Last updated: January 2nd at 7:45pm ET
Team Totals: Seahawks 23.5, Eagles 22
Depleted by injuries to LT Duane Brown (knee), C Justin Britt (ACL), RB Chris Carson (hip), TE Will Dissly (Achilles’), RB Rashaad Penny (ACL), RB C.J. Prosise (arm), and WR Josh Gordon’s suspension, Seattle limps into Lincoln Financial Field having lost three of its last four games with a six-point win over 5-11 Carolina mixed in. The Seahawks beat an opponent by more than one score once all year. Although his pass-catcher corps matches up favorably with Philadelphia’s talent-deficient secondary, Russell Wilson’s pass protection is a major concern on the road against an Eagles defense that ranks top 12 in sack rate (7%) and top five in QB Hit Rate (17.9%), rendering Wilson an entirely boom-bust fantasy bet. Wilson has cleared 300 passing yards just once since Week 3 and was not a fantasy asset in the second half of 2019. Philadelphia’s D/ST is firmly in play at home with high-upside sack potential.
The Seahawks deployed a two-man RBBC in Week 17’s loss to San Francisco but relied heavily on rookie Travis Homer over newly signed Marshawn Lynch, not playing Robert Turbin at all and dedicating 67% of their offensive snaps to the former. Homer is up to 13 targets over Seattle’s last two games, out-touched Lynch 15 to 12 against the Niners, and earned post-Week 17 praise from Pete Carroll for his physical running and plus versatility. At 5-foot-10, 201, Homer blazed 4.48 coming out of Miami (FL) and tallied 2019’s No. 3 SPARQ rating among drafted running backs. Lynch remains the Seahawks’ favorite for goal-line carries, but Homer is likely to continue to out-snap him and contribute far more in the passing game, especially notable this week on the road versus Philadelphia’s run-tough defensive front.
Gordon’s suspension plus injuries to Jaron Brown (knee) and Malik Turner (concussion) should solidify Week 18 mega-sleeper David Moore into three-receiver sets behind D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. It goes without saying that Metcalf and Lockett are set up beautifully versus an Eagles secondary that couldn’t cover anyone before losing top CB Ronald Darby (hip) to I.R. Moore logged Week 17 season highs in snaps (72%) and routes run (39) against the 49ers and has flashed playmaking ability in the past, averaging 17.3 career yards per catch. Albeit entirely unsafe, Moore checks boxes for opportunity, talent, matchup, and price as one of Wild Card weekend’s top pound-for-pound DFS punts. … Luke Willson’s (hamstring, hip) return casts doubt on Jacob Hollister’s floor, although Willson hasn’t played since Week 9 and can’t even be considered a safe bet to make it through Sunday’s game unscathed considering his slew of setbacks. Hollister is an opportunity-based dart throw with six-plus targets in four of Seattle’s last five games but limited production to show for it and some risk of playing-time loss.
Fresh off taking care of Week 17 business in their 34-17 road win at the Giants, the NFC East champion Eagles return to The Linc to face a Seahawks team cane-walking into the Wild Card Round. Carson Wentz’s supporting cast is in similarly poor shape – stud RG Brandon Brooks (shoulder) has joined Philly’s already lengthy list of I.R. casualties, and Miles Sanders (ankle) is banged up now, too – but Wentz’s volume projection and matchup should be in minimal doubt with 40-plus pass attempts in seven straight games facing a Seattle defense that allowed an average of 27.0 points over the past five weeks. Philly’s injury depletion is an obvious concern for Wentz’s box-score ceiling, but he overcame it throughout December and, for better or worse, will continue to have the Eagles’ offense on his back.
Miles Sanders is believed to have avoided a dreaded high ankle sprain in last week’s playoff-clinching defeat of the Giants, but he was unable to return to the game and barely practiced this week. The Eagles were concerned enough to elevate Elijah Holyfield to the 53-man roster on Monday, while Boston Scott and Jordan Howard are all systems go versus Seattle. Particularly without difference-maker RG Brooks and RT Lane Johnson (ankle) far shy of 100% to reduce Philly’s chances of fielding a dangerous between-the-tackles rushing attack, space-type back Scott is my personal pick to lead Philadelphia’s backfield in Week 18 fantasy points with Sanders second and probable touchdown-or-bust dart throw Howard third.
Wentz’s Week 18 target distribution: Dallas Goedert 10; Greg Ward 7; Scott and Josh Perkins 6; Sanders 5; Deontay Burnett 4; Robert Davis 2; J.J. Arcega-Whiteside 0. … Zach Ertz seems highly unlikely to play due to a cracked rib and lacerated kidney. Yet the Eagles held strong to their 12-personnel, two-tight end conviction in Week 17’s must-win game; Goedert played 74-of-74 snaps and led the team in targets, while Perkins emerged as a 78% player in Goedert’s old role, running 33 routes. Assuming Ertz sits, Goedert is Week 18’s No. 1 fantasy tight end play, and Perkins is playable in DFS lineups alongside him. Only the Cardinals allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than Seattle in 2019. … Slot man Ward has clearly earned Wentz’s trust, commanding target counts of 9 > 9 > 5 > 7 over Philly’s last four games. Slot coverage was a revolving-door deficiency in Seattle’s secondary all year. … With Arcega-Whiteside (foot) clearly debilitated by injury, Davis stood in as Philly’s Week 17 No. 3 wideout but was out-targeted by Burnett despite logging a 78% playing-time rate to Burnett’s 20%. Both are ultra-thin dart-throw options in a passing game likely to be dominated by the Eagles’ running backs, tight ends, and Ward.
Score Prediction: Eagles 24, Seahawks 23