First, it was DeSean Jackson in 2013. Then Jeremy Maclin had his career year in 2014. The Eagles’ number one receiver in 2015? Jordan Matthews. Turning offensive silver/bronze into gold at the wide receiver position for two straight years, its kind of hard to doubt the effectiveness of Chip Kelly’s effect on his number one pass-catcher. Gone is Jeremy Maclin, opening up a huge opportunity for Mr. Matthews. Kelly seemed confident enough to let Maclin go, can Matthews step up and be their number one guy? Let’s find out.

Matthews vs Maclin vs Jackson

We tend to think of Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson as superior athletes whose potentials were finally realized by Chip Kelly’s scheming. There were some athletic concerns with Matthews coming out of college, but are they well-founded? (Everything but height and weight are in percentiles, the higher the better) Let’s find out courtesy of PlayerProfiler.com:

 HeightWeight40HASSBurstAgilityCatch RadiusCollege Dom.Breakout AgeSPARQ
Matthews6'3"21273rd88th44th56th81st92nd99th92nd
Maclin6'0"19868th57th44th34th39th43rd80th45th
Jackson5'10"17597th45th35th67th36th52nd92nd54th

Even I was surprised by these results. Not only is Matthews bigger but besides for Jackson’s 40 time he is about as good of an athlete as Maclin and Jackson, if not better. His HASS (height-adjusted speed score) blows the other two out of the water, as does his catch radius- a huge bonus as a slot mismatch. Arguably just as importantly, he has incredible college production. He destroys Maclin and Jackson in breakout age and college dominator rating, showing he was the focal point of his Vanderbilt passing game early and often. It is also interesting to note he is in the 92nd percentile of SPARQ (overall athleticism score) while Jackson and Maclin aren’t either above the 54th.

Is He Worth His ADP?

Right now, Matthews’ ADP has been on the rise. According to FantasyFootballCalculator, his ADP has been steadily rising and is now at 3.08 as WR16. This is likely because Chip Kelly’s number one wideout position has been proven to be a fantasy difference-maker for two years in a row. But is he worth it as early as WR16?

 TargetsCatchesYardsTDsPPR WR Finish
2013 Jackson126821332912th
2014 Maclin144861329109th

The past two seasons, Chip Kelly has produced a pair of top-12 wideouts. Considering his (mostly) superior athletic ability and dominant college production, he probably isn’t a reach. Nick Foles is gone, but it’s tough to argue that Sam Bradford is a downgrade- at worst, he’s a sidestep. And just in case you’re fearful of Mark Sanchez taking over in case of a Bradford injury, take a look at his splits with Sanchez in the lineup.

 Tgts/GmRec/GmYds/GmTDs
With Sanchez6.44.4700.68
Without Sanchez6.54390.38

Not bad for a rookie wideout with Mark Sanchez at QB. For fantasy puroposes, he’s a great 2nd wideout if you start out RB/WR or WR/RB. He’ll likely push for top-12 status if you want to convince yourself to go RB/RB and take him as your number one WR. And if you go Zero RB and get him as your 3rd receiver, look out. Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger in the middle of the third round.