The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.
Riley Cooper's contract expires at the end of the season and he knows it.
"Yeah, it's up," Cooper said. "It's definitely crossed my mind. But I'm approaching this whole season and the next three games, just play as hard as you can and then at the end of the day everything will take care of itself."
The Eagles wide receiver signed a four-year, $2 million contract when the Eagles selected him in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. Entering this season, Cooper played mostly as a fourth receiver and would have likely had the same role if Jeremy Maclin didn't suffer a season-ending knee injury in July.
But after a slow first month starting in place of Maclin, Cooper has become one of the Eagles' most productive players on offense over the last eight games. His rise has coincided with that of quarterback Nick Foles, who has targeted only DeSean Jackson more (52 to 51) over that span.
Pyro's take: Cooper has been held without a 100-yard receiving game or a touchdown in his last three games. At least one of those streaks will come to an end this week.
Cooper and the Eagles will be facing the Vikings and their woeful defense. The Eagles can control their own destiny if they win out, so there is no reason to believe that they will be conservative if they jump out to a lead. That is good news for Cooper.
Riley is playing for a contract, and that extra incentive can be the difference between a 10-yard catch and going out of bounds or taking a risk and turning it into a much bigger play. Start him this week.
Q: LeSean, his numbers are better each quarter, first, second, third, fourth quarter. How much of that do you think is him getting stronger or staying strong and the O‑line?
Kelly: Good question, I think it's a combination of all that. I think obviously there is a cumulative effect as the game goes along. I also think your guys up front have to continue to do what they are doing.
At times it doesn't matter how strong the running back is, if we are not strong up front we are not going to get any initial push at the line of scrimmage. Therefore, it's going to be a little bit difficult so it is a combination of both of that.
Q: How tough do you think he is to defend against? He can catch the ball and he obviously can run the ball. If you're on the other team trying to stop this guy, how tough does he make it?
Kelly: He's a tough matchup because you can use him in the passing game and he does have good hands and he can run routes. He had a big play for us in the Chargers game on just a short little three‑ or four‑yard option route that he turned into a 60‑yard gain down the goal line. He is a tough matchup. Some of these guys are runners and other guys are really good receivers out of the backfield but I think he's a combination of both.
Pyro's take: McCoy has had some monster games this season, but last week was snowtactular. McCoy will not be able to run around in the snow this week, as the Eagles will be in the Metrodome.
The Vikings have been extremely poor on defense this season, and with Adrian Peterson most likely missing this game, they could be on field a lot Sunday. Shady should continue to help lead the way in your fantasy playoffs, and if you are playing against him...sorry.
While the Lions defense has been vulnerable against the pass, it is an elite unit against the run and has particularly ramped up its performance in that area since the first month of the season. The Lions run defense ranks third the in the NFL and only gives up 82.7 yards per game, while the Eagles run offense still ranks second in the league at 146.8 yards per game despite being less explosive than usual in recent weeks.
“It’s going to be a good battle,” Schwartz said. “We’ve played the run very well lately and really all year. Earlier in the season our run stats weren’t that good because we gave up a few big plays (but then would shut teams down the rest of the game). Particularly these last six or seven games we’ve shut down some good run teams and pretty good running backs. We have a great challenge ahead of us in LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown and even Nick Foles – Foles will pull the ball and run it. It’s going to be a great challenge. We’ve faced similar schemes in the past – well, it’s a similar philosophy but a different scheme when you talk about the Redskins and what (Robert Griffin III) does. That’s obviously going to be a big part of this game because they’re committed to the run and it sets up a lot of the stuff that they do, and we’ve been a team that’s been good against the run.”
Pyro's take: If you are starting the playoffs and are going against McCoy you can feel pretty good. The Lions have not given up over 100 yards rushing in a game since week 6.
Shady is going to have trouble finding running lanes this week. His best chance for production will be in the passing game, but you can forget about him having a blow up week. It is more likely he get blown up this week.
Foles has been amazing, but still not named Eagles starter
Kelly said Monday his two biggest QB criteria are wins and interceptions. Foles is 4-1 as a starter this season and none of his 162 throws has been intercepted.
Asked Monday whether Foles' 152.8 passer rating over the past three weeks is an example of extraordinary quarterbacking or just competent running of his offense, Kelly said: "It's always about the individual. It doesn't matter what plays are called or schemes are run, they still have to be executed. I think he is executing them. All the credit goes to him. He spends a lot of time, he works extremely hard at it. He's got a real good grasp of what we're doing. He's extremely accurate in his throws. He's doing a great job of just making decisions and not putting the ball in harm's way ... He's a really, really good decision-maker. It's exciting to see him grow there."
