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What You Need to Know:
- Wentz’s top 3 WRs — Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor — missed a combined 24 games last year.
- Wentz still managed to finish 8th among QBs in fantasy points.
- He ranked 3rd and 12th at his position in fantasy points per game the previous 2 years.
- The Eagles added rookie WRs Jalen Reagor, John Hightower and Quez Watkins, plus veteran Marquise Goodwin, to DeSean Jackson, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Greg Ward. Alshon Jeffery (Lisfranc) is iffy for the start of the season.
A depleted WR corps
Wentz opened the 2019 campaign throwing to WRs Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor. By the end of the year, he was flanked by Greg Ward, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Robert Davis and Deontay Burnett.
Jeffery missed Weeks 11 and 12 with an ankle injury and then suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury in Week 14. Jackson went down with a core-muscle injury in Week 2 and lasted just 4 snaps in a Week 9 return before missing the rest of the year. Agholor missed 5 of the final 6 games of the season with knee trouble. Wentz was even without TE Zach Ertz in Week 17.
Still a QB1
So it’s pretty remarkable that he still managed to finish 8th among QBs in fantasy points. His 4,039 passing yards were a career high and ranked 9th league-wide. Wentz tied for 5th with 27 passing scores and tossed only 7 INTs. He added a 62-243-1 rushing line.
And, somehow, he was most productive down the stretch — despite all those injuries. After averaging 230 yards and 1.5 TDs passing over the first 11 games, Wentz cranked out 302 yards and 2 TDs over the last 5. His completion rate climbed from 62.3% to 66.2% and his yards per attempt from 6.5 to 6.9. Wentz was QB7 in fantasy points over those final 5 games.
2019 was also Wentz’s first full 16-game season since his 2016 rookie campaign (although he was knocked out of Philly’s playoff loss to Seattle with a concussion). He missed the final 3 games of 2017 and the first 2 games of 2018 with a torn ACL and LCL in his left knee. Then he missed the last 3 games of 2018 with a stress fracture in his back.
So injuries — either to Wentz or his pass-catchers — have hurt over the past 3 seasons. But Wentz also ranked 3rd among QBs in fantasy points per game in 2017 and 12th in 2018 before this past year’s 8th-place finish. Only 4 active QBs — Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson and Drew Brees — have averaged more fantasy points per game than Wentz over the last 3 seasons.
So there’s exciting upside here if Wentz and his pass-catchers can stay healthy. DeSean Jackson is back to 100% after undergoing core-muscle surgery in November. Alshon Jeffery, on the other hand, is iffy for the start of Week 1 after his December Lisfranc surgery.
But Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert are back to give Wentz the league’s top TE tandem. RBs Miles Sanders and Boston Scott both played well in the passing game last year. Perhaps J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, last year’s 2nd-round pick, can bounce back after a disappointing rookie season. And the Eagles spent this year’s 1st-rounder on TCU product Jalen Reagor.
Reagor is coming off a rough 2019 as the Horned Frogs struggled under freshman QB Max Duggan. But he led his team with 576 receiving yards and 8 TDs as a true freshman as then exploded for a 72-1,061-9 line as a sophomore. Reagor tested as 93rd percentile athlete at the Combine and looks at least that explosive on tape.
The Eagles also added WR depth by trading for Marquise Goodwin and spending late-round picks on John Hightower and Quez Watkins. There’s a lot to be settled here, but it’s nearly impossible for this WR corps to be worse than last year’s. And the group has the upside to really boost Wentz’s fantasy production.
Wentz should also continue to benefit from strong offensive line play. The Eagles return 4 of 5 starters from last year’s O-line, which ranked 3rd in Pro Football Focus’ pass-blocking grades and 11th in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Sack Rate. The 1 departure was long-time LT Jason Peters, who’s been a staple of Philly’s line but is now 38 years old. He’ll be replaced by 2019 first-rounder Andre Dillard, who fared OK in 336 snaps as a rookie.
Draft Sharks Bottom Line:
Injuries have stunted Wentz’s fantasy production over the past 3 seasons. He missed 8 total games across 2017 and 2018 with knee and back injuries. Wentz played all 16 last year — but his top 3 WRs combined to miss 24 games.
Despite all that, he’s turned in 3 straight QB1 fantasy seasons. Wentz ranked 3rd in fantasy points per game in 2017, 12th in 2018 and then 8th in total points last year.
It’s nearly impossible for the Eagles’ WR corps to be worse than it was in 2019. And it has the potential to be an above-average unit if things break right. The Eagles also remain strong at TE and RB.
There are some questions here, but we’re not betting against Wentz turning in another QB1 season in 2020. And if things break right, he carries top-5 upside.