Fantasy Football

Fantasy Fallout: Carson Wentz trade leaves unproven Colts, Eagles WRs in the lurch

What had been speculated for weeks has finally come to pass. The Eagles have agreed to trade quarterback Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts for a pair of draft picks. The move is the capper on a contentious end to the former No. 2 overall pick's time in Philly and reunites him with Frank Reich, his one-time offensive coordinator in Philadelphia.

The second act of Wentz's narrative will take place in Indianapolis, with the Colts hoping to revive a career that began with incredible potential. Like plenty of folks who wear horseshoe-emblazoned gear, fantasy football managers are intrigued to see what's next.

Perhaps the biggest reason for optimism is the reunion of a player and coach who found success together. Wentz tossed a career-high 33 touchdown passes in 2017, though that season famously ended with Wentz hurting his knee and Nick Foles leading the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory. The following year, Wentz was a candidate for NFL MVP before a back injury derailed those chances.

If it's true that Wentz's biggest issue is mental, Reich could be the man to turn him around. Putting him behind the Colts' top-notch offensive line won't hurt, either. The upside is undeniable -- in the right situation, Wentz has the tools to be a top-10 fantasy quarterback as he was in 2017 and 2019. Only the most starry-eyed optimist would project such a future for Wentz in 2021, but with a draft price that should settle in the double-digit rounds, the reward potentially far outweighs the risk.

Like any good drama, how it impacts the surrounding characters is important, which brings us to the pass-catchers in Indy. T.Y. Hilton is set to hit free agency. His high price tag combined with declining production means he's likely to end up elsewhere next season. That puts the onus on a young and largely unproven group of wide receivers.

Zach Pascal and Parris Campbell have fascinated Fantasy Twitter over the past couple of years, even if their on-field production has yet to meet expectations. Michael Pittman showed flashes during his rookie season. The issue was a quarterback whose spirit was willing to push the ball downfield but whose 39-year old arm was weak. The addition of Wentz should alleviate any concerns about the Colts being able to establish a vertical passing game, though so much else about what will happen remains unknown. Look for all of Indianapolis' wide receivers to be drafted more as depth options with WR3 upside at best until further notice.

Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia…

You are forgiven if you mistook Fantasy Twitter for u/wallstreetbets on Thursday morning. Wentz's departure had analysts firing off rocket emojis ad infinitum regarding Jalen Hurts. The young quarterback had fantasy football enthusiasts' curiosity from the moment he was drafted. Hurts grabbed their attention with a 37-point performance against the Cardinals in Week 15.

For those chasing upside, Hurts has it in droves. Over the final four weeks of the season, he averaged nearly 23 fantasy points per game -- though his outburst against Arizona juiced that number. Perhaps more importantly, Hurts has the rushing ability we crave from quarterbacks. In that same stretch, only Lamar Jackson had more yards on the ground.

But what of Philadelphia's pass-catchers? In the past couple of seasons, the wide receiver corps has been a simmering cauldron of disappointment. Injuries have kept veterans Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson off the field while young players like J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Jalen Reagor have fallen short of expectations. Having Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward as two of your top receiving options isn't sustainable. It could be a case of fantasy managers clamoring for the pitcher while eschewing his catchers.

There's also no guarantee that the Eagles don't draft a quarterback with the sixth pick in the draft. That would undoubtedly put the brakes on the Hurts hype train. If not, that ride could motor full steam ahead to a draft price that might be too rich for some to consider.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com. Send him any fantasy football questions on Twitter @MarcasG or Instagram at MarcasG.

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