Pyro's take: Chip Kelly seems have taken a lot of cues from Bill Belichick in terms of how he handles the media. Since Vick injured his hamstring the second time, Foles has won 3 straight games, and has been nearly perfect in doing so.
Foles will remain the starter after the bye week. There is no way Kelly can justify benching Nick for Vick after putting the Eagles in position to control their destiny in their division. I also know that Philly is a tough town, and the fans will not be happy if Foles were replaced by Vick in week 13. If Foles were to struggle, I also have no problem believing that the fans could be screaming for Kelly to go with Vick. Love ya Philly!
When Nick Foles is good, he’s really, really good.
This streakiness has shown up most notably in his deep attempts. Against Tampa Bay and Oakland, he threw 10 passes longer than 20 yards, completing eight of them for 295 yards and six touchdowns. Sandwiched between those efforts was the ugly game against Dallas, in which his longest gain all day netted just 14 yards.
When he’s been on, Foles’ numbers have been equally absurd in the screen game, which thanks to Chip Kelly now comprises a dizzying array of short throws attacking every area of the field.
Pyro's take: Foles and the Eagles will be taking on the battered, bruised and injured Green Bay Packers this week, and Nick will be looking to continue his hot streak. The Packers allowed Josh McCown to exploit their defense on Monday Night, and there is no reason to think that Foles and Chip Kelly have a few things in store for them this week. If you own Foles it will be hard to sit him for this match-up.
Cooper will tell you he doesn't read the papers or listen to the radio talk shows or pay much attention to the negative comments about him on social media. But that's bull.
He knows what people have been saying and writing and tweeting about him this season.
"That's the 'Coop' I know," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said after Cooper became the first Eagles receiver to catch three touchdown passes in a game since Kevin Curtis in 2007. "Some people wanted to throw him under the bus after the first couple of games because he hadn't caught as many balls as people wanted him to catch. But he's a big, physical target.
"The first touchdown [a 17-yarder on a go-route down the left sideline against rookie corner D.J. Hayden] was a great example of it. He muscled up and got physical and got by the guy. That's the one thing that Coop can do. When he's covered one-on-one by smaller defensive backs, he's not going to get knocked off [his route] and does a great job of catching the football.
"So I'm really happy with his production. He did a couple of things similar to what he did in the Tampa Bay game. We found him when he was covered one-on-one and he was real productive."
Pyro's take: We have mentioned in out podcast that Cooper has had his better games with Foles under center. After his record setting day on Sunday, Foles will be the man from here on out. Cooper is available in a ton of fantasy leagues, and if you need a wide receiver who is going to see targets and be single covered, look no further.
Vick may have started his last game for the Eagles
Michael Vick said he would have continued to play on Sunday had that been asked of him. If there is nothing else consistent about the Eagles starting quarterback - and pretty much there is nothing else consistent - it is that he always wants to keep playing football regardless.
Criticize whatever else you like, but Vick doesn't look for the sideline. He has to be taken out, and that is what Chip Kelly did in the second quarter of Sunday's dreadful 15-7 loss to the New York Giants.
Kelly let Vick remain in the game for one series after the quarterback reinjured his left hamstring, just as he did when the injury originally occurred three weeks earlier in the Meadowlands, but it was clear that Vick couldn't run.
"I tested it many times, but there's nothing like game simulation when guys are coming at you and they are going to hit you," Vick said. "I just reacted the same way I would have if I was 100 percent healthy."
"It was hurting," Vick said. "I can't question why it happened. I've never had a hamstring injury this bad, so I really don't know what to tell you."
Pyro's take: It seems clear that Vick is not going to be able to play in week 9, but Nick Foles has yet to be cleared to practice with a concussion injury. Vick Needs to be able to run, and with him reinjuring his hamstring for a second time this season, each injury occurring with no contact from a defender, it seems like Mike will be sidelined for at least 3 -4 weeks.
If that timetable turns out to be true, then you can pretty much put a lid on Vick and his time as the Eagles starting signal caller. If you own Vick, it is time to jump ship.
The Eagles listed quarterback Michael Vick as probable on their injury report for Sunday's game against the New York Giants.
On Tuesday, an NFL source told The Inquirer that Vick would play vs. the Giants after missing the previous two games with a hamstring injury. Vick never confirmed the report, but said Friday would be a pivotal day in deciding whether he would be ready. He said he planned to run a 100-yard dash full speed to test the hamstring.
Vick was a full participant in practice each day, however.
Pyro's take: Vick has been the quarterback getting all the reps in practice this week, so you can count on him playing. Vick said that he wanted to be at 100%, but he will start either way this week.
Desean Jackson owners can breath a sigh of relief, as he should be able to post a nice game against a beleaguered Giants defense. Jackson has performed much better with Vick under center this season.
Vick may not be at 100% with his hamstring, so don't expect him to run as much as normal.
