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Fantasy Football: Does Jalen Hurts have "league-winning" upside?

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

Last season was rough for the Philadelphia Eagles, but rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts was a bright spot who showed enough to both shake up the team's roster and to enter the top 10 of most 2021 fantasy football QB rankings

Hurts did enough in four games of NFL experience to supplant Carson Wentz as the Eagles' starting quarterback, leading to a trade of the former No. 2 overall pick. The team then passed on adding any true threat at the position, essentially handing the reins to Hurts for 2021. 

Fantasy football managers don't typically look to the quarterback position when trying to separate themselves from the pack, but a QB like Hurts who offers steady rushing production on a weekly basis — with the potential to spike with progress in the passing game — can sometimes  separate solid teams from the great ones. (The position becomes even more vital in superflex leagues.)

Hurts is already coming off the board as the QB8 at Underdog Fantasy — just inside the top 100 picks — but truly offers league-winning upside at a position that is often overlooked, even in competitive fantasy leagues.

Hurts vs. Wentz

Much has been made about Wentz’s struggles last season, but the difference between the two players was truly shocking. Again, we’re comparing a rookie quarterback with no legitimate offseason due to COVID-19 to a fifth-year quarterback with a Super Bowl ring.

Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts in games started | 2020
Stat (per game) Carson Wentz 
Jalen Hurts 
Passing Attempts 36.4 37
Passing Yards 218.3 265.3
Passing Touchdowns 1.3 1.5
Rushing Attempts 4.3 16
Rushing Yards 23 87.25
Rushing Touchdowns 0.42 0.75
Fantasy Points 17.6 28.8

What’s strange about the massive differences here is that the players were essentially tossed into the same struggling, injury-riddled team. The Eagles limped to a 4-11-1 finish, head coach Doug Pederson was fired and Wentz traded. Hurts and some of his offensive counterparts still remain, along with exciting new weapons like Alabama Crimson Tide superstar wide receiver DeVonta Smith.

 

Head Coaching Change

The Eagles hired a first-time head coach in Nick Sirianni to replace Pederson. While Sirianni didn’t have full control in his last stop with the Colts, he’s likely to adopt a similar system to the Frank Reich's in IndyIn 2020, the Colts ranked 27th in pass-play percentage (55.8%) after coming in at 57% (28th) in 2019. 

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