What’s Next for the Eagles’ Running-Back Room?

NFL: NOV 03 Bears at Eagles
PHILADELPHIA, PA – NOVEMBER 03: Philadelphia Eagles Running Back Jordan Howard (24) rushes for a first down during the game between the Chicago Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles on November 3, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

With the injury of the forlorn Miles Sanders, the Philadelphia Eagles running-back room has some question marks.

Just as the young runner started to get things going against the Oakland Raiders, this happened.

Fittingly, we need answers from this Eagles’ gaggle of halfbacks, especially after last week’s display in Detroit.

So what’s up next for this blended cocktail of a backfield? Let’s examine and, at the very least, improve your fantasy prospects.

Miles Sanders

This was supposed to be Sanders’ year – a multi-faceted burner boosting the career of a young, inexperienced quarterback. ICYMI that hasn’t happened.

Despite the 5th best rushing attack in the NFL (131.6 YPG), Sanders has accounted for just 29% of the Eagle’s total rushing yards and averaged just nine carries per game. Then came Week 8.

Most wouldn’t blame him for being a little peeved following last Sunday’s ground thrashing of the Detroit Lions but no dice:

I hope that’s true, and I’ll even make the argument that it’s time to move on from Sanders this offseason because he deserves it.

Sanders is exceptionally talented, but the Eagles aren’t right now.

I’m not sure what value he would fetch in return, but this is the kind of back that would look great playing for the Seattle Seahawks or in Los Angeles with the Rams. Just a couple of teams a bit closer than the Birds.

Kenny Gainwell

This kid’s Houdini. Sirianni put him in a box and threw away the key. He was my fantasy lock of the week!

However, please don’t fret, Eagles fans; we haven’t seen the last of him. It’s easy to forget that Gainwell should primarily serve as a receiver in this offense.

Gainwell’s drawn 31 total targets, or about 10% of passes thrown by Jalen Hurts, in minimal playing time. When they do connect, Gainwell’s averaging 8.6 YPR.

Ever play Madden? Think HB Angles and nothing else.

So when we don’t see him on the field until the waning Minshew minutes, it’s not as shocking as you might think. Just wait for the Eagles to start getting behind in games, which they’re known for, and you’ll be seeing much more of the Memphis product.

Boston Scott

I almost forgot about Boston Scott but was quickly reminded as my brother punched a hole in the wall screaming, ‘where the hell is Kenny Gainwell?!’ (we were both appropriately fantasy punished).

Albeit, Scott impressed. He ran hard and honestly looked complete despite playing just 45% of their offensive snaps.

For reference, before Sunday, Scott had just ten total touches in 2021, with eight of them coming against the Raiders after Sanders went down.

In fact, since 2018, Scott has only carried the ball more than ten times in five appearances (37 total games), including his eleven carries this past Sunday.

He even caught the attention of another stout Eagles halfback.

It would be fair to assume that Scott had the most familiarity with the offense, but we’ll likely see Jordan Howard integrated further down the line. Solid transition.

Jordan Howard

In my head, Howard was like 35-years-old, but he’s just 27 as of November 2nd.

Happy birthday, Howard, and, boy, did he celebrate.

Against Detroit, Howard averaged 2.4 yards after contact per rush, according to Pro-Football-Reference.

I understand we have a small sample size, but that would put him in the top ten of all rushers in the NFL, ahead of Derrick Henry and Dalvin Cook. You can laugh, but it’s a good start!

After averaging just 1.71 YPC in 2020 between Miami and Philadelphia and not even making the Eagles active roster this offseason, it’d be easy to write off the former Chicago Bear.

However, if you ignore 2020 as the apocalyptic season from hell, Howard’s 4.41 YPC in 2019 might be a bit more reflective of what Eagles fans can expect moving forward.

He is a bruiser and, quite frankly, a tremendous complement to speedy Scott and flighty Gainwell.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire