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FFL: Offseason | NFL: Divisional

Carson Wentz led injury-depleted Eagles until he couldn't

Mon Jan 6 6:50pm ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer

Players: Josh McCown, DeSean Jackson, Nick Foles, Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Carson Wentz, Nelson Agholor, Greg Ward, Boston Scott, Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders

Philadelphia Eagles strong safety Malcolm Jenkins speaks with members of the media at the NFL football team's practice facility in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The Eagles ended their season with a 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz speaks with members of the media at the NFL football team's practice facility in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The Eagles ended their season with a 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott speaks with members of the media at the NFL football team's practice facility in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The Eagles ended their season with a 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


Philadelphia Eagles offensive guard Brandon Brooks cleans out his locker at the NFL football team's practice facility in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The Eagles ended their season with a 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham speaks with members of the media at the NFL football team's practice facility in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The Eagles ended their season with a 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox speaks with members of the media as he cleans out his locker at the NFL football team's practice facility in Philadelphia, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The Eagles ended their season with a 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)


PHILADELPHIA (AP) Carson Wentz helped the Philadelphia Eagles overcome one injury after another until he ended up on the sideline.

A season that began with Super Bowl expectations ended early because most of the players who gave Philadelphia reason to have championship hopes were injured.

Forty-year-old quarterback Josh McCown was among six backups on the field trying for the tying score in a 17-9 loss to Seattle on Sunday in the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs.

So the Eagles (9-8) cleaned out their lockers on Monday and headed off to an offseason filled with uncertainty.

The front office has important decisions to make regarding free agents and must address an aging roster. There also could be some changes on the coaching staff.

''Even with as much adversity as we faced all year, to put ourselves in this position, win the NFC East, and have a home playoff game, I was really proud of the effort all season,'' coach Doug Pederson said he told his players.

Wentz answered questions about his durability, started 16 games, set a franchise record with 4,039 yards passing and led a team with a group of skill players off the practice squad to four straight must-win games in December to secure the division title.

But he lasted only two series in his first career playoff start, getting knocked out with a head injury on a helmet-to-helmet hit from Jadeveon Clowney.

Nick Foles, who led the Eagles to a Super Bowl title two years ago and a playoff win last year when Wentz was out with injuries, wasn't here to rescue the team again.

Despite suffering a concussion, Wentz went up to every player on the team after the game, thanked them for their contributions and apologized for getting hurt.

''That's just a testament to his character, a great dude,'' said three-time Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks, who didn't play because of a shoulder injury that requires surgery this week.

The Eagles had their starting offense together for only one game, a 32-27 win over Washington in Week 1.

Dynamic wide receiver DeSean Jackson appeared in only three games and veteran wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor combined to miss 13 games.

Brooks got hurt in Week 17 and two-time Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson missed the last four games. Running back Jordan Howard missed six games and the defense also was hit hard with injuries.

Wentz held the team together through all the injuries before he got hurt, too.

FREE AGENTS

Fifteen players will be unrestricted free agents, including nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, safety Rodney McLeod, defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, versatile offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill, Howard and Agholor. Peters turns 38 this month and wants to return but the team drafted Andre Dillard in the first round last year to replace him. Darby, Mills and McLeod are three-fourths of the starting secondary.

NEW DEALS

Safety Malcolm Jenkins, a team leader and the heart and soul of the defense, made it clear he wants a new contract. The three-time Pro Bowl pick has played 2,484 consecutive defensive snaps since the start of the 2017 playoffs.

Jenkins is due a base salary of $7.6 million plus per-game incentives worth an additional $250,000 in 2020.

''I won't be back on the same deal,'' Jenkins said. ''That won't happen. The market's good for safeties right now. I consider myself to be in the top tier of that group and I'd like to be compensated for it.''

Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz, who has two years remaining on his contract, could also seek an extension.

HOW TO GET IT RIGHT

The Eagles must surround Wentz with better players. Running back Miles Sanders led all rookies in scrimmage yards and will be a core part of the offense. Running back Boston Scott and wideout Greg Ward emerged from the practice squad and showed value. But the team needs more help at receiver. Jackson is 33, coming off abdominal surgery and owed more than $14 million the next two seasons. Jeffery turns 30 next month and will be returning from foot surgery plus seemed to be on the decline. However, he's owed $11.5 million guaranteed next season.

There's question marks on the offensive line. A tough decision has to be made on Peters at left tackle and three-time All-Pro center Jason Kelce hasn't definitely said he wants to continue to play.

On defense, the secondary must be reshaped, depth is needed on the line and upgrades at linebacker.

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Player Notes
Ryan Kerrigan Jan 15 9:43pm ET

Washington Football Team impending free-agent DE Ryan Kerrigan said there has not been any contract talks between him and Washington at this point.

