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Fantasy Football: Will 2021 be Carson Wentz comeback szn?

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) looks for a receiver against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2021 season. Click here to read the series of questions answered so far.

One of the first big moves of the offseason was the Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to trade Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick. The latter pick becomes a first-rounder if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps or 70% and the team makes the playoffs.

The Colts are gambling that they can get something closer to the 2017-2019 version of Wentz as opposed to the player we saw in 2020. They’ll lose the trade if wrong because the 12 games that Wentz put on film last season were nothing short of awful:

  • PFF passing grade: 61.0 (No. 36 among 44 qualified quarterbacks)
  • Big-time throw rate: 4.6% (No. 23)
  • Turnover-worthy play rate: 4.7% (No. 36)
  • Yards per attempt: 6.0 (tied for No. 40)
  • Adjusted completion rate: 70.1% (No. 39)
  • QB rating: 72.8 (No. 42)

Here’s the catch: The problems weren’t all entirely on Wentz; this Eagles offense dealt with a myriad of both injury and performance issues across the offense that were completely unrelated to their presumed franchise quarterback.

What follows is a breakdown on just how wrong 2020 went and what to expect from Wentz as a fantasy football asset next season.

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Wentz wasn’t the only problem for the Eagles in 2020

Wentz obviously regressed over the past three seasons; just realize he wasn’t the only problem in Philly. There were three main issues that would’ve made life difficult for basically any mere mortal attempting to play quarterback in Philly in 2020:

  1. Offensive line injuries: LT Andre Dillard (biceps, missed the entire season), RG Brandon Brooks (Achilles, missed the entire season), LG Isaac Seumalo (knee, missed 7 games), OL Jason Peters (toe, 8 games) and RT Lane Johnson (ankle, missed 9 games) were each all sorts of banged up last season. It’s a minor miracle they still finished with PFF’s 16th- and 17th-highest graded offensive line in pass and run blocking.
  2. Skill-position injuries: Things weren’t quite as bad as our previous category, but more key contributors such as Miles Sanders (12 games), Jalen Reagor (11), Dallas Goedert (11), Zach Ertz (11), Alshon Jeffery (7) and DeSean Jackson (5) were all heavily limited due to injuries.
  3. Receivers generally sucking: No team posted a worse overall receiving grade than the Eagles last season. Two-hundred-twenty-four players had at least 25 targets last season and each of Sanders, John Hightower, Greg Ward and Ertz managed to finish among the group’s bottom 26 finishers in yards per route run. Wentz was one of just six quarterbacks with at least 30 dropped passes and led the league with a 6.8% drop rate. Sheesh.

There were times where it looked clear as day that Wentz wasn’t the issue.

This isn’t to suggest Wentz wasn’t a key contributor to the Eagles’ 26th-ranked scoring offense; just realize this was hardly a can’t-miss situation.

The good news for Wentz super fans: The 2021 version of the Colts appears to be in far better shape.


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