We head back to the NFC with the next installment of this series examining the fantasy impact of the 2013 free agent signings on the defensive side of the ball. The hard-hitting NFC East is up next and there are plenty of big names that have joined the division that will make some fantasy waves next season and beyond.
This seems as good a time as any to clarify a couple of things I mistakenly took as self-evident when breaking down the previous three divisions. These articles are set up to be an early examination of only the newly signed players, how they may be utilized on their respective NFL teams and what the fantasy impact may be from an IDP perspective.
I’ve purposely avoided addressing players that have resigned with their current teams, as well as to a great extent, how the new signings may affect the fantasy value of those players and the other IDP options already on rosters.
All of that will be addressed after the NFL Draft when OTAs and minicamps get underway and roles become more defined. March and April NFL depth charts are about as reliable as a politicians campaign promise.
Fret not my fellow IDP enthusiasts, as we steamroll towards the 2013 season myself and the entire Fantasy Sharks’ IDP crew will continue to break things down from every conceivable angle. You love IDP? We have your back. With that in mind let’s get back to it…
PHILADELPHIA: The Eagles came out of the gate slowly with their first couple of free agent defensive signings by bringing on board former Rams CB, Bradley Fletcher, Panthers LB Jason Phillips and 49er NT Isaac Sopoaga.
All three are serviceable defenders that look to provide some depth for the Eagles from an NFL standpoint but are not fantasy options. Of the three Sopoaga may hold minimal value in leagues that require the DT position but beyond that there is nothing to get excited about with these signings.
That all changed when the Eagles signed former Patriot Patrick Chung to take over the SS spot for 2013. Chung flies around the field, has a nose for the football and is capable of finishing among the leaders in fantasy scoring at the DB position.
For his career, Chung averages just fewer than five tackles per game, has added seven interceptions with three sacks and one defensive TD in 50 regular season games. It’s the 50 regular season games that are worrisome as Chung has missed 14 games over the past three seasons and carries above average injury risk.
He will look for a fresh start playing for a head coach he is familiar with from both of their days at Oregon and he immediately steps in as the starting SS in an every down role. As long as he is healthy entering the season Chung is a top ten-fantasy DB draft selection for 2013.
Philadelphia was not finished addressing the secondary as they have brought former Giants FS Kenny Phillips and Baltimore CB Cary Williams on board. Both could step in as immediate starters at their respective positions and offer very intriguing fantasy potential.
Phillips has had a career arc similar to that of Patrick Chung as early promise has been overshadowed by time missed due to injuries. After a solid rookie campaign that saw him rack up 55 solo tackles with an interception back in 2008 Phillips had the look of an ascending talent.
Unfortunately, he has battled knee issues ever since and struggled to regain the form he showed at the University of Miami as well as in his rookie season. Much like Chung, Phillip’s fantasy value is tied to his ability to stay on the field and if he can do so he offers solid DB4 fantasy value with low-end DB3 upside in a best-case scenario.
Cary Williams posted four interceptions, forced one fumble and scored a defensive TD while averaging 76 total tackles over the pas two seasons at CB for the Ravens. He will replace the departed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the Eagles secondary for 2013 and be a productive fantasy DB option.
His tendency to give up big plays and a high percentage of passes completed to the receiver he covers makes him an inviting target for opposing offenses. With quarterbacks Eli Manning, Tony Romo and eventually Robert Griffin III getting two cracks a year at Williams he will amass very nice fantasy numbers. Consider Cary Williams as a solid DB3 for fantasy purposes in 2013 as a starting CB for the Eagles.
The Eagles see the newly signed OLB Connor Barwin as an ideal fit for the 3-4 defense they are transitioning to in 2013. Eagles’ coaches and fans are envisioning the 2011 version of Barwin that posted 11 1/2 sacks and racked up 47 combined tackles.
Barwin’s sack total dipped to three last season but the Eagles feel that is a result of how he was being used by the Texans.
His fantasy value lies right around LB5 in deeper leagues and as a matchup friendly option against teams that are struggling to protect the quarterback consistently.
Barwin will help the Philadelphia defense next season more so than fantasy owners.
Philly has also added monstrous DE Clifton Geathers (6’7” and 320-pounds) who has bounced around the league since being selected in the 2010 draft and will battle to remain on the roster and offers no fantasy relevance.