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2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Analysis: Assessing the Carson Wentz Trade…

Date:
February 19, 2021 7:06 PM
February 19, 2021 7:07 PM

2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Analysis: Assessing the Carson Wentz Trade…

 

So, how confident are you that they really will be able to take a quarterback once beloved in 2017…a guy who won 11 games, threw for 253 yards per game as his team won the division and went to the playoffs…and return this quarterback to his former glory days?

What is it worth to acquire this quarterback who was beloved in 2017 and into 2018, but ran into a brick wall by the end of 2020 and had everyone in the media turn on him to the point that his own team, that once believed in him so much that they paid him a massive long-term deal – and now, in 2021, that his team would just dump him for the best deal they can get?

Are you super excited about the possibilities of acquiring this quarterback? Are you sure they can turn him around? Was 2020 the real ‘him’ or was the 2017-2018 version?

I’m sorry, that was leftover copy I wrote about the Lions acquiring Jared Goff. Everything I just wrote above is exactly the same fit for Carson Wentz.

The football media believes in Carson Wentz.

The football media hates/doesn’t accept Jared Goff.

I have no idea why one and not the other…they don’t know why either.

Wentz and Goff both won 11 games in the 2017 season…both threw for 253 yards per game…both had nice seasons…both saw their teams win a division because of it. However, when Goff was traded…he was mocked/castigated – because the media has conditioned themselves that they don’t like him, so he doesn’t matter. There is no discussion of a ‘turn’ or ‘fresh opportunity’. But they like Wentz, so this trade is critiqued as a very hope-filled change for Wentz…a hope that he can be good again, so as not to make them look bad for their general endorsement of him.

The football media and analysts loved/worshipped Jameis Winston, Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones, Dwayne Haskins, Tua Tagovailoa…and now they’re the experts on the Carson Wentz deal…because they know quarterbacks so well. Ok, great. Can’t wait to hear their takes.

I can sum up all their takes – great deal for the Colts…and how stupid are the Eagles for being in this position, but good for them they’re onto a new path? Lest we forget, it’s because of the media that Philadelphia got into this situation with Wentz in the first place – it was the media cheerleading Wentz as a god because of a good stretch in 2017 and a solid 2018 – the media ‘made’/pushed/supported him as the franchise guy from 2016-2019 (and said he would be battling, and be better than Dak Prescott for years to come in the NFC East!). Two years later, the same football people critiquing this Colts-Wentz deal don’t even acknowledge their over-rating error on Wentz from just two years ago.

The thing for the media to do now is – make Frank Reich into some kind of QB guru, in hopes that he has the magic elixir to fix Wentz. First, new Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni was the perfect guy to fix Wentz. Now, Reich is REALLY the perfect guy to fix Wentz. Everything is ‘fixing’ Wentz. Anyone see the hilarity in that?

Why do they romanticize ‘fixing’ Wentz? Who wants to pay millions of dollars to have to ‘fix’ Wentz? An entire franchise is on the line ONLY if they can ‘fix’ Carson Wentz. When the words ‘fix’ and ‘franchise quarterback’ are in the same sentence – it should make people hold their breaths in fear/worry. It should be cause for trepidation and skepticism. Not with Wentz, not for the media (and now Colts fans). It’s a foregone conclusion that Wentz will now be ‘fixed’, and he’ll be the QB of four years ago.

People outside of Philly have a vague recollection, at best, about Wentz in 2017 – but now that Wentz has been traded, they’re all experts on with photographic memories of 2017…like Wentz was some kind of superhero. The superhero that year was Nick Foles, lest we forget…which the media is trying to…but they recall (they’re told) how great Wentz was that year.

Using Jared Goff or Matt Stafford for examples/comparisons – both QBs have been maligned off and on all their careers, but when you look at their careers/seasons (ignoring their rookie seasons) -- they’ve had really good years or OK years, in QB output/stats, in recent campaigns. Neither have embarrassed themselves or had shocking bust seasons. However, Carson Wentz was an utter embarrassment in the 2nd-half of 2020 season…like a bust…like so bad the Eagles just ate $34M dollars just to have him NOT be their QB. The Eagles essentially ruined/trashed their 2021 season just to not have Wentz around anymore after watching his demise in 2020 – the Eagles are one of the most screwed up CAP space teams in all of football right now. All this utter destruction of a team just to rid themselves of this quarterback they loved two years ago.

Yet, this is somehow universally accepted as a great thing for Indy?

I’m fascinated by the psychology of this trade. Had the Colts acquired Goff, the fans and media would be disgusted. But they acquire Wentz, and somehow everyone is delighted? I’ll never understand why the media likes what they like while shunning other similar/better things.

