News & Analysis

Fantasy Fallout: Jalen Hurts, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Fields see values rise after 49ers, Eagles and Dolphins trade first-round picks

Dec 20, 2020; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (2) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

After a lackluster second week of NFL free agency, things got wild on Friday with three NFL teams wheeling and dealing first-round picks. 

It all started with the Miami Dolphins trading the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s draft to the San Francisco 49ers for the No. 12 pick, a 2021 third-round pick (SF’s compensatory pick for Robert Saleh hiring) and first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, per Adam Schefter on Twitter.

But the trades did not stop there, as Miami continued to make moves. They would immediately flip the No. 12 pick and their 2022 first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for the No. 6 overall pick.

As PFF’s Sam Monson points out, Miami basically picked up a first and third to move down three spots and still has a good chance to get the player they originally preferred with the No. 3 pick. Absolute madness.

These two transactions have massive fantasy football implications for all three teams, so let’s dive in.

TUA TAGOVAILOA, MIAMI DOLPHINS

Tua Tagovailoa will enter the 2021 season as one of my favorite late-round quarterbacks. I already declared him a massive winner in dynasty formats post-free agency, but his outlook continues to look even better after this trade. 

The Dolphins have so much draft capital (four top-50 picks in 2021) to continue to build around their second-year quarterback, guaranteeing that his supporting cast is vastly superior to the unit he played with a season ago. 

With the No. 6 overall pick, they'll have the chance to draft an offensive playmaker like Kyle Pitts/Ja’Marr Chase or provide Tagovailoa the protection he needs in the form of tackle Penei Sewell.

Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) throws the ball in the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Either way, Tua’s current best ball ADP on Underdog as the QB21 is way too low considering the upside he could deliver in 2021 with upgraded personnel. He was the QB22 in terms of fantasy points per game last season (16.0), so he’s being priced at his floor.

Let’s also not forget that before things got out of hand for Tua in Week 17 last season, he was the only QB in the league to have at least 10 touchdown passes and zero interceptions from a clean pocket. Clean pocket numbers tend to be stickier year over year than under-pressure numbers, so that’s a great sign for the Dolphins and Tagovailoa as he enters Year 2. 

JALEN HURTS, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

I have been singing the praise of Jalen Hurts as fantasy football’s next superstar for months, but I’ll admit there was a slight semblance of doubt because of the possibility that the Eagles would draft a quarterback at No. 6 overall.

Now that they've moved completely outside the top-10 to pick No. 12, I can say without a doubt that Hurts will be their guy come opening day. And that means fantasy gamers can continue to draft him at will in the seventh rounds of best ball drafts and traditional leagues. 

During his time as a starter from Weeks 14-17, Hurts averaged 23.9 fantasy points per game — eighth-best among all quarterbacks. If you remove Week 17 when Hurts didn't play the full game, he averaged 26.6 fantasy points per game, which trailed only Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson.

Hurts possesses the rare rushing ability that makes him a cheat code in fantasy football, but what’s not discussed enough is that he is also super aggressive throwing the ball downfield. His deep-ball rate (13.5%) and aDOT (10.8) both ranked seventh-highest at his position.

And although naysayers will point to his poor completion percentage as a reason to stay away, I see it completely differently. His completion percentage was bad last season because he was always going downfield (good for fantasy) and not taking short completions (bad for fantasy).

Forty-six percent of his pass attempts went at least 10 yards. That was by far the highest mark in the league, with Deshaun Watson (41%) ranking second.

Hurts is a clear winner here, and with Philly still in prime position to grab an electric playmaker at No. 12 (Jaylen Waddle, I hope), his stock might not be finished rising. He’s easily a top-10 fantasy quarterback. 

Dallas Goedert is also a huge winner with this move because it takes Pitts out of range for the Eagles. I thought Pitts might land in Philly, but that no longer seems to be in play. 

Moving back to No. 12 could also mean the Eagles address other positional needs like linebacker or cornerback, leaving Jalen Reagor as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver entering the 2021 season.

Don’t give up on the 2020 first-round pick yet. Reagor is currently being selected as the WR53 on Underdog. 

JUSTIN FIELDS, OHIO STATE

The San Francisco 49ers are going to take a quarterback with their newly acquired No. 3 pick, and I bet it’s going to be Justin Fields. Reports suggest that Zach Wilson is locked into the Jets' No. 2 pick, making Fields the most likely target for S.F. at No. 3.

Putting a mobile and hyper-accurate quarterback like Fields in an offense designed by Kyle Shanahan is going to keep defensive coordinators lying awake at night. 

I was already all over Fields in the 13th round of best ball drafts, but now that I know his likely landing spot, you better believe I will start to stack him with San Francisco 49ers pass-catchers George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk

San Fran’s move up to No. 3 also likely spells the end of Jimmy Garoppolo in the Bay Area despite what the team social media accounts are putting out. Don’t count out a reunion between Jimmy G and the New England Patriots in the next few weeks. 

With Garoppolo’s status up in the air, I’m more hesitant to be aggressive on Cam Newton, despite his fantasy outlook improving drastically after free agency. 

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