Where Should You Value Carson Wentz in Your Dynasty Leagues?

Johnny Kinsley

2019 was a season full of high expectations for the Philadelphia Eagles. They were heavily favored in the NFC East and predicted to be one of if not the NFC’s premiere juggernauts with an offense that on paper had a load of talent amidst a very mediocre division.

While they ended up making the playoffs and winning the division, it was also a disappointing year for the Eagles. A 5-7 start put the team’s postseason hopes in jeopardy, injuries to DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, as well as the disappointing rookie season of JJ Arcega-Whiteside and the continued frustration of Nelson Agholor, gave quarterback Carson Wentz one of the league’s worst wide receiving corps.

The presence of a strong backfield (Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, and Boston Scott) and tight end depth (Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert) kept things afloat at the skill position, but Wentz’s wide receivers were far from league average quality. He was already trying to overcome the injury narrative that seemingly defined his past two seasons, and successfully overcame it to start in the first playoff game of his career.

That didn’t even last for one quarter, as after four pass attempts Wentz received a concussion on a hit from Seahawks pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney in the Wild Card Round, knocking him out of the rest of the game. It’s been devastating for Wentz and the Eagles offense, as he has yet to start a full postseason game entering into his fifth NFL season despite doing plenty of work to get his team inside the January calendar in the first place.

In the first 11 games of the season, Wentz threw for 2,530 yards (230 yards per game), 17 touchdowns, and six interceptions, severely underwhelming numbers for anyone who had him as their starter in fantasy (me). Thankfully, he managed to recover in a big way in his last five games, throwing for 1,509 yards (301.8 yards per game), ten touchdowns, and one interception. In total, Wentz’s five-game surge to finish the season gave him 275.86 fantasy points via FantasyData, the 12th most of any player in 2019. This also made him QB10 to finish the year, and considering how it started, I’m sure Wentz owners would take the last stretch of games.

Wentz’s detractors could point to the fact that his last four games came against the NFC East, and the fifth against the Dolphins, but considering the receiving options he had at the time, his last stretch of games was pretty damn impressive. Granted, there was a stretch of streakiness where Wentz’s numbers underwhelmed in games against the Patriots and Seahawks, so I suppose there is concern about his dynasty value in that regard.

However, one concern about the fifth-year starter’s dynasty value goes beyond his control, and that, of course, is his receiving corps. The tight ends are excellent, but Wentz’s receivers could not stop dropping the ball in 2019, at least the ones he ended up playing with. Things were so bad that at one point rookie running back Miles Sanders was considered his best receiving option.

For more on that, let’s take a look at a few of the drops Wentz had to put up with last year.

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This one goes without saying. It’s a pretty basic throw on blown coverage from the Falcons, except that Nelson Agholor forgot to make the routine catch as well. Countless criticism was aimed at Agholor for dropping many passes last season, and all of it was warranted with brutal drops like this.

I can’t say for a fact that the Eagles would end up winning this game, but this should’ve been the go-ahead touchdown. Wentz laid this out for Agholor in stride just for his receiver to hang him out to dry.

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Things only got worse the week after. This time Goedert, a tight end, comes up empty with this dropped touchdown. The Eagles were able to make it a close game at the end against the Lions, but many self-inflicted wounds prevented them from ever having a chance at securing the win.

Philly’s offense eventually scored on this drive, but not before burning two minutes after this drop. This is a dime from Wentz that’s once again in his receiver’s breadbasket, and once again his receiver can’t return the favor.

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Game tying drives also spelled doom for the Eagles offense. Agholor is once again the deliverer of death on this play, as he’s unable to haul this pass in on fourth and ten. At first glance, it looks like he’s forced to go out of his way to make an adjustment and is unable to, putting the blame on his quarterback.

That’s not the case, however. Consider the angle Agholor takes as opposed to where Wentz throws this ball. The pass is placed on Agholor’s back shoulder, so realistically the receiver should set his feet and jump up to meet the ball at his back shoulder. He never makes that move, and awkwardly tries to cradle the ball in with a backbreaking affair, failing to do so.

In charting Wentz’s passes down the field, I was able to find 12 Accurate Incompletions (as I call them), the most of any quarterback in 2019 outside of Deshaun Watson. This is not normal, and yet the Eagles’ receivers could not stop letting passes slip through their grasp.

In spite of these many setbacks, Wentz was able to carry the Eagles offense during the final stretch, putting together arguably his most impressive set of games yet. One memorable game was in week 17 against the Giants. With the season on the line, Wentz delivered and brought the Eagles their third consecutive postseason appearance.

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If it’s a secret that Wentz is a very talented quarterback, it’s a poorly kept one. He’s not as great of a scrambler as Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, or Lamar Jackson, but he’s still able to scramble and throw from different angles at a level most quarterbacks can’t anyway.

One such case is here on a designed rollout. Wentz has the athleticism and arm strength to rifle this ball across his body, and this is an excellent throw for the touchdown considering the distance the ball has to go.

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The game was close for three and a half quarters, but Wentz’s efforts made sure the Eagles never played from behind. The Giants bring a five-man rush on this play, with the edge rusher and the blitzer successfully coming in to create massive pressure. Fortunately for Philadelphia, their signal-caller comes unfazed by this, firing a perfect ball before he gets drilled to Goedert, who rewards his quarterback with a fantastic toe-tap catch down the sideline.

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Wentz’s arm strength and mobility have him frequently used on designed runs, giving him considerable success outside of the pocket. On the run, he’s able to sling this perfectly to his receiver in stride, giving him full access to the catch just before going out of bounds.

It wasn’t a perfect season by any means for Carson Wentz, but the finish in the regular season shows exactly why many Eagles faithful believe he’s a top-five quarterback. Whether or not you agree with that, I don’t think it can be denied Wentz put up an impressive December to get Philadelphia back to the playoffs.

In comparison with Mahomes and Watson, Wentz should certainly be drafted lower. Much of that has to do with the former quarterbacks’ receivers leaving lower rates of plays on the field than Philadelphia’s receivers seem to do, though Wentz can also create outside of structure when needed to. His processing isn’t as consistently sharp as both, but that’s less of an issue than the need for better wide receivers.

In the end, I’d consider drafting Wentz between rounds eight to ten at most. This depends on what the Eagles do in the off-season, but they have a talented quarterback who is able to put up big numbers in dynasty, and there’s too much promise for him as a dynasty option for the wide receivers to waste.

johnny kinsley