Michael Vick will start Sunday's game against the New York Giants, according to a league source.
When he was asked about it Tuesday, the Eagles quarterback was not ready to reveal his status. At one point, he appeared on the verge of saying he would play before restraining himself.
Vick later said that he expected to play, and that he could play at 80 percent. He missed two games with a pulled left hamstring.
Vick took the first-team snaps at Tuesday's practice, which is one of the week's lighter training sessions. Nick Foles did not practice while awaiting clearance to return from a concussion.
Pyro's take: Just when it seemed like Vick was going to lose his job, he was given a second chance with Nick Foles suffering a concussion. If Vick does start, it will be unlikely that he will be at 100%, and he will still be an injury risk. His return would be a big help to owners of Desean Jackson, who was non-existent last week.
Nick Foles will start his second consecutive game Sunday when the Dallas Cowboys visit, according to Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.
Vick declared himself out for Sunday's game while he recovers from a pulled left hamstring.
“No I’m not playing this week," Vick said. "Not this week.”
Earlier in the day, Kelly was unclear on Vick's status. Vick and Foles did a joint news conference after practice.
“Every day’s just working, trying to get better," Vick said of his recovery.
Pyro's take: It is now official that Foles will start this week. Chip Kelly has been hemming and hawing on this all week and it took Vick himself to put an end to that nonsense.
Foles now has the chance to cement his claim to the starting job in Philadelphia. I have been saying that this would happen since the get go and now is the time for Foles to put an end to this folly, beat the Cowboys and win the starting job. If Chip Kelly is looking to have a longer tenure than all the other failed college coaches, he better get behind Foles and stay there.
Q. How would you evaluate Nick's performance when you saw it on tape?
COACH KELLY: I thought Nick did a really nice job, really, really happy with how we performed within our offense. Did a good job of taking what the defense gave us. There were a lot of times he got us out of some bad plays and into some good ones with some decisions he made, so we were really happy with how Nick played.
Q. What qualities does Nick have that make him so productive and efficient in the red zone?
COACH KELLY: He executes the plays that we call. A lot of our red zone, we just didn't do [earlier] ‑‑ I didn't do a good job calling plays and putting ourselves in good situations; and I think we called plays and Nick put the ball where we are supposed to be.
Q. Does it give you any competitive advantage to not name the starting quarterback this week until Sunday or when you play?
COACH KELLY: I don't think so. I mean, I think they are still going to practice.
Pyro's take: This was a very interesting press conference for Kelly, as the press was trying to get him to name a starter. The best thing for Coach Chip is that Vick most likely will not be at 100% this week, thus not starting. If Foles has another game like this and wins, the job will be his.
Quarterback Michael Vick was listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Vick was listed as a full participant in Friday's practice, which is believed to be a light practice. A source close to the situation told The Inquirer "it's doubtful" that Vick plays.
Pyro's take: Vick made his way back to the practice field, but it does not look like he will be able to go on Sunday. I can understand why Vick is pushing to get back, because he knows that he could lose his job if Nick Foles excels in his absence. This is a situation that will be more clear after Foles gets his chance this week.
Vick was at practice today but he did not participate in the 7-7 drills. Chip Kelly said today that it was still too early to tell if Vick will be at go on Sunday. He was able to jog and throw and stated that he "felt good." He also mentioned that his hammy is tender in certain areas, and at this point he doesn't want to make the injury worse.
Pyro's take: If I had to make a guess right now, I say he doesn't play on Sunday. But, for those that have Mr. Vick, now is the time to pick up Nick Foles if available. Foles is a great fit for that high flying Eagles circus act over there in Phili, and even if Michael Vick does come back, he will probably get hurt again.
Vick and his hamstring could cost him his starting gig
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said Monday that quarterback Michael Vick is "day-to-day" with a hamstring injury, and Kelly refused to commit to Nick Foles as Sunday's starter against the Buccaneers in Tampa.
On Sunday, Kelly had said the hobbled Vick would remain the No. 1 quarterback even if he couldn't play, but on Monday Kelly said a permanent switch could be made "if someone comes in and puts on an unbelievable show."
"I'm not going to put (Vick) out there if it's going to hurt him. That is the biggest thing. When he was in the game and we went back in, they thought he was good to go back in. I watched him try to get away from the rush, and that wasn't fair to Mike. I'm not going to put him in that situation, so we'll see how he is."
Pyro's take: The fact that Chip Kelly is leaving the door open by saying there could be a permanent switch is great news for Nick Foles and horrible news for Vick. It is no shock that Vick was not Kelly's favorite when training camp opened, but the offense just performed better with him under center. Now that Vick is dealing with a hamstring injury, which is the worst for a running quarterback like himself, Foles might have a chance to show that he is ready to take the job and actually do it.
