Through the first two days of the NFL legal tampering period, one of the themes has been the Eagles losing starters to other teams. But Philadelphia got into the action on Tuesday, reportedly agreeing to a one-year deal with former Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny. Our analysts break down the move and take a look at the fantasy impact.
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Eagles Sign Rashaad Penny
This is what good organizations do. Sign extremely talented players and watch them crush expectations. I know this will be seen as hyperbole, but when healthy Rashaad Penny has arguably been the most efficient running back in the NFL over the last few seasons. Since 2006, Rashaad Penny is the only running back to eclipse 4.50 yards after contact per attempt in a single season (2021 per PFF). Penny has led the NFL in yards after contact per attempt in each of the last two seasons with insane 4.52 and 4.23 marks. Over that span he’s also led the NFL in breakaway run rate in back-to-back seasons. Penny is insanely talented. He just needs health to comply which I know is a big if. Penny is a home run swing worth taking in redraft and best ball. In the last seven games Penny has played at least 50% of the snaps he’s finished as a top ten running back in fantasy an astounding six times.
Penny is getting airdropped into a fantastic situation to show off his talent. With only Kenneth Gainwell, Trey Sermon, and Kennedy Brooks on the roster, Penny (assuming they don’t add another name soon) should be the clear front-runner for early down work in Philly. Last year the Eagles were tenth in neutral rushing rate and fourth in red zone scoring attempts per game as their backs operated behind an offensive line that was sixth in adjusted line yards and second in second-level yards (per Football Outsiders). Penny is a dark horse RB1 in 2023.
– Derek Brown
PENNY is a LEGIT BALLER https://t.co/yPb8eA3PEH
— Derek Brown (@DBro_FFB) March 14, 2023
Rashaad Penny inked a one-year deal with the Eagles, putting him in a position to be the team’s early-down lead back in full Miles Sanders fashion. In his five games played before his injury in 2022, Penny averaged over six yards per carry. His only game where he failed to surpass 54 yards on the ground was against the eventual number one run defensive unit: the San Francisco 49ers. The on-field production and talent have never been in question with Penny, it’s just been the availability due to health that has been the big issue.
I can’t imagine that the Eagles gave him absurd money based on his injury track record, but he will surely be a startable fantasy asset in the games that he does play before he eventually gets hurt. That will make a fantasy value – even if he only plays a handful of games – as the RB51 in early best ball ADP.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts‘ presence at the goal line will obviously hinder Penny’s TD potential to some extent, but make no mistake that Penny’s explosive game means he can score beyond just the 5-yard line. Of his 14 career touchdowns, 11 have come on 10-yard-plus plays. Seven (50%) have been 30-plus plays from scrimmage.
His landing in Philly also likely marks the end of Sanders as an Eagle, considering the latter was likely looking for more compensation after a career year.
I think Penny’s addition also makes Kenneth Gainwell a better buy-low target. Gainwell saw his role increase dramatically down the stretch during the Eagles’ Super Bowl run, and is trusted in the passing game. It’s a major “if” Penny can stay healthy. And “if” he doesn’t (most likely outcome) Gainwell will be the biggest benefactor. Gainwell is RB37 in early best ball drafts.
– Andrew Erickson
As RB landing spots go, it doesn’t get much better than Philadelphia. The Eagles were the fourth run-heaviest team in the league last season, running the ball on 49.7% of their offensive snaps. Eagles running backs averaged 21.6 carries per game in 2022. The Eagles earned the third-best run-blocking grade from PFF last year and ranked sixth in Football Outsiders’ run-blocking metric. With one of the best rosters in the league, Philadelphia will have a lot of favorable, run-heavy game scripts. Can the oft-injured Rashaad Penny stay healthy? That’s unknowable. But what we do know is that he’s been effective when healthy, averaging 6.2 yards per carry over the last two seasons. Penny won’t have the Philadelphia backfield to himself, but a committee role is probably a good thing for a player who’s had trouble staying healthy. An early-down role in a high-powered offense should still be enough to make Penny a fantasy RB3 in 2023 and a compelling option in the middle rounds of drafts.
– Pat Fitzmaurice
Check out these other breakdowns of major moves:
- Jakobi Meyers to Raiders: Fantasy Football Impact
- Jimmy Garoppolo to Raiders: Fantasy Football Impact
- Darren Waller Traded to Giants: Fantasy Football Impact
- Allen Lazard to Jets: Fantasy Football Impact
- David Montgomery to Lions: Fantasy Football Impact
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