Eagles vs. Packers Fantasy Advice: Start Nick Foles; Bench James Jones

Al Bello

In their first game this season sans Aaron Rodgers, the Packers will need (and should get) a big game from Eddie Lacy against the Philadelphia Eagles to make up for their suddenly dysfunctional passing game.

Before I break down this week's Green Bay Packers/Philadelphia Eagles game, I thought I would share a nugget of knowledge that--until recently--I used to believe. I used to think that talented wideouts would always trump poor quarterback play. Whether it was Jon Kitna floating passes to Calvin Johnson or Alex Smith pop-gunning it to Michael Crabtree, I set my fantasy lineups based on the talent outweighing the method.

But then something funny happened.

Sure, Randy Moss was a train wreck in Oakland with Andrew Walter and other never-wases trying to get the football to him, but surely that was an outlier, right? I always treated it as such until maybe the most quarterback-proof receiver of all time set on my bench down the stretch in every single league I owned him in last year: Larry Fitzgerald. Starting about Week 15 last year, I no longer believed any receiver was quarterback or matchup-proof.

And this leads me into my analysis of Jordy Nelson this week. He's talented enough to have an eight-catch, 120-yard, two-touchdown game. But with Seneca Wallace throwing him the ball, I am dialing down my expectations. So should you. If Fitzgerald can be made meaningless, so can Jordy Nelson.

And with that, let's get on with it:

QUARTERBACKS

Who would have thought that when analysts looked at this game at the start of the season, they were excited about a great quarterback matchup featuring Michael Vick squaring off against Aaron Rodgers? Now, we get the underrated Nick Foles coming off a seven-touchdown performance taking on the barely NFL roster-worthy Seneca Wallace. Oy.

Foles is crushing it right now, and he should keep it going this week. No way he throws seven touchdowns again, but he is a very good start in almost every league, especially if you're missing Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers this week. If Wallace wasn't facing a bad defense in Philly, this game could have actually gotten really ugly for Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers can't come back soon enough, and to hear more about when one of the top orthopedic surgeons in the country thinks he will be back, you can listen to my interview with Dr. David Geier here.

Seneca Wallace: 220 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions, 15 yards rushing, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

Nick Foles: 295 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 10 yards rushing, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start in most 12-team and all 14-team leagues

RUNNING BACKS

How refreshing is it for Packers fans to have a monster running back in Eddie Lacy? The guy is getting very good blocking, and he's battering through would-be tacklers. Throw in how healthy he has remained all season, and he's been a fantasy stalwart for owners. That won't change this week as he will get all he can handle. Running backs coach Alex Van Pelt even went as far to say this week that he thinks Lacy can handle 30 carries--a bit of foreshadowing, perhaps? On the other side of the ball LeSean McCoy is one of the best fantasy players out there, and he is talented enough to have a very productive day against a pretty good Packers defense.

Eddie Lacy: 110 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, 3 catches, 20 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start in all leagues

James Starks: 45 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 catch, 5 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

LeSean McCoy: 90 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns, 5 catches, 45 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Bryce Brown: 25 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 catch, 10 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

WIDE RECEIVERS

For those of you who drafted Jordy Nelson and James Jones and/or picked up Jarrett Boykin on waivers, my sympathies, because I don't see them getting back on track this week. Because of the timing that the Packers offense requires, they may not get back in sync with Rodgers for the rest of the fantasy season, either. While I would not recommend cutting Nelson or Jones, I don't have a problem letting go of Boykin. DeSean Jackson has been flat-out awesome this year, and all it takes for him to have a good day in this offense is sneaking behind the secondary just once. And I think he does that at least once this week. I'm not a Riley Cooper believer, and think the flukes stoop this week.

Jordy Nelson: 5 catches, 65 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start in most 10-team leagues and all 12-team leagues

James Jones: 3 catches, 45 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in most leagues

Jarrett Boykin: 3 catches, 40 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

DeSean Jackson: 7 catches, 100 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Riley Cooper: 4 catches, 50 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in most leagues

Jason Avant: 3 catches, 35 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

TIGHT ENDS

I'm still waiting for the breakout of Brandon Bostick, but I know I'm not going to see it with Wallace throwing to him. Andrew Quarless has been surprisingly solid for Green Bay when you take his above average blocking into account. I'm still not playing him, but it's good to see him step up the way he has in the wake of Jermichael Finley's injury. Starting an Eagles tight end is like playing "Philly Roulette" , and I am definitely staying away, even though one of them might have a good day.

Andrew Quarless: 4 catches, 35 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: bench in most leagues

Brandon Bostick: 1 catch, 15 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

Zach Ertz: 4 catches, 45 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start only as a flex in TE-premium leagues like the FFPC

Brent Celek: 2 catches, 25 yards, 0 touchdowns

KICKERS

Mason Crosby may actually be called upon more often than not this week if the Packers offense sputters. I seem to be alone in projecting a lot of field goals for Alex Henery this week. Give him a try.

Crosby: 1 field goal, 3 extra points
Verdict: Start him in most leagues based on upside

Henery, 3 field goals, 2 extra points
Verdict: Start in all leagues

DEFENSES

If you ever were looking for an excuse to play the Eagles defense, you will not find a better opportunity than this week. I don't believe that Wallace can be turned into a competent quarterback in one week. As far as Green Bay goes, they'll probably need a couple turnovers to squeeze this game out. And I think they will.

Packers: 3 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception, 420 yards allowed, 23 points allowed
Start in most 10- and 12-team leagues

Eagles: 4 sacks, 0 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions, 390 yards allowed, 24 points allowed
Verdict: Start in most 10- and 12-team leagues

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