Carson Wentz Traded: Fantasy Football Implication for Eagles & Colts Players, Including Jalen Hurts
Jeff Gross/Getty Images. Pictured: Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz is officially no longer the franchise quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. What one year ago would have been unthinkable is now actual.
What does that mean for fantasy football players?
Carson Wentz Fantasy Football Impact
MF: With new head coach Frank Reich, I expect Wentz to be markedly better than he was last year. He has experience with Reich, who was Wentz’s offensive coordinator for the first two years of his career, and Reich has generally been able to get the most out of his quarterbacks.
I’m not expecting a QB1 season out of Wentz — because the Colts seem likely to rely on playmaking second-year running back Jonathan Taylor — but a return to QB2 mediocrity is possible.
SK: Wentz goes from a very uncertain situation in Philly (he was benched for Jalen Hurts late in the year) to the clear-cut starter in Indy. He played behind an offensive line that was decimated by injuries last season and now gets to play behind an elite offensive line for the Colts.
Wentz tends to stay in the pocket — his Time to Throw rate of 2.91 seconds ranked 6th-highest among qualified QBs in 2020 — so an improved offensive line should be a huge boost for him. I have him ranked as my QB14 after the trade.
Jonathan Taylor Fantasy Football Impact
MF: The addition of Wentz to the Colts doesn’t change my perspective on Taylor at all. He’s a Round 1 back in fantasy and almost certain to be the focal point of the offense.
Colts Wide Receivers Fantasy Football Impact
MF: T.Y. Hilton is a free agent, and Indianapolis does not seem to be in a hurry to sign him, so the most notable Colts receivers right now are Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell. Without Hilton, the emerging Pittman and promising Campbell should dominate targets for the Colts, and they are likely to be more productive with Wentz at quarterback than Jacoby Brissett. Both Pittman and Campbell warrant modest upgrades.
SK: The Colts skill players all see a boost from the trade, mostly due to the certainty they have at QB now. There was a chance the Colts were going to roll with Jacoby Brissett, Jacob Eason, Andy Dalton, or even a Brian Hoyer-type to start Week 1. Those would have been “worst-case scenario” outcomes for Colts skill players. Wentz certainly falls into the “best-case scenario” outcome for them.
It remains to be seen if T.Y. Hilton will re-sign with Indy. However, the Colts do have a solid duo in Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. Campbell looked on his way to a breakout season in 2020 before sustaining a season-ending knee injury in Week 2. Assuming he will be 100% healthy heading into this season, he has WR2/3 potential with Wentz under center.
Jalen Hurts Fantasy Football Impact
MF: In anticipation of Wentz’s departure, I already had Hurts at No. 7 among all fantasy quarterbacks in our way-too-early 2021 rankings. I’m not backing off from that strong stance now.
Hurts’ established established rushing ability endows him with a nearly unrivaled high floor, and the better-than-expected passing functionality he displayed last year suggests that he also has a high ceiling.
When his average draft position is taken into account, Hurts might be the quarterback I want most in 2021 fantasy leagues.
SK: Jalen Hurts is arguably the biggest fantasy news of the trade. It sets him up to potentially be the Eagles starting QB for 2021. A lot depends on what the Eagles do next. They may take a QB in the first round or try to land one of the top wide receivers. Either decision would have a serious impact on Hurts’ value.
If he ends up being the Eagles’ Week 1 starter, he will offer low-end QB1 value, thanks in large part to his rushing ability. He put up QB3 numbers in his three starts last season.
Miles Sanders Fantasy Football Impact
MF: With or without Wentz, Sanders is likely to be a high-end RB2. Given Hurts’ propensity to run, Sanders might miss out on some dump-offs that would have come his way from Wentz, but the offense as a whole might be more functional, which could result in more carries and goal-line opportunities.
So, I think the Wentz’s departure probably has a neutral impact on Sanders.
SK: Sanders saw a significant boost with Hurts in the lineup last season, posting RB6 numbers over Hurts’ three starts. Defenses had to focus on containing Hurts and his rushing ability, allowing Sanders to see extra running lanes.
I would expect that to continue in 2021. Doug Pederson was always hesitant to have a true workhorse back in his offense. With him out of the picture as well, I would be OK drafting Sanders on the RB1/2 fringe.
Eagles Pass Catchers Fantasy Football Impact
MF: It’s much harder to know what we should expect from the Eagles wide receivers and tight ends. They have a new offensive coordinator in Shane Steichen, who is a relative unknown, and it’s possible that Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Zach Ertz won’t be with the team in the fall.
So, I don’t think the Wentz departure changes much for them in terms of fantasy valuation: They’re all relatively uninspiring, with the possible exception of first-rounder Jalen Reagor — but even he strikes me as little more than a speculative investment.