NFL teams (and the media) are totally ruled by the wisdom of the crowds. They have little idea how to scout an NFL quarterback. If they were all better than the crowd, there wouldn’t have been a Jameis Winston problem, or Sam DarnoldDaniel JonesDwayne HaskinsDeShone Kizer busts happening over and over. The same people who didn’t think Jalen Hurts was a legit NFL QB…now, they LOVE what Hurts can do in 2021. The NFL is ruled by shaped media narratives based on useless emotions about players, by generally accepted thoughts on players. There is no reliable scouting anywhere…just a lot of noise about things like release points, loose hips, and twitchiness that make them seem smarter than us.  

Also, NFL GMs are so clueless that they rarely make trades of player(s) for player(s). Why? Because the NFL’s management is empty and scared – fearful of getting anything wrong and the criticism therein. NFL trades are almost always one of two things…

1) Team dumping something they don’t want/everyone locally hates…and it has to happen right now.

2) Team acquiring draft picks.

You never see like a quality starting offensive lineman traded for a quality starting cornerback because of team excesses and needs or gambles on talent they see off other teams. It’s always salary dumps, or purges of players with the new regime taking over to ‘fix the culture’ (the stupidest words in the industry)…and these trades are almost always involving getting/sending draft picks for the unwanted, dead-to-them player.

Acquiring drafts picks is the holy grail of things to acquire…OH THE POSSIBILITIES!!! Why aren’t teams trading for real players or buried players or hidden talent? Why do they only seek to acquire draft picks? Because you can’t criticize them personally, right now, for trading for picks, because those picks are unspecified players and by the time that we fill in the real/drafted names and give those names 2-3 years to play out…it’s 3-4 years down the road and everything is forgotten/we’re dealing with the current realities (and the regime may have been fired anyway, so who cares 3-4 years down the road).

Constantly trading players for draft picks is a genius way to avoid/evade criticism while your fanbase applauds like trained seals at the move. It’s a con man’s trick…and we fall for it all the time.

A true sign of a puss GM – a trade made where there is a conditional pick…if the player ‘performs’ to a defined level, they want/get a better draft pick. Again, GMs are so fearful that what they traded will succeed away from them you have to do things like ‘conditional picks’ to baby them into making a deal. NFL GMs have no guts or business sense to just make a deal and move on – and it's the NFL fans and the media’s fault, because one perceived bad move and the entirety of the football media will descend on them and destroy their employ.

Think of your Fantasy Football GM history…you have the same problem. You remember all the bad trades, bad draft picks, players you didn’t pick who went on to do well…you can rattle them off in droves. You rarely think about the trouble you avoided or didn’t draft or the winning trade you made. You lament more than rejoice – thus, your hesitancy to make trades in Fantasy. Same thing for the NFL GMs. Your own mind is like the hypercritical football media poking you with a stick about any perceived bad move you;ve made.

Winning is the best way for GMs to stay employed, but not failing publicly (according to the media) in trades is right up there – just ask Bill O’Brien, AFC South division winner four of 5 recent seasons (2015-2019)…defending champ of the AFC South in 2019. He was fired in four games into 2020, despite those four of the last 5 division titles and is now the current offensive coordinator for Alabama.

O’Brien’s crime? He traded DeAndre Hopkins, and football analysts and fans didn’t like that…and they don’t like that he traded a lot of picks for Laremy Tunsil, because fans LOVE picks and O-Linemen are boring. All his recent big moves were perceived as stupid and he was one bad stretch away from all the critiques imploding on him – and the (0-4) start did just that. If you want to rebuild your franchise – you better get the media’s and fan’s (and QB’s) approval first…is the Texans’ lessons learned from the past couple of years.

All that general trade philosophy and overview lead-in aside, what do I think of this Wentz deal for NFL and Dynasty/Fantasy purposes?

 

NFL-wise…

I agree with the media masses, shockingly. It’s a good trade for the Colts. Quarterback is everything and Indy wasn’t going to land a top QB from the 2021 Draft…certainly not one that can help right away, as the Colts are a contender now. A huge gamble on developing a Trey Lance would be stupid for their current situation – they need a QB ready right now. Houston was not going to trade Deshaun Watson to them, in-division. The perfect QB for the Colts right here, right now was Carson Wentz – he knows the head coach, he has experience, he has had NFL success.

For the Colts, Wentz was the best-case scenario acquisition on the board. They have no future tie to Wentz if they don’t want to…Philly ate the guaranteed money. Indy could cut Wentz next year for no CAP hit. The Colts get a one-year look to see if Wentz can go back to his 2017 ways…or if 2020 is a sign of the new reality. It was a very smart move…their only real move they could pull at QB.

The Colts give up a 3rd-round pick this season and 2nd-round pick/maybe a 1st-round pick next season…that stings, but quarterback is everything and the Colts needed a quarterback right now. A smart gamble. Good economics…they control Wentz/can cut him at any time after this season for no pain.

