The Philadelphia Eagles enter this season with a loaded running back room led by starter Miles Sanders. The former second round pick improved from his rookie year in 2019 on the ground with 867 yards and 6 touchdowns. However, Sanders was not used often in the pass game, recording 28 receptions (52 targets) for 197 yards.
Along with Sanders, the Eagles have Boston Sanders, Jordan Howard, Kerryon Johnson, and rookie Kenneth Gainwell. Between the five running backs, the Eagles will likely keep four on the 53-man roster for the 2021 season. However, one thing we know for sure is that Sanders is the team’s starting running back.
Latest camp news
Week 2 preseason recap: The rookie Gainwell once again showed his skills in both the run and passing game in their 35-0 blowout loss to the New England Patriots on Thursday. He had five carries for 21 yards and three receptions for 21 yards in the loss.
Sanders and Scott were used sparingly, combining for five carries and 23 yards.
Week 1 preseason recap: Gainwell led all Eagle running backs with 19 snaps in their 24-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last Thursday, making the most of them with two carries for 14 rushing yards and two receptions for 16 receiving yards. Scott had a single carry while Sanders sat out.
8/16/21: In their joint practice with the Patriots, Sanders had a mixed day in the passing game.
Miles Sanders with another drop, this time while wide open in the flat. That’s at least 4 total in camp. #Eagles— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 16, 2021
In his latest training camp observations, Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia wrote on Tuesday that he’s been impressed by Sanders in the running game, but is still worried about him in the passing game. Zangaro also noted Gainwell is “flashing” at camp and highlighted how he’s catching the ball out of the backfield.
8/10/21: Even though Sanders has struggled in training camp with his catching, we saw what he was able to do as a rookie. Sanders had 50 receptions (63 targets) for 509 yards and 3 touchdowns. He won't have 50 receptions this season as Scott and Gainwell will play a significant roles in the passing game. However, that won’t hold Sanders back from the RB1 job this season. It just means we will see a running back by committee with multiple backs getting touches.
Next preseason game: at New York Jets
The Eagles will close the preseason this Friday, August 27 at 7:30 p.m. when hitting the road against the Jets. No decision has been made over how many snaps each back will receive but I’d imagine Sanders will get a steady dose of carries as we get closer to the regular season.
Fantasy football verdict
Heading into Week 3 preseason: Sanders is still entering the season as the Eagles’ top running back and a solid RB2/flex option. What’s becoming more clear is Gainwell ripping the backup spot from Scott as his pass catching abilities makes him a solid middle-late round addition to your lineup.
Heading into Week 2 preseason: As the Eagles’ top running back on the depth chart, Sanders enters the season as a solid RB2/Flex option for anyone drafting in year-long leagues. His inconsistencies as a pass catcher keeps him from being a primary RB1 option, which opens the door for an up-and-comer like Gainwell to shine in third-down situations. He’s someone to take a flyer on in later rounds should he start producing for the Philly offense.