The Philadelphia Eagles kick off the regular season today versus the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m. ET on CBS. This is a weekly special article for all the fantasy football players out there looking at which Eagles players you should consider starting today.
The Browns defense is mixed with inexperience and average players. Under new defensive coordinator, Ray Horton, they will stack the box and blitz Carson Wentz in his first career start attempting to take away the running game. I’d still take my chances on Mathews.
Wentz’s mobility, along with the read-option plays Doug Pederson hinted at using this week, will open up the rushing attack for the Eagles. Pederson expressed during his press conferences this week that Mathews will be getting the bulk of the carries, so he looks to be a safe play this week.
*Reminder: Browns ILB, DeMario Davis, gave up a wheel route touchdown to Mathews last season as the member of the New York Jets.*
Playing Green-Beckham comes with a risk. He’s still learning the Eagles playbook and even though he expects to start, his workload is in question. Green-Beckham played the Browns as a member of the Tennessee Titans last season and scored a touchdown on the team’s No. 1 cornerback, Joe Haden, for a 13-yard reception.
Both of the Browns cornerbacks, Haden and Jamar Taylor, are both listed as 5’11. The matchup advantage Green-Beckham has over both the cornerbacks is an asset to Wentz in his first career start, especially since the fade routes in the back of the end zone are the young quarterback’s specialties.
Ertz is playing in a pro-style system for the first time since his collegiate career at Stanford. He’s expected to play a huge role in the Eagles’ passing attack this season. The reason that Ertz should be a safe play this week is the fact that Wentz looked his way immediately in his first preseason game versus the Buccaneers that led to a first-down reception.
The Browns inside linebackers, Davis and Christian Kirksey, are expected to be covering Ertz. Also the team’s safeties, Jordan Poyer and Ibraheim Campbell, are favorable matchups for Ertz.
Wild-card starter: Darren Sproles
The Eagles are going to use more of the screen passes this season in Pederson’s offense and Sproles will be utilized primarily as a receiving back. The Browns don’t have an answer on defense when it comes to covering Sproles, so he should be considered as a flex starter in leagues.