Chip Kelly has already turned Eagles into fastest team in NFL
Last October I wrote an article titled "Belichick (head coach of the Patriots) takes page from Chip Kelly's book." That article came in the wake of the Patriots' new extremely fast-paced offense, which finished the season running a league-leading 74.4 plays per game. The NFL average for plays per game in 2012 was 64.2. So far in the preseason, Kelly's Eagles lead the league with 75.0 offensive plays per game, which is actually down from the 82.8 that his Oregon team averaged last year.
There have been questions as to whether or not Kelly's innovative offense will translate to the next level, but Kelly appears to have all the confidence in the world that his uptempo scheme will be effective. He has proved during the preseason that he will not waver from the offensive philosophy that brought him so much success at Oregon.
You can expect the Eagles to remain the leaders in plays per game throughout the regular season, which to the casual fan means a thrilling style of football. To fantasy owners, however, this means fantasy production.
The Patriots, with their 74.4 plays per game in 2012, ranked fourth in the league in passes attempted and second in the league in rushing attempts. The Eagles will be a strong bet to lead the league in rushing attempts, while they are also likely to finish among the top five or ten in passes attempted.
The main beneficiary from this offensive scheme looks to be running back LeSean McCoy, who has loads of talent and is likely to receive a huge workload under Kelly. In 2012, Kelly's Oregon team averaged an absurd 315.2 rushing yards per game and 3.7 rushing touchdowns per game. Those numbers will obviously go down in the NFL, but it's clear that Kelly knows how to move the ball on the ground. His top two running backs also combined for 65 catches.
The other big beneficiary under Kelly will be quarterback Michael Vick, whose skill set fits perfectly with what Kelly likes to do. Kelly's quarterback at Oregon last year - Marcus Mariota - ran for 752 yards and five touchdowns, and we all know Vick has a ton of ability in the running game. In addition, Mariota completed a high percentage of his passes (68.5%) with a stellar TD:INT ratio (32:6). Vick has thrown for 456 yards and two touchdowns in about four quarters of preseason action. His fantasy ceiling is sky high in Kelly's offense.
Finally, we have wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who has been disappointing since his two straight Pro Bowl years in 2009-10. I see a bounce back campaign on the horizon for Jackson, who Kelly could utilize similarly to how he used De'Anthony Thomas at Oregon. Thomas was primarily a running back in 2012, but he is about the same size as Jackson and is similar in the sense of open field ability - they are both fast as lightning and can cut on a dime. I can see Kelly moving Jackson all over the field, a la Thomas, and giving him lots of chances to make plays after the catch in open space.
There's no telling how well this team will do in the win column, but while McCoy, Vick, and Jackson are all healthy, the Eagles will be a blast to watch. Perhaps the most exciting result of Kelly's presence, however, will be the fantasy output of Eagles players.