The Philadelphia Eagles made two notable splashes in free agency Wednesday, one of which brings arguably the top available wideout on the market to town.
The Chicago Bears continued to court Jeffery but could not satisfy his financial desires. The Eagles met his demands on a one-year, $14 million offer, which makes a lot of sense for both sides. It gives Jeffery a chance to prove himself, primarily from a “stay on the field” perspective, while allowing the Eagles to see if he warrants a long-term deal after a year with quarterback Carson Wentz.
Smith is not as exciting for fantasy gamers, but he comes in under the radar and will not be tasked with being “the guy” like he was in San Francisco. He is at his best against single coverage when going deep. The veteran still has wheels and can take the top off a defense — but that is about all he brings to an offense.
The really interesting elements will be what happens with wide receivers Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham.
While teams never can have enough talent at wide receiver in this pass-happy league, Matthews’ career stagnated last year. Media reports have suggested he could be traded, but there is little incentive on Philadelphia’s part of that equation. Matthews remains under his rookie deal and is coming off a down year. Jeffery has injury history, and Smith is a one-trick pony.
Agholor has been an all-around disappointment and may be cut. Green-Beckham was a wildcard acquisition and is still learning the position’s nuances. His upside outweighs the drawbacks if the Eagles want to be patient.
Fantasy football takeaway
While a lot can and probably will change over the coming months, the immediate reaction is this helps Smith and Wentz the most. It takes some pressure off of Jeffery but should also limit his targets. It could do more to keep him on the field. Jeffery is a risky — yet reasonable — gamble as a second wideout in conventional designs, especially PPR scoring molds.
Smith is terribly erratic, even when he is playing well, and offers little outside of the occasional home run in standard fantasy scoring. He is a WR5 in most setups.
Consider Matthews a low-end WR3 in most formats, but his upside is tempered as his volume will likely decrease.
The situation is extremely fluid with DGB and Agholor. Either could be shown the door in the near future, but both have enough potential that Philly could stick it out. Neither, however, is better than a wild flier in the deepest of fantasy games.
Wentz will undergo some growing pains as a second-year passer, but there was enough meat on the bone from his rookie season to forecast a reasonable uptick in the maturation column. He’s a decent No. 2 fantasy quarterback selection behind an elite starter, although Wentz may be overvalued based on this new weapons cache.
The offense likes to utilize tight ends and running backs in the passing game, so no one receiver is expected to see eye-opening target totals.