From TheHuddle

Taysom Hill Jan 15 9:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray (quadriceps) and quarterback Taysom Hill (knee) were both listed as questionable for the Divisional Round matchup against the Buccaneers on Sunday after getting in limited practices on Friday. The fact that they both practiced on Friday is good news for their chances of suiting up for the third meeting this year against the Bucs. If Murray, 31, cannot play, Alvin Kamara would have even more fantasy upside and would likely see more red-zone work against a stingy Buccaneers defensive front. Dwayne Washington and Ty Montgomery would help back up Kamara. Hill would likely only see a handful of snaps as a Swiss Army Knife on Sunday if he plays, making him avoidable in most fantasy lineups if he's active.

From RotoBaller

Baltimore Ravens Jan 15 9:00pm ET

Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (back) and offensive guard D.J. Fluker (knee) were both listed as questionable for the Divisional Round game against the Bills on Saturday night. Peters and Fluker were both limited in practice on Thursday, so they have a chance to be active against Buffalo. Peters also missed several games near the end of the regular season with a calf injury. We expect him to play through the pain in a very tough matchup with a Bills offense that can put up points with the best of them. Most DFS gamers will be avoiding Baltimore's stout defense this weekend, but they could surprise folks on Saturday night, especially if there is snow on the field.

From RotoBaller

New Orleans Saints Jan 15 9:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson (hamstring) has been ruled out against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for Sunday's Divisional Round matchup, the third between the two clubs this season. Robinson missed practice all week. New Orleans still has a solid defense overall on the edges of the secondary with Janoris Jenkins and Marshon Lattimore locking things down, but Robinson's absence will be felt at nickelback. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson will be tasked with slowing down Tampa wideout Chris Godwin this weekend. The Saints Defense will still be a strong fantasy unit on Sunday, but only if they can get some pressure on future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. In two games against the Saints in the regular season, Godwin had nine catches (13 targets) for 120 yards.

From RotoBaller

Josh Gordon Jan 15 8:50pm ET

The NFL rescinded Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon's conditional reinstatement on Friday and left him banned from the league indefinitely. Gordon was added to the team's active roster three weeks ago and was set to return to the field when he had a setback in his battle with substance abuse that broke the terms of his conditional reinstatement. He missed the entire 2020 campaign after being suspended in December of 2019. This year was the third time he's missed an entire season since entering the league in 2012. The 29-year-old has been suspended by the NFL six times and has 247 career catches while making the All-Pro team in 2013 with Cleveland. What a shame. Gordon has so much talent and is still on the right side of 30 years old, but he may never get another chance in the NFL due to his latest setback.

From RotoBaller

Cooper Kupp Jan 15 8:50pm ET

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (knee) is listed as questionable for the Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. Kupp missed practice all week, so fantasy managers should certainly be way of quarterback Jared Goff's top target if he's active this weekend. Kupp's injury wasn't deemed serious last weekend when he left late in the wild-card win over the Seahawks, but it could very well limit him if he suits up against Green Bay. Wide receivers Robert Woods, Josh Reynolds and rookie Van Jefferson could see more targets if Kupp has his snaps limited, but all of LA's pass-catchers should be knocked down a peg with Goff fighting through a surgically repaired right thumb.

From RotoBaller

Matt Ryan Jan 15 8:40pm ET

The Atlanta Falcons hired Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith as their new head coach on Friday, according to sources. Smith was the team's top choice all along, so they get their man. The 38-year-old was one of seven coaching candidates for Atlanta after the team fired Dan Quinn on Oct. 11. Smith is expected to pair with New Orleans Saints assistant general manager/vice president of player personnel, who is expect to be Atlanta's next GM. Smith spent the last 10 seasons with the Titans but stood out the last two years as the team's offensive coordinator, helping the Titans reach the playoffs the last two seasons. Tennessee was the only team in the NFL that ranked in the top five in rushing yards per game (153.5) and passer rating (107) since 2019. He'll try to help an Atlanta team that went 4-12 in 2020 and that hasn't made the playoffs the last three years. Smith should be a good fit if quarterback Matt Ryan and veteran receiver Julio Jones stick around.

From RotoBaller

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jan 15 7:50pm ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense is a solid option ahead of a huge playoff matchup with the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. At one point, Tampa Bay looked like the best defense in the league, but they've since fallen on hard times. Despite this, the Buccaneers still possess talent at all three levels of the defense. Tampa Bay can stop the run and rush the passer, a combination that could lead to turnovers committed by Saints quarterback Drew Brees. The Bucs will need to find their defensive mojo if they want to advance- it's worth betting on for DFS purposes.

From RotoBaller

Chris Godwin Jan 15 7:43pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (hip, quad) did not participate in practice Friday, Jan. 15, but no longer appears on the injury report for the NFC Divisional Round game versus the New Orleans Saints.

Fantasy Spin: Godwin has a favorable matchup in Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, but the former did not do anything of significance in the first two meetings of the season against the Saints. To his credit, however, he has scored in four straight games and is in the midst of his best three-game stretch of the season.

From TheHuddle

Tedric Thompson Jan 15 7:43pm ET

Cleveland Browns DB Tedric Thompson was waived Friday, Jan. 15.

