Fantasy Football Repercussions of Carson Wentz to the Colts
The second domino in the quarterback offseason stack fell on February 18th, with the Eagles sending Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2021 third-round draft pick, plus a conditional 2022 second-round pick that could turn into a first-rounder if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps this season or 70% of the snaps and the Colts make the playoffs.
— 4for4 Fantasy Football (@4for4football) February 18, 2021
This trade gives the Colts their starting quarterback for the 2021 season and clears the path for the Jalen Hurts era to begin in Philadelphia. From a fantasy perspective, both teams could potentially benefit, so let’s dive into how Wentz to the Colts could pan out for both teams this season.
Last year was a brutal one for Wentz and the entire Eagles offense, frankly. He led the league in interceptions and fumbles, and was appropriately benched after 12 contests. Wentz set career-lows in completion percentage (57.4%), passing yards (2,620), yards per game (218.3) and yards per attempt (6.0).
While it is easy to place the blame for lack of production solely on Wentz’s shoulders—other than rushing, which he surprisingly set career-highs in both average run (5.3) and touchdowns scored (5)—last year’s dropoff was not entirely the quarterback's fault.
The Eagles' offensive line was never fully healthy, and as a result, Wentz was just two sacks behind Russell Wilson as the second-most sacked signal-caller in 2020, hitting the ground 50 times. His receiving corps didn’t exactly help him out either, as the Eagles’ 20 dropped passes tied for ninth in the league.
Can Wentz provide a bounce-back for fantasy managers in 2021 and redeem himself after such a miserable campaign?
The Fit in Indianapolis
Wentz is reunited with former coach Frank Reich and his offensive system, which certainly doesn’t hurt his chances of redemption. There’s an obvious boost in protection for the 28-year-old quarterback, as the Colts' offensive line is perennially among the best, although they did suffer some late-season injuries at tackle last year.
When looking at his acquired weapons in Indy, it’s sort of a mixed bag. Despite having no Colts wideout crack fantasy WR4 territory last season, their receivers are on the other side of the spectrum as the Eagles in drops, as they boasted the sixth-fewest dropped balls in the league in 2020.
There is some talent in the receiver room, with Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell both young and showing improvement. T.Y. Hilton is trending downwards, but is also a free agent in 2021, along with Trey Burton and Mo Alie-Cox. The Colts drafting a stud wide receiver and/or a tight is certainly a possibility as well, as they were one of a few teams to consistently use three inline players last year. (Check out Anthony Staggs's Mock Draft to see which receiver he has going to the Colts in the first round.)
As far as predicting fantasy output, both Pittman and Campbell should be treated as WR3/WR4s with upside, as Wentz is just too inconsistent to count on much more, plus Reich’s offense tends to spread the volume around and not hammer one particular receiver.
I see Wentz as a fantasy QB2 heading into 2021, draftable late in best-ball formats and Superflex leagues. In redraft, I just don’t see him cracking the top 12 due to his landing in a run-first offense and lack of current star power.
What about the Eagles?
Jalen Hurts was the QB9 in fantasy over the final four weeks of last season. His dual-threat ability lands him a seat at the QB1 table for 2021. Both Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert could see a decrease in targets with Hurts under center, but nothing too crazy. As a rookie, Hurts exceeded 300 passing yards in two of his three full starts, so the guy is certainly capable of moving an offense via the air.
A rushing quarterback isn’t exactly great for Miles Sanders's potential in 2021, but he was RB6 in half-PPR points with Hurts at the helm, so that’s somewhat encouraging. The coaching staff is new and, hopefully, they’ll invest more in Sanders as a three-down back, but that’s to be determined.
- Carson Wentz’s trade to the Colts can potentially be beneficial for both offenses. This is of course before free-agent movement or NFL Draft additions make their impact on both teams’ rosters.
- Treat Carson Wentz as a QB2; he's a viable option late in best-ball formats and as a second QB in Superflex leagues.
- Michael Pittman and Parris Campbell are growing and improving, and are considered upside WR3/WR4s heading into free agency.
- Jalen Hurts has QB1 potential with plenty of upside as a dual-threat (unless they draft a quarterback, which then makes it a wait-and-see approach).
- Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert could see a small dip in volume, with Miles Sanders also a possibility for a downgrade.