The Philadelphia Eagles have named rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts the starter for the team moving forward. There had been whispers of it happening, but many questioned if head coach Doug Pederson was really willing to make a change. This is because Carson Wentz was only recently given a huge contract by the Eagles. And it was only a few years ago that he was having an MVP season prior to going down with an ACL injury. The team ended up winning a Super Bowl with backup Nick Foles, but they still probably would not have gotten that far without Wentz. However, now Wentz finds himself replaced again, this time not due to injury. Now, Hurts could have some value in fantasy football.
Jalen Hurts Fantasy Football Preview Without Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz’s Struggles
Since 2017, the former MVP candidate has regressed wildly. Wentz had thrown 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions before his injury in 2017. The next two years, Wentz duplicated throwing just two picks. In 2018, he only tossed 21 interceptions, but also dealt with injuries and was limited to 11 games. The year after, he started all 16 games, increasing his touchdowns to 27, and throwing for a career-high 4,039 yards.
But the stats don’t necessarily tell the entire story. Wentz’s processing time is slower and his decision making has been questionable at best. His record gives some indication of his struggles since returning from injury, a paltry 14-13 from 2018-2019.
This year things went from bad to worse. In 11 games, Wentz already threw 15 interceptions and his completion percentage was a career-low 58.1 percent. Some of it is the poor offensive line play and lack of a go-to receiver. Wentz is a decently athletic quarterback, but he is far from a scrambler, and operates best from a clean pocket.
Sometimes the Situation Calls for a Change
This could be a reason the team made the switch. Wentz was sacked 46 times coming into Sunday, putting him on pace to be the most sacked quarterback since David Carr back in 2005. Wentz was sacked another four times before being relieved for Hurts. To his credit, the offensive line has been in shambles.
The team has started different offensive line combinations almost every single game this year. Starters Jason Peters and Lane Johnson went to Injured Reserve with injuries. Five others have either been lost for the year or missed time.
All things considered, Hurts is simply the best option for the team at the point. He is much more mobile, arguably at his best when he scrambles. Hurts had over 855 yards rushing in three of his college seasons, including 1298 in his last year with Oklahoma.
But he can also toss the ball pretty well without setting his feet too:
📺: CBS pic.twitter.com/TuRPDyFU0k
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 6, 2020
Jalen Hurts Fantasy Football Relevance
Entering the fantasy football playoffs, it makes sense to be skeptical of a quarterback that hasn’t even started an NFL game in his career. But Hurts showed a ton of promise from a fantasy football perspective in just about a half a quarter. He threw for 109 yards and a touchdown and ran five times for 29 yards.
Admittedly, his passing effort was saved by some big plays. Hurts only completed five of the 12 passes he threw. But the rushing numbers are eye-popping. It isn’t unreasonable to think Hurts gets 10 rushing attempts per game, which would give him a really good floor.
In addition, Miles Sanders hasn’t been what many expected on the ground. It prompted the team to sign Jordan Howard, who played for the team last year before moving on to the Miami Dolphins for the first part of 2020. Howard is a great goal-line back. But fantasy team managers have already seen dual-threat quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Kyler Murray feast on taking goal-line carries in for pay dirt themselves. Hurts definitely has that potential.
From there, his matchups are great. Next week against the New Orleans Saints is probably one to stay away from, but after that he gets the Arizona Cardinals, and the Dallas Cowboys. The Cardinals just gave over 24 points to Jared Goff last week. And the Cowboys have been one of the worst defenses in football all year.
If Hurts has a good performance against the Saints, team fantasy football team managers should feel confident enough to start him the next two games.
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