Why Jalen Hurts Could Emerge As Best Fantasy QB of 2021
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Eagles QB Jalen Hurts
The height of NFL free agency is behind us. With signings and trades shifting the league as a result, our analysts are here to break down which players’ fantasy football outlooks benefited the most from movement.
Find out why two of our analysts like Jalen Hurts’ outlook after the Eagles traded Carson Wentz.
Hurts’ stock went way up this offseason after the Eagles traded away Carson Wentz to the Colts.
All signs point to the Eagles giving Hurts the 2021 season to prove himself. It also seems likely that the Eagles will use their sixth overall pick to land a wide receiver such as DeVonta Smith or Ja’Marr Chase, or a generational talent in tight end Kyle Pitts.
Hurts produced overall fantasy QB3 numbers in his three starts last season. His rushing upside alone will make him a QB1 heading into 2021 drafts.
By flipping their maligned $128 million franchise passer to the Colts and then bringing in a 36-year-old who couldn’t even beat out Sam Darnold last season, the Eagles have paved the way for Hurts to be their starter — and potential fantasy league winner.
In the three games Hurts started and finished last year, he averaged 282.3 yards and 1.67 touchdowns passing while adding another 79.3 yards and 0.33 touchdowns with his wheels.
Here are how his numbers as a starter would look when extrapolated over a 16-game season as well as where they would have ranked among QBs in 2020:
- 4,517 passing yards (sixth)
- 26.7 passing TDs (12th)
- 1,269 rushing yards (first)
- 5.3 rushing TDs (seventh)
Not too shabby.
Though Hurts struggled as a passer in his inaugural campaign, earning a Pro Football Focus passing grade of just 57.5 — 37th of 41 quarterbacks with at least 150 dropbacks — there’s reason for optimism.
For one, Hurts’ Year 1 passing proficiency profiles similarly to the rookie years of Lamar Jackson (59.3, 32nd of 39) and Josh Allen (58.0, 33rd of 39). Both turned into top-tier fantasy options in Year 2, with Jackson finishing as the overall QB1 and winning MVP while Allen clocked in at QB7.
Secondly, Hurts’ supporting cast and scheme cannot possibly be any worse than last season, when Doug Pederson employed a stale scheme with a bunch of stale receivers. Regardless of the degree of truth to the reports that team owner Jeffery Lurie instructed his front office to prioritize building around Hurts, the bottom line is that the Eagles have 11 draft picks, including four in the top 84. With Alshon Jeffery already gone and Zach Ertz’s foot out the door, the Eagles should be able to field a much more explosive group of skill players around Hurts.
Yes, his fantasy floor is still suffering in-game benchings for Joe Flacco, but Hurts’ fantasy ceiling is the overall QB1 — worth it for a guy who is going outside the top-12 based on early Average Draft Position (ADP) data and will be hard-pressed to crack the top 10.