Who else is a Philadelphia Eagles fan out there?! All of us are wishing for another magical season like it’s 2017 all over again - but maybe just a winning record will do this year. In this Eagles edition of the “Homer Corner,” we’ll dive into the top players to target for your fantasy football drafts before getting into some sleepers to keep an eye on in those later rounds and on waivers for your 2021 leagues. Then for those interested in wagering some coin on Philly, let’s make a few season-long prop bets before the season kicks off.  

As you’re probably aware, there’s been a major regime change in South Philly since the end of last season. Out are Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz as head coach and starting quarterback, respectively. In come fresh-face Nick Sirianni and second-year dual-threat Jalen Hurts. The other notable newbie to the team is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and first-round pick DeVonta Smith, who’s poised to be the next big thing in the eyes of many Eagles fans. Outside of those three headliners, there are a ton of familiar faces and lesser-known names to know.

Let’s jump in and look at the key players at each position and which ones you should be targeting for fantasy football in 2021!

Coaching Staff

HC Nick Sirianni -- After spending the last three seasons as the Colts’ offensive coordinator, Sirianni is now the head coach in Philly - his first time running an NFL team as the lead guy. It’s honestly a big mystery as to what Sirianni’s offense will look like in his first year as the full-time play-caller - and the starters haven’t played together much in the preseason to offer any tips. He’ll likely take some things from the Indy offense when Sirianni coached under Frank Reich, a familiar face to Eagles fans. Sirianni has said that they will use some run-pass options to help Jalen Hurts use his strengths to be successful running the offense.

OC Shane Steichen -- Steichen spent last season as the Chargers’ offensive coordinator and will now be in the same role with the Eagles. Before joining Sirianni in Philadelphia, he was with the Chargers since 2014 as the offensive quality control coach, quarterbacks and OC over the years. Steichen isn’t expected to call plays with Sirianni taking on that responsibility for Philly. However, we could see some Chargers-influence in this offense - most notably the use of multiple running backs. LAC did it with Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler in recent seasons and the Eagles have Miles Sanders, Kenny Gainwell, Boston Scott and Jordan Howard who will all see touches this season. 

DC Jonathan Gannon -- Since Nick Sirianni is an offensive-minded head coach, the defensive play-calling will fall on Gannon’s shoulders this season. This will be Gannon’s first year as a defensive coordinator in the NFL after he was the Colts’ cornerbacks coach for the three previous seasons. Before that, he was a defensive backs coach with the Vikings from 2014-2017 when he learned under Mike Zimmer. Under Gannon, the Eagles are expected to use multiple formation looks on the defensive side of the ball - using everything from a traditional 4-3 D to three or five-man fronts. The Philly defensive line is definitely the strength with Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham and Ryan Kerrigan providing veteran leadership and Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat offering some youthful speed on the outside. Outside of Darius Slay at one cornerback spot, the secondary is a slight worry and could cause problems this season. Still, there’s plenty of talent on this defense to keep games closer than people expect.

Top Draft Targets

QB Jalen Hurts -- Although the coaching staff hasn’t made it public yet, Hurts is fully entrenched as the starting QB in Philadelphia with Carson Wentz shipped off to Indy this past offseason. It remains to be seen, though, how successful Hurts can be as the full-time starter and whether he’s the long-term answer at quarterback for the Eagles. What we can expect is Sirianni and the front office giving Hurts plenty of opportunities to make plays and run the offense to see what they have before next year’s draft - when the Eagles have multiple first-round picks. Still, Hurts is the perfect example of a boom-or-bust fantasy football option until we’re proven otherwise. The former Oklahoma and Alabama standout started four games in relief of Wentz a year ago and finished with 1,061 passing yards on 148 attempts, a 53% completion rate and a 6:4 TD:INT ratio through the air - with 354 rushing yards and three scores on the ground added in. The dual-threat potential is what could easily make him a top 10 fantasy QB, but Hurts could struggle at times as a passer in his first full season under center. At least we know Joe Flacco isn’t stealing the job away from him anytime soon!