I’m not a big Wentz guy, as an NFL talent…but he’s OK. I think he got a raw deal in 2020 with Philly. What we always fail to recognize is how important the offensive line is to QB performance…with mediocre QBs. The O-Line can make ‘C’ grade QBs into ‘Bs’ or ‘Ds’ depending upon the quality of the line. The Eagles lost two of the best offensive linemen in football, really before 2020 got underway. They lost Brandon Brooks in the summer and then lost Lane Johnson early in the season. The OL injuries just kept coming all season and the Eagles offense, and Wentz, became a shell of itself.

Had Brooks and Johnson stayed healthy, and the Eagles rest of the O-Line stayed fairly healthy – Doug Pederson would probably still be the head coach, and Carson Wentz still the starting QB. Instead, the key O-Linemen get hurt all season and the HC and QB took the fall.

The Eagles hired a not-in-demand new head coach, are in a terrible CAP space situation, they have no real wide receivers and ran off a very good defensive coordinator – this is the worst team in the NFC East, today, by a mile. It’s been a weak, underperforming team for years, but they got the magical ride from Nick Foles in 2017-18 and that has put a camo blanket over everything else going wrong/sideways.

So, the Eagles just paid $34M for Carson Wentz to NOT be their quarterback (and more millions to Pederson to NOT be their head coach) and for that they are getting a 3rd-round pick now and a 2nd-round pick (could become a 1st-rounder) in 2022. OK. Fine.

The Eagles have imploded their 2021 to rebuild for the future – which I agree with needed to be done. The only question is – will Howie Roseman, with Nick Sirianni, be able to orchestrate the turnaround? I doubt it…but it needed to be done/tried.

It’s a win-win deal.

The Colts 2021 HAD to have Wentz…an experienced QB for the now that they have total control of payroll-wise for the future.

The Eagles 2021 HAD to blow up everything and try again…so they did. An expensive reconstruction project. We won’t know how smart it was for 2-3 years (again, perfect cover for the GM to stay employed).

If I were the GM of Indy, I would have done the deal. And if I were the Eagles GM, I would have done the deal and blown up the team and rid myself of Wentz and his contract. I take the 2021 beating and play for 2022+.

 

Dynasty/Fantasy-wise…

Ignoring his (bad) rookie season, if you considered every game Wentz ever played in the NFL since and wrote them individually on a piece of paper labeled ‘good game’ or ‘bad game’, then put them into a bag and drew a piece of paper out at random – you’d very likely draw a ‘good game’ strip. He’s been ‘good’ like 80%+ of the time the past four seasons. Mostly ‘good’…sometimes ‘hurt’…sometimes an embarrassment (2nd-half of the 2020 season) the past four seasons.

Wentz was good in 2017 (not great, but good…look at those Comp. Pct.’s…and Foles came in and went off even better).

Wentz was solid+ (a career high 69.6% Comp. Pct.) in 2018 rehabbing from his 2017 season-ending injury.

Wentz was solid again in 2019 leading to the division title (albeit a weak NFC East). He wasn’t AWESOME in 2017-2018-2019, but he wasn’t TERRIBLE. He was ‘good’.

In 2020, his O-Line fell apart…but he started out gritty and decent (considering the O-Line issues). As the season wore on, Wentz started to fall apart as the remainder of his O-Line disappeared one-by-one…and he had garbage wide receivers to work with. He was sacked a career high amount of times and he started taking all the blame (along with Doug Pederson). Wentz visibly lost his confidence and became a shell of himself.

The back-end of 2020 season was his only real ‘bad’ play in the past four seasons…and there are legit excuses why it happened. The only question is – is Wentz eternally/mentally affected by the 2020 nightmare end or will he easily rehab himself back to normal Wentz in Indy?

It’s a perfect world/move to Indy for Wentz…

He goes from cold fall/winter, outdoors, always unhappy and uber-critical fans/media, no WR weapons Philadelphia…to indoor dome, top O-Line, familiar coach, less critical/more accepting fans/media with a top running back/running game and young, talented WRs.

It’s a perfect rehab spot for Wentz’s career.

Wentz is good enough to not hurt the young wide receiver’s FF potential, but he’s not so great a passer that he’ll steal all the stats from the run game. Pittman-Campbell should be fine/solid, but not WR1s…and Jonathan Taylor should be the heavy lead punch, a top RB1.

The big FF question/opportunity is…Wentz has mostly made the tight end good/great for Fantasy, not as much for the wide receivers (was it Wentz’s preference or lack of WRs?). The Colts will now acquire a new starting TE to go with Wentz – be that free agency, trade, or draft. Who that tight end is will change the fantasy board among tight ends for 2021. Could it be the familiar Zach Ertz, after Philly dumps him?

Who that tight end might be and how high their FF projections will soar, how we project Wentz, the effect on the Colts fantasy WR options…and then the Jalen Hurts effect on the Eagles weapons (especially Dallas Goedert) – our first wave of Dynasty valuations and Best Ball 2021 rankings (top 600) will be out next week in our Dynasty Offseason/Best Ball area as our first glimpse at the future for Indy and Philly for Fantasy.  


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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>