First, it was Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff. Now, Carson Wentz is the latest big-name quarterback to be traded before the 2021 NFL league year has even begun. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Wentz has been dealt to Indianapolis for a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick. It’s not exactly the haul the Lions received for Stafford, but it does give Wentz a change of scenery.
That should be good news, both on the field and in the world of fantasy football.
Wentz was once considered a budding fantasy superstar during the 2017 season, as he threw for 33 touchdowns with just seven interceptions and averaged 21.7 fantasy points per game. However, his season would end after only 13 games as he suffered a serious knee injury against (ironically) the Rams. He played in 11 games the following season, averaging nearly 18 fantasy points while throwing 21 scores.
He started a full 16 games in 2019, ranking 10th in fantasy points among quarterbacks. However, Wentz's points-per-game average dropped for the third straight season. He went completely sideways this past season, throwing 15 interceptions while averaging a mere 16.5 points per game. Ultimately, he lost his starting job to rookie Jalen Hurts.
Now in Indianapolis, Wentz is reunited with Colts head coach Frank Reich. He was the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia during Wentz’s first two NFL seasons, including his MVP-caliber campaign in 2017, so this is a positive for the veteran’s future value.
He'll also be at the helm of an offense that fields a good line, a talented, young running back in Jonathan Taylor, veteran wideout TY Hilton (2021 UFA), a bevy of tight ends (Mo Alie-Cox, Jack Doyle and Trey Burton) and some upside pass catchers in Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell. The Colts also have the fourth-most projected cap space, per Spotrac, so there's room for even greater improvement on the talent side of the offense.
While Wentz might not reach his previous heights in the stat sheets, he’ll be just 28 when next season begins and isn’t beyond fixing. I’d project him to be a late-round No. 2 fantasy quarterback in most 2021 fantasy football drafts.
The real winner in this move, aside from the Colts pass catchers who didn’t have a clear quarterback before this trade, is Jalen Hurts. He opened eyes in the three games he started (and finished), averaging nearly 80 rushing yards and over 25 fantasy points. He did score a huge chunk of those points in one game (37.8 points vs. Arizona in Week 13), but Hurts did score at least 18.6 fantasy points in those three contests.
His skills as a runner make him a potential breakout candidate in fantasy leagues next season, and the Eagles will undoubtedly look to add some young talent around him in the passing game to go along with Jalen Reagor and Dallas Goedert. There's a chance the team selects one of the top two wideouts in the 2021 draft class, Ja'Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith, with the sixth overall selection in the NFL draft.
In a best-case scenario, Hurts could push into the top 10 among fantasy field generals next season. In fact I'd have no problem going into any of my 2021 fantasy leagues with Hurts as my starting quarterback. Waiting on a QB is never a bad strategy!
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst at Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for all of the latest-breaking fantasy football news and the best analysis in the business!