RB Miles Sanders -- Eagles fans and fantasy football managers have been saying the same thing for years about Miles Sanders. “Just give him the workload of a bell-cow running back!” Well, Doug Pederson didn’t consistently do it and who knows what Nick Sirianni and the new coaching staff has up its sleeve. At face value, though, it looks like the Eagles will be content with using multiple backs on offense - which is why Sanders’ ADP has fallen into the fourth round in most cases. Rookie Kenneth Gainwell and the speedy Boston Scott will steal some receiving production away from Sanders as both will likely be used as third-down backs. Then there’s veteran Jordan Howard probably vulturing TDs at the goal-line as the bigger body. Also, we can’t ignore Jalen Hurts also taking some rushing production and red-zone carries away from Sanders. Put it all together and the guy makes for a risky pick as your RB1 or RB2 in the first three rounds. No matter how much we all want him to get 25 touches per week, it just isn’t happening often this season. 

WR DeVonta Smith -- The city of Philadelphia might’ve rioted if the team’s decision-makers passed on DeVonta Smith or any other top-tier wide receiver in this year’s NFL Draft - especially after the Eagles traded down in the first round. Considering how bad the Eagles WR corps was last season - combined with the gaff of taking Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson - Sirianni and Co. had no choice but to make Smith the pick to improve one of the worst position groups in the league. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner immediately steps in as the Eagles’ No. 1 wide out who should see a ton of targets from Jalen Hurts in the passing game. That volume alone makes him a high-floor fantasy option. The only concern, though, is Smith’s durability and health with a thin frame that had many scouts scared off in the draft process. It’s not a great sign that he’s already dealt with separate knee and ankle/foot issues during camp. If he stays healthy, though, expect Smith to out-perform his current ADP in rounds 8-10.  

TE Dallas Goedert -- The Eagles are one of the few NFL teams without a clear-cut top pass-catcher heading into the season, but Goedert could easily end up leading the squad in receiving production. Last year, the fourth-year tight end finished second on the team in both receptions (46) and receiving yards (524) while only suiting up for 11 games. Right now, Goedert is mostly being drafted as a top 10 tight end within the first 10 rounds in fantasy leagues - and the ceiling is even higher if he’s healthy for a full 17 games. The expectation, of course, is that Zach Ertz will eventually be shipped off either in the coming weeks or before the trade deadline. Many thought Ertz would be elsewhere by now and Eagles fans are assuming he’ll be gone at some point soon. If that’s the case, Goedert should lead the team in targets every week and provide a safe fantasy floor. 

Sleepers To Watch

WR Jalen Reagor -- The general public may have forgotten that Jalen Reagor was drafted in the first round last year. We know Eagles fans won’t let GM Howie Roseman off the hook - especially since breakout rookie Justin Jefferson was taken right after Reagor in that draft. Nonetheless, the speedy wide out still has an opportunity to carve out a solid role in the Philly receiving corps this season because of the lack of competition. The Eagles WRs are very unproven - outside of DeVonta Smith at the college level - and Reagor should be on the field very often as the WR2 in the offense. He has the playmaking speed and shiftiness to break a TD or long gain on any given play - which could prove very valuable in fantasy if he does it more often than not. Even if the Eagles are trailing most weeks (like the public expects), then Reagor and other Eagles pass-catchers will be busy this season. 

RB Kenny Gainwell -- As a college football DFS/betting analyst and devoted follower of the sport, it was pretty surprising to see Kenny Gainwell fall to the 5th round of this year’s Draft. The biggest reason for that is likely because he chose to sit out his final collegiate season in 2020 after multiple family members passed away from COVID-19. Before that, though, Gainwell was one of the best playmakers in the country at Memphis and likely would’ve been a Day 2 pick in the Draft if he played last season. He’s not only an explosive rusher, but he’s very skilled and experienced as a pass-catcher - which is what should keep him regularly involved in the Eagles offense as a third-down back. As a later-round pick in fantasy drafts right now, Gainwell is certainly worth the gamble as he’ll be on the field more than Boston Scott this season and will be used more than the typical backup RB because of his pass-catching ability - as much as Miles Sanders truthers say otherwise.

