Eagles Running Back Miles Sanders

Eagles running back Miles Sanders broke out in 2019, leading the franchise in rushing yards (818) and ranking third in receiving yards (509). This season, the former second-round pick figures to be a centerpiece in Philadelphia’s attack from day one with no Jordan Howard in the picture and an increased trust in him from the coaching staff.

Sanders has gone off the board 13th among running back in fantasy drafts since Super Bowl 54 (yes, there are people who draft immediately after the conclusion of the NFL season). However, since the beginning of July, he’s climbed somewhat significantly to 9th. Here are the top-12 running backs during July:

  1. Christian McCaffrey, ADP: 1.04
  2. Saquon Barkley: 2.09
  3. Ezekiel Elliott: 3.20
  4. Alvin Kamara: 4.66
  5. Dalvin Cook: 6.72
  6. Derrick Henry: 8.76
  7. Joe Mixon: 10.02
  8. Kenyan Drake: 14.12
  9. Miles Sanders: 14.78
  10. Nick Chubb: 15.20
  11. Aaron Jones: 17.51
  12. Josh Jacobs: 18.82

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Trusting Sanders in the Eagles Passing Game

The Eagles are thin at the wide receiver position, at least with regard to proven options. Alshon Jeffrey returns after offseason trade speculation. Nelson Agholor left in free agency and DeSean Jackson, who was only able to suit up for three games last season, is in danger of being cut.

It’s likely the team relies on passes to members of its backfield as it did last season. Sanders ranked 11th in the league in 2019 with 418 yards after the catch. He ranked 12th in yards per route ran and 9th in receiving yards per reception.

Despite Sanders’ success in 2019, there are reasons to believe he could struggle in 2020. Sanders and the rest of the Eagles’ backfield will not face an easy schedule this season. According to Pro Football Focus’ SoS metric, Philadelphia has the second-worst schedule for opposing running backs in 2020.

The Eagles’ offensive line isn’t as sturdy as its reputation would allow most to believe. PFF ranked it 10th entering the 2020 campaign, though that was before a season-ending injury to top guard Brandon Brooks. Jason Peters will re-join the team to fill Brooks’ shoes and while the 38-year-old should have enough left in his tank to be at least an average replacement to Brooks, the veteran adds more risk to a unit that was already ushering in an unproven option at left tackle (second-year LT Andre Dillard).

Still, expect Sanders to be a major focal point in a good offense on a team that is expected to compete for the division (Philadelphia’s Win Total is currently 9.5 on Fan Duel). Just don’t be surprised if much of Sanders’ production comes from the passing game yet again.

Read More: Examining the Washington Football Team’s Curious RB Position