Dynasty: 3 QBs to trade away NOW

Trade away Carson Wentz

Intro

Yes! the 2021 NFL season is a week in the books. However, dynasty football is a year-round marathon. There’s so much work that goes into watching games, analyzing the tape, studying tendencies, etc. to draft players in dynasty leagues that will help build your squad over the long run.

Much like the NFL hitching your wagon to the right QB will do wonders for your team and allow you to build from the ground up. Today we’ll discuss a couple of QBs that you want to trade away on your dynasty teams. These are players that I’m projecting to not be in ideal spots for the long haul thus will not pay dividends in dynasty leagues. Let’s get started!

Quarterbacks

Carson Wentz – Now, I expect Wentz to have an okay season and he will probably start every game. He has one of the best offensive lines in front of him and improved talent around him from a year ago. However, since we are talking dynasty QBs, Wentz isn’t an option long term.

It’s not that Wentz doesn’t produce solid numbers, however, he isn’t that oomph he had before his ACL and LCL tear in his left knee in 2017. Wentz also doesn’t provide the rushing upside as most of these younger QBs have. He is limited to being a pocket QB with limited mobile upside. With a shift in the league with how GMs are drafting QBs it makes the most sense to trade away Wentz, get decent draft capital back for him and trade for younger rookie QBs or wait til the 2022 NFL to draft a replacement.

Wentz may really not be the best short-term QB as “some” may have foreseen. Wentz was slightly a game manager against an okay Seattle defense from a year ago. If Wentz doesn’t play above average this year, it should be expected that he won’t have strong job security with his contract — not to mention the roster built for a QB to win now.

Daniel Jones – This is a make-or-break year for Jones. He has enough offensive talent around him along with Saquon Barkley returning. There is no excuse for Jones not to step up and deliver. However, the question is will he?? Simple answer is, no!

Jones is behind an awful offensive line. This is a huge concern and has been for a while now. I just don’t see Jones getting rid of the fumble/turnover issues that have plagued him for his first two seasons in the NFL. At this point, it might be time to cut bait and start over. There are so many talented rookie QBs this season that much greater talent around them and opportunity that Jones isn’t worth holding onto any longer.

In Week 1, Jones showed his lack of explosion as he just had 267 yards and a single touchdown. Jones has weapons galore and he’s young, so take that to your advantage in selling him now!

Jalen Hurts – Staying in the NFC East, Hurts is another QB that you need to trade away. He has tremendous upside in fantasy with his rushing ability and had a great last season last year but Hurts isn’t the long-term answer in dynasty leagues. I really don’t see much talent arm-wise.

Hurts actually played quite well last week. I don’t expect him to maintain a high quality of play or the HC-QB combo to have a fruitful career in the city of brotherly love. Although, there are A LOT of die hard Hurts fans and they sincerely bought into the hype he gathered from lots of analysts this offseason. Now after a solid Week 1 showcase against the atrocious Falcons pass defense, I would ship him off your roster.

Conclusion

As mentioned above in the intro, it takes time to scout good talent, especially in the quarterback position. However, if you are holding onto QBs like the ones above just because of one or two decent seasons then you aren’t planning correctly for the future of your dynasty squad. A huge part of the dynasty is to know when to cut bait, take your losses and move on. Sure, this can be time-consuming and a bit annoying but hey, it’s just fantasy! Have fun and enjoy being a GM!

By: Sukhwant Singh

Twitter: SinghisKing908

Why Frank Reich could win Coach of the Year

Can the Colts head coach win COTY?

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

According to the Draft Kings Sports Book, head coach Frank Reich of the Indianapolis Colts has odds of +2500 to win Coach of the Year in the 2021 NFL season. This really could be an excellent value choice, or a “sleeper” pick, considering his situation this year. The award is not strictly based on who coached the team with the most wins, but instead, it takes into serious consideration the relative success of the team compared to several other factors such as major organizational changes, overcoming adversity, and exceeding team expectations. Using this criterion, Reich has a real chance to win the Coach of the Year award this season.

The Carson Wentz Factor

Nothing qualifies more as a major change than making a blockbuster trade to acquire a quarterback in the “prime” of their career while also being in the middle of a huge contract. That is exactly what the Colts did this offseason when they made a move for Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for two draft picks. The move wasn’t so much about how much the Colts gave up to get Wentz, but more about taking on the money that he is still owed despite coming off of an extremely disappointing season in 2020. He is signed through the 2024 season and the Colts owe him nearly 100 million dollars over that span.

