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2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 15: Eagles 27, Washington 17 (By Ross Jacobs)

December 25, 2021 11:52 AM
December 25, 2021 11:51 AM

2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 15: Eagles 27, Washington 17 (By Ross Jacobs)


On the first drive of the game, Jalen Hurts was credited with an interception after a short pass hit Dallas Goedert right in the hands, dropped, bounced off the back of his heel, and flew right into a defender's arms. It was a bizarre play and immediately allowed Washington to score and take a 7-0 lead. It's the kind of play that can completely turn around a game and allow a big underdog to pull an upset.

On the next Eagles drive, they were marching down the field and looked ready to score...until Hurts was sacked and fumbled the ball giving Washington good field position. Terry McLaurin caught a deep ball on the next play which led to a Washington FG. 10-0 Washington just minutes into the game off of Eagle turnovers.

After the fumble, the idiotic Eagles fans began to boo Hurts because they have no idea what they are actually watching and instead just listen to the national media telling everyone how awful Hurts is. Shocker: he's not and instead of getting down on himself like he could easily have done, he calmly and decisively carved up the Washington defense the rest of the game.

Unfortunately, the negative plays weren't done just yet. Goedert lost a big play to a hold and dropped a couple of passes, and poorly timed penalties were clearly slowing them down. The Eagles finally managed to right the ship in the late 2nd quarter with a Hurts rushing TD and then a FG to tie the game at 10-10 at halftime.

After halftime the bad luck was gone and the Eagles massacred Washington the rest of the way. The run game started churning like I've rarely seen. The only time I've witnessed holes this large was when the Steelers decided to not play defense against the Vikings a few weeks ago.

Philly was just blowing Washington off the line, and their backs were chewing up ground like nobody's business. It was quickly 20-10 and it looked like a rout was on.

Washington did manage to cut the lead to a mere 3 points in the early 4th quarter after Garrett Gilbert made a fantastic pass across his body while rolling to his left to put Washington in scoring position. It was not enough, however, as Hurts immediately responded with another TD, and the 10 point lead would hold this time.

I didn't come into this rewatch expecting to see much of interest, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I witnessed. Firstly, all credit to Garrett Gilbert. The man was signed off New England's practice squad just 3 days before the game. He barely had any time to learn the playbook, get to know his teammates, or practice, and yet he came in here and played as well as could be expected under the circumstances.

He was relatively calm and collected despite being under a lot of pressure behind a suspect offensive line. He threw the ball well and made good decisions. It was a solid performance and I'd say he deserves a backup job after what he showed here.

Unfortunately for Washington, this loss drops them to 6-8 and their playoff chances, while still technically alive, are remote. They have games remaining against all three divisional opponents, but they'd have to win all three and hope for a few lucky breaks to make it in. I don't foresee that happening. Most likely their season ends at 6 or 7 wins.

What I'm most interested in from this game though is Philly. They've won 4 of their last 5 games and not just winning but blowing teams out. Over the last 5 games they're averaging 27.4 points per game and allowing 18 ppg. If you take it to their last 7 games, they've won 5 of those 7 while scoring 29.3 ppg and allowing 17.6 ppg.

During this stretch the schedule hasn't been very difficult, but they have beaten the pants off the Saints and Broncos, two pretty good teams. They also just barely lost to the emerging Chargers by 3. Their 5 losses early in the season came to the 49'ers, Cowboys, Chiefs, Bucs, and Raiders. That's a pretty tough group on the whole.

I bring all this up because I think we've been looking at Philly as this kind of lower middle of the pack team, but when you look at their results on paper it's much more impressive than that. The defense is pretty good and the offense is firing on all cylinders with Hurts running the spread option game to perfection behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. That offensive line is the key. They were giving Hurts all day to throw, and you see how deadly he can be when protected.

This is not a bad team by any stretch of the imagination. I'm just trying to figure out how good they are. My gut is telling me they are pretty darn good now, maybe comparable in strength to the Patriots. In the NFC that makes them the 6th or 7th best, but in the AFC they might be the 3rd or 4th best team.

After this win they are up to 7-7 with 3 divisional games remaining. They probably are not catching the Cowboys, but there is a path if they win out and the Cowboys lose their other two games to Washington and the Cardinals.

A loss to the Cardinals would surprise no one, but what if Washington beats Dallas this week while Philly wins? Suddenly the door is open and that week 18 game between the Eagles and Cowboys could tie their records up, and if I'm reading everything right, the tiebreak between them would come down to the 5th option, strength of victory.

It's a small chance but a chance nonetheless.

Even if they can't catch Dallas for the division title, if they win 2 of 3 and the Vikings lose to the Rams and Packers, they'll be in. If they run the table they still lose to Dallas, but they could grab the 6th seed if the 49'ers lose to the Rams. I think there's a very good chance Philly is going to at least make the playoffs as the 7th seed, and this is not a team you want to play in January with this run game churning.



Fantasy Notes


--Well, I guess the answer to whether Dallas Goedert (7-135-0/9) would retain his targeting and effectiveness with Hurts at QB instead of Minshew is a resounding yes.

I was super enthused to see his usage here because he was being schemed open with the defense focused on trying to stop the run game, but he was also physically dominating, at one point going up over the top of a defender and snatching the ball away.

Over the last 4 games, Goedert is averaging 4.75 catches for 75.5 yards and 0.5 TD's per game (15.3 ppg in ppr) and that's including a 1 catch 0 yard stinker against the Giants. I see no reason why this trend won't continue over the final weeks of the season. It only took 4 years, but it seems like we're finally getting the Goedert breakout we dreamed of.


--Miles Sanders (18-131-0) finally had himself a game, but it wasn't anything he was doing. He was running through holes so big they barely qualify as holes. It was more like he was just running into open space with no defender within 10 yards of him at times. I'm not sure you can trust it this week against a very good Giant defense. I think he's still an RB3 because it seems like there's a 60-40 split between he and Jordan Howard, plus Hurts is still siphoning off all the rushing TD's.


--Speaking of Jordan Howard (15-69-0), he's the better back of the two, but he's never going to matter for fantasy unless Sanders gets hurt again. This wasn't just him in running the clock out late though. It was a true two-headed monster grinding away throughout the game. Sanders was definitely the lead and in early, but Howard wasn't far behind. He's the backup, but he's going to play significant snaps. Philly is emulating the Baltimore backfield strategy which means they will try to keep their guys as fresh as possible by splitting snaps.


--Devonta Smith looks as good as ever to me, but right now he's just a bit player in this offense. It's exactly like in Baltimore except worse because Hurts doesn't lean on one guy the way Lamar does. There's simply not enough volume to matter for Smith right now. I like his chances to be a WR2 next year, but his time isn't here yet.


--Antonio Gibson left the game early but returned before long. He's re-aggravated the turf toe injury he's been battling since last year and is now officially questionable for Sunday. He hasn't practiced all week though, so doubtful seems more appropriate.


--If Gibson can't go we can expect a split between Jaret Patterson and Jonathan Williams of some kind. What kind of split I can only guess at, but I don't think you want any part of either guy behind this poor offensive line facing a suddenly very good Dallas defense.


--One of Washington's lone bright spots in this mess is Ricky Seals-Jones. He's played very well in the absence of Logan Thomas this year, and even though he was held back here because Gilbert was so unfamiliar with the offense, he's got TE1 upside in Washington's rematch with Philly in week 17. The Eagles have been notoriously weak to TE's this year and having Heinicke back will be a big boost.



Snap Counts of Interest


35 = Miles Sanders

34 = Jordan Howard


10 = Jaret Patterson

2 = Jonathan Williams


About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

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