If Foles were to win the job, that would be a major blow for Vick owners, as he has been a very productive quarterback to this point. The problem for Vick is that he has never been a candidate to play all 16 games, which he has done only once in 2006, and at 33 with a new head coach he may not get benefit of the doubt if Foles performs.
Michael Vick got the start in the Eagles first preseason game and completed 4 of 5 passes for 94 yards and a 47-yard touchdown pass.
Pyro's take: Vick is battling against Nick Foles for the starting job with the Eagles and this was a very strong performance for him. Foles will start the second game, but Vick looked like the much better player on Friday night. He had more velocity on his passes and he was hitting receivers in stride. Vick should end up winning the starting job and will be a nice grab as a backup quarterback.
DeSean Jackson had only 1 catch in the Eagles first preseason game, but it went for 47 yards and a touchdown.
Pyro's take: DeSean Jackson is looking for a bounce back season and feels like he has new life in Chip Kelly's offense. Jackson is already in for a boost in production with the loss of Jeremy Maclin, but this touchdown catch was the type of explosion that he showed back in 2009. Jackson is not going that high in drafts, but could be a real value this season.
Wide receiver Arrelious Benn tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the Eagles said. Benn is the third Eagles player to suffered a season-ending ACL injury this training camp. All three injuries -- wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and linebacker Jason Phillips went down first -- occurred on the same field at the Eagles practice facility.
Benn missed most of the first two weeks of camp with a knee injury. He returned Sunday and practiced only two full days before tearing his ACL. Benn has had an injury-marred NFL career. The Eagles have now lost two receivers that they expected to be on their final 53-man roster. The team acquired Benn from Tampa Bay in the off-season for a sixth-round draft pick. They did get receiver Riley Cooper back on Tuesday after he missed three days because of an excused absence.
Pyro's take: Benn was one of the receivers who was looking to see action with the season ending injury to Jeremy Maclin, but now he will just join him on the shelf.
The Eagles are seeing players drop all too often in this training camp, which does not bode well for Chip Kelly in his first season as head coach.
The Eagles are struggling to find a receiver who can stay healthy or not utter racial slurs, it could be a long year in Philly this season.
Jeremy Maclin was carted off the field at Eagles training camp today in what PhillyMag.com’s Sheil Kapadia reports “appeared to be a non-contact injury.”
Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that “Maclin lay on the ground for about five minutes as the Eagles’ medical staff attended to him”, and that “players were visibly upset” as the situation unfolded.
Maclin has not had an MRI yet, but fears that he has torn his ACL, which he also tore in college in 2006.
Pyro's take: This is horrible news for Maclin fans, and those who thought he was going to have a big season in a contract year. We were not big fans of what Maclin was going to do this year to begin with, and this only makes DeSean Jackson a stronger play, and will give a chance, but not a great one for Arrelious Benn, Jason Avant or Riley Cooper to step up. This also has a negative impact on either Michael Vick or Nick Foles.
07/27/13, 02:45 PM CDT by Houdini
Geoff Mosher, of CSN Philly was writing about the competition for the starting quarterback position and had this to say.
"Now, it’s obvious to me that Vick actually has the toughest road to the starting job, more than Foles or Barkley. At 33, which he turned last month, he’s far and away the oldest quarterback on the roster. At more than $7 million this year, he’s also far and away the most expensive. New coaches tend to build their programs around young franchise signal callers, not aging ones whose best days are well behind them.
It also helps that Foles and Barkley are much more salary-cap friendly than Vick. Even if it’s a tie between Vick and Foles or Vick and Barkley as training camp progresses this summer, what impetus would Kelly have to stick with Vick?"
Pyro's take: This is a very interesting statement by Mosher, and could be very telling. Vick is only getting older and his price tag does make him a more intriguing option for the Eagles to part ways if one of the younger quarterbacks is able to step up their game in the preseason. If Vick does end up with the starting job, he will need to win to keep his job, and will be under constant scrutiny. Foles is looking better and better than Vick as a sleeper option at the quarterback position.
The Philadelphia Eagles decided to cut ties with former All-Pro running back Brian Westbrook and released him on Tuesday. Westbrook played his entire eight-year career with the Eagles and leaves the franchise ranking 1st in yards from scrimmage (9,785), 2nd in rushing yards (5,995), 3rd in rushing TDs (37), 3rd in receptions (426), 10th in receiving yards (3,790), and 10th in receiving TDs (29).
Pyro's take: Westy still has a ton of talent and can probably still produce at the NFL level, it just won't be for the Eagles. His injury woes are too concerning for the team's management at this point, so LeSean McCoy will get the chance in 2010 to take over for Westbrook as the starting RB of the future.
The 30-year old running back has already stated that he will not be retiring, so we'll see where the multi-talented RB shows up soon enough.