The landscape of the NFL and fantasy football was rocked Wednesday as the Philadelphia Eagles hired Chip Kelly to become their new head coach. We know all about Chip: his explosive offense, and manic, up-tempo pace, but what does this mean for fantasy purposes?
I think the biggest thing to remember with Chip Kelly is that the Eagles are going to be fast. Everything will be in a hurry. While they probably will not be running plays every 20 seconds like Kelly is used to, they will be coming fast and furious. This means an overall rise in number of plays for the Eagles. This helps everyone, across the board. From quarterback to tight end, all fantasy players on the Eagles will benefit from an increase in offensive snap count.
With all due respect to Andy Reid, he was not the offensive genius that Kelly is. Kelly’s offense not only will be faster than Reid’s was, but it will be more effective, once again producing more snaps for the offense. The more long sustained drives a team has, the better it is for fantasy, as it produces more opportunity for everyone. Now that we have established why Kelly’s style will provide more opportunity for everyone, let’s look at some specifics.
Quarterback Nick Foles can pack his bags, because he is likely done. By no means a picture of athleticism, Foles was not good in his late-season test run, and will be replaced by someone a little better suited to Kelly’s offense. I hate to be that guy, but I truly believe that the Eagles need to give Michael Vick one more chance. I think that he is perfect for this system. For all of his flaws, Vick throws a very nice deep ball and is underrated in terms of reading defenses. Chip Kelly’s quarterbacks don’t run more than average, they just pose the threat. Vick would be a perfect fit.
The running game that Kelly will bring to the Eagles figures to be dynamic. The zone read has proven that it can work at the NFL level and I think it is time that Vick and LeSean McCoy take it to the next level. Two of the most talented runners in football in one of the most of the most opportunistic run schemes should produce great results. I think McCoy may sneak back inside my top five among running backs for next year after all.
While McCoy will be the focus, I think that Bryce Brown owners should not lose hope. Kelly has a history of using two backs. With talent like Brown has, I can’t imagine an innovator like Kelly letting it go to waste. Though he may not be a top-20 guy, Brown certainly will have value in 2013.
Lastly, I think that Kelly’s arrival will greatly help Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson. These guys are absolute lightning rods that are so quick and so talented. I don’t know what kind of dynamic packages Kelly will come up with for these two, but I guarantee it will be fun to watch. All of the crazy expectations we have had for these two over the past several years are about to come true.
Better get your popcorn ready, this is going to be a team to watch in 2013.