From TheHuddle

Rob Gronkowski Jan 15 7:30pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski had a catch-less game last week against Washington but could bounce back in Sunday's matchup with the Saints. Gronkowski wasn't a big part of the gameplan last week- at least as a receiver- though that could change against the Saints. The veteran tight end has risen to the occasion in big games this year- 6-106-0 against the Chiefs and 5-78-1 against the Packers- and this would be the biggest stage yet this season. The Tom Brady-Gronkowski connection failed fantasy managers last week, but it's worth going back to be more time.

From RotoBaller

Jared Cook Jan 15 7:23pm ET

New Orleans Saints TE Jared Cook (back) was upgraded to a full practice Friday, Jan. 15, and no longer appears on the injury report for the NFC Divisional Round game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Fantasy Spin: Cook has established a solid floor over the last three games with Drew Brees getting more comfortable following his return from injury, finishing with either three or four catches and at least 40 yards each time. The 33-year-old posted 5-80-0 (Week 1) and 2-30-0 (Week 9) against the Buccaneers earlier this season, inspiring some confidence as a mid-priced DFS play at tight end this weekend.

From TheHuddle

Mike Evans Jan 15 7:23pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans (knee) was limited in practice all week but removed from the injury report for the NFC Divisional Round game versus the New Orleans Saints.

Fantasy Spin: Evans enters this contest after erupting for 119 yards against the Washington Football Team last weekend, but his history with Marshon Lattimore seems to bring out the best in the Saints' top corner. No Tampa Bay receiver should be fully faded from this week's DFS slate given how well the offense is playing of late, but Evans should be considered the most likely to disappoint.

From TheHuddle

Antonio Brown Jan 15 7:20pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown possesses upside for fantasy purposes in a playoff matchup with the Saints. Brown had only just signed with the team when he took part in his team's blowout loss to the Saints. Since then, he has rounded into form, with five touchdowns in his last four contests, including two games with at least 90 yards receiving. Brown is looking more and more like the dynamic playmaker who made a name for himself in Pittsburgh- and he could be a real x-factor in this game. He's probably a bit riskier than his two fellow wideouts, though he has the most upside against New Orleans' tough defense.

From RotoBaller

Taysom Hill Jan 15 7:13pm ET

New Orleans Saints QB Taysom Hill (knee) was upgraded to a limited practice Friday, Jan. 15, and is listed as questionable for the NFC Divisional Round game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Fantasy Spin: Hill hasn't missed a game over the last three seasons, so the odds are that he'll be able to play this weekend. The versatile 30-year-old typically plays about 20 offensive snaps per game when Drew Brees is healthy and has scored 13 total touchdowns this season as a passer, rusher or receiver. Hill doesn't possess a lot of fantasy value in playoff leagues, but he could be considered a low-end QB1 in 2021 should Brees opt to retire at the end of this season.

From TheHuddle

Chris Godwin Jan 15 7:00pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin (hip, quad) has no injury designation and will be out there for the divisional round battle against the Saints. Godwin is rolling right now, as he has averaged 9.3 targets per game over his last three contests, having produced at least 79 yards and a touchdown in each of them. Fellow wideout Mike Evans will have to deal with Saints' corner Marshon Lattimore, who could potentially take him out of the game. Godwin would likely see more targets if that happens, though he makes for a good DFS play- despite the Saints' fifth-ranked pass defense.

From RotoBaller

Latavius Murray Jan 15 6:53pm ET

New Orleans Saints RB Latavius Murray (quad) was upgraded to a limited practice Friday, Jan. 15, and is listed as questionable for the NFC Divisional Round game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Fantasy Spin: It's encouraging for his prospects to play that he was able to get in a limited session Friday after missing the first two practices of the week, but he was unlikely to play much of a role in this game anyway with the Buccaneers being so stout against the run. His potential absence would likely lock Alvin Kamara in for 20 touches and could make Ty Montgomery worthy of a punt play in DFS.

From TheHuddle

Josh Gordon Jan 15 6:43pm ET

Seattle Seahawks WR Josh Gordon had his conditional reinstatement rescinded yet again and was given an indefinite suspension by the league Friday, Jan. 15.

From TheHuddle

Mike Evans Jan 15 6:30pm ET

Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans takes on the Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs. Evans comes into the contest having exceeded 100 receiving yards in three of his last four games, with two touchdowns scored. However, he'll be in for a tough test against New Orleans' cornerback Marshon Lattimore, who has yet to allow a catch to Evans in coverage this year. The big-bodied wideout is talented enough to beat any corner, but this seems to be a tough matchup for him in his career. If you turn to Evans in DFS this week, you're probably just hoping he finds the end zone a couple of times.

From RotoBaller

Jarvis Landry Jan 15 6:13pm ET

Cleveland Browns WR Jarvis Landry (hip) practiced in full all week and was left off the injury report for the AFC Divisional Round game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Fantasy Spin: Landry should be expected to get a full complement of snaps in what should be a high-scoring game. As a player who should be considered a lock for seven or eight targets, he's a solid mid-priced receiver option in DFS with significant upside.

From TheHuddle