Carson Wentz already won the 2017 off-season.
Away from the field, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has gained attention for his mission trips, hospital visits and even getting students out of final exams. He’s stayed active tweeting, snapping and Instagraming—obviously adding “increase thumb strength” to his off-season regime.
Aside from all his off-the-field adventures, Wentz has also been a popular topic amongst fantasy analysts too. If the upcoming NFL season was a high school yearbook, Wentz has already been labeled “most likely to succeed.” And, the season is still months away.
Expectations are astronomical for the 24-year-old signal caller despite a below-average rookie campaign. After a 3-0 start, the Eagles lost five of the last seven games. In those final seven starts, Wentz threw nine interceptions while only producing seven touchdowns. He finished as the 24th-ranked fantasy quarterback in standard leagues.
Yet, on paper, there is reason for optimism. The question fantasy owners must ask: Is any increase in production enough to suddenly vault Wentz into must-own territory?
The answer: Yes and no. This isn’t fence-sitting. Wentz’ fantasy value is totally dependent on your roster construction and league format.
Find out if Wentz is an ideal target for your team by also asking yourself these three questions.
Will his new receivers add enough value?
Most of the hype surrounding Wentz has revolved around his new weapons.
With the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, the Eagles have instantly become one of the league’s best receiving units. Add in returning starters Zach Ertz and Jordan Matthews, and Wentz now has an NFL-caliber arsenal.
However, this massive overhaul may not translate into fantasy production.
Wentz may have better targets but that doesn’t mean he will throw more. In fact, he already ranked fifth in attempts last season (607). It’s difficult to expect him to repeat those totals. When he did throw, it was rarely downfield, averaging the league’s fourth lowest yard per attempt (6.2).
When should he be drafted?
It won’t be hard to draft Wentz if you want him.
Current ADP results show Wentz being drafted as one of the last picks in the 11th round. Surprisingly, there are 16 other quarterbacks taken off the board before him.
Unless you absolutely must have Wentz, just pass. There are better options available. You’d be better served taking Andy Dalton or Tyrod Taylor, who were both top 12 quarterbacks last year and are still being drafted behind Wentz. Or, use that late-round pick on another sleeper option but at a much scarcer position.
What formats make him most useful?
Best-case scenario: Wentz emerges as bonafide star next season. The most likely outcome, however, is that he improves but more modestly. Wentz projects somewhere in the 13th-19th quarterback range.
While this is trending in the right direction, it isn’t enough to make him a legitimate starter in one-quarterback leagues. He should be viewed as a bye-week fill-in or matchup play. In two-quarterback leagues, owners should target him as a second starter with potential to produce more.
Knowing your league and your opponents is critical also. If most owners carry a backup, Wentz becomes draftable even if just to stash him on your bench. If most teams only take one quarterback, then leave Wentz on the waiver wire and just keep tabs on him.