, meanwhile, were well in the middle of the pack when it came to their pass rush. They entered the game with 14.0 sacks and are now tied for third in the league. They also improved their work against opposing passers, now ranked sixth in the league with quarterbacks netting a 79.3 rating.
But it’s holding Minnesota, admittedly a limited team offensively, to a mere 10 points that made Philadelphia’s D/ST the 11th highest-scoring player in all of fantasy in Week 7. The Eagles churned out 24 points, nearly four times as much as their projected 6.2 points, according to FantasyData.com. Philadelphia’s also one of only six teams to force a safety this season.
Still, having already had their bye in Week 4, the Eagles are in for a rough final 10-game stretch and they might not be a reliable pickup in any format. Philadelphia has two difficult road matchups at NFC East rivals Dallas and New York, followed by a home game with the Atlanta Falcons explosive offense, then a trip cross country to Seattle before hosting a slowly awakening Green Bay Packers, then head to Cincinnati and then host Washington.
The final three games could be intriguing, at Baltimore then two straight at home against New York and Dallas to close the season, but that initial seven-game stretch will be the key to figuring out whether this Eagles defense is for both real and a consistent threat in DFS leagues every week.
To be fair, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz should be praised in his first year. The Eagles were No. 28 in points and No. 30 in yards allowed last season, and according to Pro-FootballReference.com, they are now No. 3 and No. 5 respectively.
But as Philadelphia preps for its trip to Dallas, its unlikely to be a sure-fire pickup in FanDuel and DraftKings leagues around the country. So, instead check out our weekly rankings for Week 8’s best lineups on any DFS platform.
Byes: Baltimore, Los Angeles, Miami, New York Giants, Pittsburgh, San Francisco
1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
2. Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
4. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
If the Rodgers we all saw in Week 7 is back, then he should shred the Falcons third-worst work against quarterbacks in Week 8 and be well worth the hefty price tag. And though he didn’t throw a touchdown, Palmer did launch 342 yards against Seattle, and this week he faces a Carolina D that’s fourth-worst against opposing QBs. Wilson, too, should unload on a Saints secondary giving up 314 yards per game in a contest that could be a major shootout. And after lighting up the 49ers for three touchdowns, Winston gets the Raiders fifth-worst D versus QBs.
1. Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks
2. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs
3. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
4. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders
5. Chris Thompson, Washington Redskins
Bonus: Jacquizz Rodgers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Yes, Michael gained only 52 yards in Week 7, but he’s getting the bulk of Seattle’s carries and next faces a Saints frontline allowing 28.32 points per week to RBs, by far the worst in fantasy and three points worse than the next closest team, Indianapolis. So, that makes Charles a must buy, however, given how tentative Kansas City’s being with its star rusher, consider Murray against a Bucs D allowing 21.78 points per week to RBs, according to Yahoo. Rodgers isn’t in the top five only because Doug Martin’s status is unknown, but if he starts he can face Oakland, the fourth-worst D against RBs in all of fantasy.
1. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
2. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
4. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders
5. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
The wide receiver rankings are quite top heavy and expensive this week, but that’s because they really have the best matchups and could be worth the bulk of your salary cap. Jones meets the Packers last-ranked fantasy secondary allowing 28.74 points per week, and Evans gets the Raiders, who are fourth-from-last in fantasy and allowing 14.3 receptions per game. On the flipside, Cooper can pick apart Tampa Bay and its sixth-worst D against WRs. New Orleans has improved but is now No. 22 against WRs and Baldwin could explode at a much cheaper cost than anyone else in our top five.
1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
2. Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons
3. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans
4. Jermaine Gresham, Arizona Cardinals
5. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, New York Jets
Gronk’s in pursuit of his 69th career touchdown and historically he’s destroyed the Bills for 10 of those scores, but Buffalo has the third-best D against tight ends so far this season. Thus, a cheaper Tamme against Green Bay’s sub-par D versus tight ends might provide more points per cap dollar. Fiedorowicz meets a Lions D at home allowing 12.9 points a week to tight ends, third-worst in fantasy, and Gresham’s matchup is even better versus Carolina (13.8 points allowed per game). Sefarian-Jenkins is a major wild card, but he does have the best tight end matchup of the week. Cleveland’s coughing up 15.37 points to TEs.
1. Matt Forte, RB, New York Jets
2. Ty Montgomery, WR, Green Bay Packers
3. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
4. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
5. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
Forte is hot off his second 100-yard game of the season, and the Browns have the second-worst rushing defense in the league (139.9 yards per week). Montgomery was a fantasy goldmine in Week 7, so his price might be inflated this week, but also tread lightly because the Falcons are No. 13 against WRs this season. Diggs had a down week, but the Bears might have shown their true colors against Green Bay and he could explode at a much cheaper price. Hilton’s been an absolute monster and he has a strong matchup against No. 20-ranked Kansas City.
1. N.Y. Jets
We’ve really picked on the Browns this week, but given Cleveland’s quarterback situation the Jets are an expensive option that will be worth it. The Vikings will bounce back against Chicago (ranked dead last in the NFL with 15.9 points per game), but Cincinnati will be cheaper against the Redskins. Washington’s averaging a middling 22.7 points per game but has also committed 10 turnovers. Arizona may seem risky against Carolina (26.8 ppg), but Cam Newton and the Panthers aren’t the same team this season. Tennessee does have a short week but it faces a Jaguars offense that couldn’t muster more than 16 points against the Raiders woeful defense. The Titans are also tied for third in the NFL with 20.0 sacks, and Jacksonville’s given up 15.0 on the year.