- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Philadelphia Eagles' Jeremy Maclin was the No. 27 scoring wide receiver in fantasy football last year, according to ESPN.com standard scoring. Not bad. Makes him a starter in any league that requires you to start more than two wide receivers. Useful guy with talent and upside heading into a contract year. Sounds interesting, right?
Well, not to Field Yates, who ranks Maclin at the very top of his list of players whose fantasy value could suffer as a result of a scheme change on offense. Field reasons that new Eagles coach Chip Kelly founded his University of Oregon offense on an up-tempo run game:
The Eagles have two very talented running backs and will likely do some of the same, which will invariably impact the passing game. Maclin had a quietly productive 2012 (including a strong finish), but expect this offense to feature the running game first. That could be a problem for Maclin, who isn't a strong blocker. If he gets in the doghouse early, DeSean Jackson could see more passes.
As could Arrelious Benn, or Jason Avant, or Damaris Johnson, or any of the myriad tight ends that dot the Eagles' current roster. The point is that there will be many passing-game options for this team that likely will want to run the ball a lot, and the receivers who do the best job making the run game go are the ones most likely to be on the field. There aren't any fantasy leagues of which I'm aware that award points to receivers for blocking in the run game, but if that's the way onto the field in Philadelphia this year, then that's the only path to receptions.
This is a big year for Maclin, as he's well aware. He's got to keep himself healthy and find a way to produce big numbers if he wants a big free-agent contract next offseason. It's entirely possible that he'll be asked to do things he wasn't asked to do in Andy Reid's offense. If he wants a chance to put up those numbers, he'd be wise to pay attention to exactly what those things are and how Kelly wants them done.