In the sports world, Carson Wentz’s name is synonymous with injuries. When healthy, analysts deem the first-round quarterback as a top-five quarterback within the NFL. Yet, many knock Wentz for failing to stay on the field. However, I feel that injury-concerns with Wentz are a bit overstated. In his 4-year career, Wentz has missed only eight regular-season games and has played two full seasons. There are plenty of guys with more suspect injury histories that don’t get the attention that Wentz commands.
The Eagles only made the injury label even worse by investing a second-round pick in quarterback Jalen Hurts in the 2020 draft. While Hurts is by no means starter ready, media outlets will milk headlines like “Carson Wentz can’t stay healthy”, “Jalen Hurts is the replacement”, or the “Eagles don’t trust Carson Wentz”. Fantasy owners should take these narratives into account as it could have an effect on his production and fantasy value in 2020. However, besides the injury concerns and media narratives, a healthy Carson Wentz is a great fantasy option at his ADP due to the Eagles offensive changes.
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The year 2019 was a great season for Wentz considering the injuries to the receiving core. Wentz played a complete season, finishing with 4039 passing yards for 27 passing touchdowns. The rushing game was a disappointment, 63 yards and 1 touchdown, but a given with Wentz’s desire to not expose himself to injury. Fantasy wise, the quarterback finished with 322 fantasy points and 20.125 points per game.
What’s impressive and must be noted about this season is the injuries to the wide receiver core. Deep-threat DeSean Jackson missed the entire season after playing only 1 full season. Alshon Jeffrey missed nearly the entire season with Lisfranc injury. Nelson Agholor missed a considerable amount of games with a knee injury. JJ Arcega-Whiteside was banged up throughout his rookie season. Because of these injuries, the Eagles finished with zero wide receivers above 500 receiving yards. In light of their wide receiver issues, Wentz’s should be praised for the stats he was able to put up given all of this adversity.
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I have a higher projection for Wentz given the revamped Eagles receiving core, familiarity with the offensive scheme, and strong offensive line. The Eagles dominated in their Super Bowl run due to an elite speed threat at receiver, a tall red zone threat, and possession tight ends. In 2020, the Eagles have all these pieces. These pieces may give Wentz the opportunity to have a career-year.
Lineups agrees for the most part. Lineups.com project that Wentz will have a career year in passing yards at 4097, but project a drop in touchdowns with 24 in 2020. I also agree with Lineups that Wentz’s rushing game will be minimal.
However, I think the weapons that the Eagles acquired, especially the speed, will do wonders for the offense, giving increased versatility that they have never had. Because of this, I expect Wentz to have roughly 32 passing touchdowns.
Career PFF passing grades for 2016 QB class
1. Carson Wentz – 82.0
2. Dak Prescott – 80.3
3. Jared Goff – 77.5
4. Jacoby Brissett – 59.5 pic.twitter.com/8pqVLQRDmm
— PFF (@PFF) May 28, 2020
ADP: 79.5 QB: 13
Auction Value: $3
At this auction value, Carson Wentz is considered to some a viable option. You are getting when heathy a near top-5 quarterback in passing abilities with elite pieces surrounding him. However, he does not have the elite rushing game to justify the selection at this position. With guys like Matt Ryan and Drew Brees, poor-rushing quarterbacks, with ADP’s closer to 100, I think it makes more sense to take a dual-threat quarterback such as Kyler Murray or Deshaun Watson earlier than Wentz’s ADP. While I am high on Wentz, I don’t think he will have better stats than Brees or Ryan, and he doesn’t have the rushing game that others like Josh Allen or Dak Prescott at similar ADP’s.
Carson Wentz’s floor is lower than most quarterbacks only due to his injury history. Without injuries, you are getting a consistent quarterback that doesn’t throw a lot of interceptions, completes over 60% of his passes, and will throw for 3000 yards and 20 touchdowns. If he stays, healthy, Wentz is a safe target that doesn’t struggle from consistency.
Despite the lower floor, Wentz has a higher ceiling. I doubt that we’ve seen the best of Wentz given the lack of weapons at the receiver position over the years. He’s never had elite speed targets besides the one season with Torrey Smith and one game with Desean Jackson. Drafting a receiver like Jalen Reagor should give Wentz a consistent deep threat for years to come to maximize his arm strength. I project that Wentz will be a top-10 passer this season. His run game is what makes him less valuable than other options.
The Eagles offense addressed their primary need this past offseason, SPEED. The Eagles drafted three of the fastest wide receivers in the draft, including first-rounder Jalen Reagor, in order to bring a dynamic Z receiver to their offense. They also traded for former track star Marquise Goodwin. With this speed, 11-personnel lineups will be deadly and 12-man personnel will have a balance between short tight end routes and receivers that can stretch the field.
The Eagles offense is one of the underrated offenses in the league. After the Colts and Cowboys, you could make the argument that they have the third-best offensive line in all of football. This unit consistently protects Wentz when he’s within the pocket. This unit will come to play in 2020.
Lastly, the Eagles have the best tight-end duo in the league which gives Wentz useful targets in short-yardage situations. Because of these factors, I think Wentz will have a productive season.
Strength of Schedule
The Eagles have the 8th easiest schedule in 2020, topping out at an opponent win percentage of .486. The Eagles benefit from a weaker division; all teams in the NFC East have questionable pass defenses. Furthermore, the strengths of the Redskins and Cowboys, their front seven, should be stifled by the Eagles’ strong offensive line. Games such as the Cardinals, Bengals, and Browns should give Wentz opportunities to boost his production.
Wentz is a capable passing quarterback that, with the pieces around him, could have a career year. However, the lack of a run game hurts his fantasy viability, dropping him behind better athletes like Deshaun Watson and Kyler Murray. Given his ADP, I find it questionable to draft a pocket passer with limited mobility given quarterbacks like Matt Ryan and Drew Brees available later. Given his injury history, I would feel much safer drafting your QB1 higher and playing it safe with Ryan or Brees as a second quarterback option much later in the draft.