Greg Ward: Last Man Standing in Philadelphia? (2020 Fantasy Football)
How many of the Eagles’ pass-catchers are going to deal with injuries? Alshon Jeffery hasn’t played a game yet due to his foot injury, Dallas Goedert will “miss some time” with a lower-body injury, DeSean Jackson suffered a minor hamstring injury, and Jalen Reagor just had thumb surgery.
The injuries leave Greg Ward as one of the best options in this offense, and he’s a great volume-based waiver add this week.
Ward played quarterback in college, but he converted to wide receiver to play in the NFL — and the AAF. He was a member of the Eagles’ practice squad during their Super Bowl run, but he didn’t make his first appearance in an NFL game until last season.
At five-foot-eleven and 186 pounds, Ward is a good slot receiver, and he plays just under half of his snaps as one. That said, it’s not like plays poorly on the perimeter, as he scored the Eagles’ only receiving touchdown last week when spread out wide.
📺: CBS pic.twitter.com/HiBrz1vxGe
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 27, 2020
Last week’s touchdown aside, Ward doesn’t usually get those deeper looks from Carson Wentz. His average depth of target (aDOT) was just 5.1 after Week 2, so he needs quite a few targets (or a touchdown) to post fantasy-relevant numbers.
State of the Offense
With all these injuries in Philadelphia, Ward should get enough look to stay relevant. Goedert’s injury leaves just Zach Ertz and Miles Sanders as competitors for Wentz’s short-range targets, and as Ward showed on Sunday, he can also get open for deeper looks.
Ward led the Eagles in targets (11) last week, which was more than what Ertz (10) and Sanders (8) got. Those two were the only other Philly players to receive more than four targets from Wentz, so things are looking up for Ward. He should keep posting similar numbers even if DeSean Jackson can play next Sunday against the 49ers.
That said, Alshon Jeffery’s impending return is a cap on Ward’s upside. Head coach Doug Pederson said that Jeffery was ready to see an increased workload in practice after the wideout logged limited sessions last week.
Alshon Jeffery back at practice. pic.twitter.com/P13PFQTsgu
— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) September 24, 2020
Pederson’s statement doesn’t mean that Jeffery will play in Week 4, but it’s a sign that there may soon be fewer targets to go around in Philadelphia. Jeffery was averaging 7.9 targets per game before he went down in Week 14 last year with a Lisfranc fracture.
After an eight-catch, 72-yard, one-score game in Week 3, Ward should be a hot commodity on the waiver wire this week. He’s worth a pickup for a spot start or two until Jeffery returns, but he doesn’t have much long-term upside.
The Eagles take on the 49ers next week, and their banged-up secondary allowed the similarly-built Golden Tate to catch just five of his seven targets for 36 yards. It’s not the most attractive matchup, but Ward is one of two healthy veteran receiving options in this offense, so he has a better floor than some of your alternatives (looking at you, Andy Isabella).
The other takeaway here is that if Jeffery is still on waivers in your league, he’s a must-stash. He has good chemistry with Wentz, and as long as he’s fully recovered from his foot injury, he should be able to return low-end WR2 numbers in this offense.
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