WR Quez Watkins -- Who else saw Watkins turn a screen pass into a 79-yard TD back in Week 1 of the Preseason? That’s the kind of speed and playmaking ability the Eagles have been hoping for from their receivers and if Watkins is going to provide it - well, he’s going to play a lot this season. As a sixth-round rookie last year, the Southern Miss product barely played and spent time on injured reserve for part of the season. Despite the rough start to his career, Watkins has every opportunity to be one of Philly’s top wide outs in his second season if he can make plays like the aforementioned TD catch-and-run. Outside of DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, the Eagles will be looking for at least one more pass-catcher to become a reliable target for Jalen Hurts. Maybe it’s someone else, but Watkins is making the coaching staff and Hurts take notice in camp. You likely won’t be drafting him in fantasy leagues, but don’t be surprised if Watkins is a top waiver add at some point this year. 

TE Zach Ertz -- While the popular opinion was that Zach Ertz would be either traded or released by now, the veteran tight end remains on the roster as of mid-August. And as long as he’s in an Eagles uniform, we have to take notice in fantasy football. Right now, Ertz is going among the No. 20-25 range of TE’s in fantasy drafts and it’s not surprising because we have no idea what role he’ll have - whether he’s playing for Philly or another NFL squad. If you’re drafting soon, Ertz is worth a late-round gamble because there’s a decent chance he gets traded to a team in need of a starting-caliber tight end. Even if he remains on the Eagles, he could end up being a top red-zone target for Jalen Hurts with the upside to catch a touchdown or two in any given game. 

Best Bets (via DraftKings Sportsbook)

Total Wins OVER 6.5 -- This Vegas win total represents the national media and general NFL fan expectation that the Eagles will be a below-average team this season - much like last year. Yet, the Philly faithful fully believe Jalen Hurts and Co. will be a playoff contender and prove everyone wrong. This particular Eagles fan falls somewhere in between, but taking the over on the 6.5 total wins is definitely worth a second look. First off, this team will be playing a slightly easier schedule after finishing dead-last in the NFC East a year ago. That means they get to play fellow last-place teams from 2020 like the Jets, Falcons, Lions and Broncos. Though a couple of those will surely be better this time around, it’s a much better situation than facing the top-tier of the league like Washington. Plus, the Eagles’ three toughest non-conference matchups - Chiefs, Bucs, Saints - will all be home games. It’s not out of the question for them to sneak out an upset over one of them considering the beneficial home-field Philly environment. All in all, getting to seven wins shouldn't be too hard for a team with a talent-laden defense that will keep games closer than the public expects. 

Miles Sanders Total Rushing Yards UNDER 1000.5 -- If you missed it, go check out my concerns for Sanders above. The basic gist, though, is that the Eagles seem content on using multiple backs in the offense and likely won’t be handing a bell-cow workload to Sanders. Whether it’s Kenny Gainwell and Boston Scott in change-of-pace roles or Jordan Howard in short-yardage, don’t expect a heavy volume of carries from Philly’s lead RB. This rushing total set by Vegas seems way too high for a guy who should be in a committee backfield more often than not - and his weekly rushing totals can’t be trusted if the Eagles are trailing in games. Plus, Sanders hasn’t even gone over 900 rushing yards in a season yet in his short career. He totaled 818 yards in his rookie year and then 867 yards over 12 games last season - though the final number would’ve been higher if not for some injuries. Still, we should expect about 900 rushing yards for him this time around - making the under bet on this prop very attractive. 

Dallas Goedert Total Receptions OVER 60.5 -- We outlined Goedert’s solid fantasy value above - and backing his total receptions prop is the right way to go in the betting circles. In just 11 games last year, the tight end finished with 46 receptions as the second-leading receiver on the team. If he was healthy for a few more games, there’s no denying that he would’ve totaled at least 60 catches by season’s end. Two years ago, Goedert had 58 receptions over 15 games - and that was with Zach Ertz still having a decent role in the offense. If Ertz gets traded in the coming weeks, Goedert is a bargain with this receptions prop. The Eagles offense is devoid of proven pass-catchers and Goedert should prove to be a reliable safety blanket for Jalen Hurts in the short-to-intermediate range. We saw Hurts target the tight ends early and often in the first Preseason game and that bodes well for how the regular season games could go.