This could be a very solid deal for the Colts if they are getting the MVP caliber version of Wentz but that may not be the case. Back in the 2018 season, Wentz was having the best season of his career before suffering an unfortunate season ending injury. Through 11 games that year, he completed 69.6 percent of his passes for 3074 yards with 21 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions. His 2020 season, comparatively, was an absolute disaster. In 12 games, before being benched for rookie Jalen Hurts, he completed just 57.4 percent of his passes for 2620 yards with 16 touchdowns and an alarming 15 interceptions. This is clearly a major drop off and what really makes this trade a huge risk for the Colts.

One of the main reasons why the Colts acquired Wentz is because of Frank Reich. When Wentz was having his success in Philadelphia, Reich was actually their offensive coordinator. The belief is that by reuniting the pair in Indianapolis, it will help Wentz get back to the version of himself that was one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. This is the type of move that really could be make or break for the head coaching job of Reich. If it works out the way they hope it does, the Colts are a sleeper to be contenders for the Super Bowl, and will greatly improve the chances of Reich winning Coach of the Year. If it doesn’t, then the contract will set the franchise back several years by wasting a team roster that is built to win now, and could even cost Reich his job.

Team Expectations

Last season, with Philip River as their quarterback, the Colts finished with an 11-5 record and made an appearance in the NFL playoffs. They believe that Wentz is a significant upgrade at quarterback, despite the fact that Rivers had a much better season than Wentz last year. In 16 games, Rivers completed 68 percent of his passes for 4169 yards with 24 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Regardless, if the Colts are right that they improved at this position, while keeping the large majority of the rest of the roster together, then it’s fair to expect an even more successful campaign in the 2021 NFL season. If this is true, that means that the Colts will not only make the playoffs this season, but advance further than their first round exit last season. All things considered, if the Colts are able to accomplish their goals this season, then Reich will be right in the mix to win the Coach of the Year award.

Projecting the floor and ceiling of Carson Wentz in Indianapolis

Will Carson Wentz do well as an Indianapolis Colt?

By: Trenton Roberts (Twitter: @TRobertsNFL)

On February 18th, the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles announced a trade: starting quarterback Carson Wentz was shipped to Indy in exchange for a pair of picks, those being a 2021 third and a 2022 conditional second. Had this trade happened even so much as a year earlier, there is no possibility of it going down, as Wentz was coming off another solid 2019 season in which he broke 4,000 yards for the first time in his career and threw just seven interceptions to 27 touchdowns.

After the 2020 season, however, there are people that will say the trade is equal in value for both sides, and even some that will tell you the Eagles won by getting rid of Wentz. So, what happened?

Well, if you didn’t follow anything related to the Eagles in 2020, I’ll quickly get you up to speed. To put it simply, Wentz absolutely fell apart. Without a competent offense surrounding him, and with the offensive line in shambles due to the injury bug, the Eagles stumbled their way to a 4-11-1 record, dead last in the worst division in football, the NFC East, and second worst in the conference behind the 4-12 Falcons. 

Prior to getting benched in the final quarter of the season, Wentz accumulated a league-leading 15 interceptions to just 16 touchdowns in 12 games. What is even more impressive is that, despite playing four fewer games than most quarterbacks, Wentz led the league in sacks with 50, averaging out to just over four sacks each game. It is also telling that only a single receiver netted over 50 catches on the season, that being Greg Ward, and only Ward, Travis Fulgham, and tight end Dallas Goedert tallied more than 400 receiving yards. The offense surrounding the struggling quarterback was horrendous, but Wentz had issues of his own.

For those who watched any of the Eagles games in 2020 and compared them to his tape from prior seasons, it was obvious that Wentz was not the same quarterback he was before. Perhaps it was the lack of protection, a true top target, or something else, but Wentz developed a multitude of bad habits throughout the season, turning him from a budding young star into arguably the worst quarterback in the NFL.

Now, in 2021, it’s on Colts head coach Frank Reich to see if he can reignite the magic that was displayed when he was the offensive coordinator for Wentz’s MVP-caliber season in 2017. However, it is far from smooth sailing for the pair, as the coaching staff will need to work out Wentz’s aforementioned bad habits in order to get him back to his prior self. However, unlike in Philadelphia, Carson Wentz will have many of the pieces he needs to round back into form.

The Indianapolis Colts house one of the league’s top offensive lines, with superstar left guard Quenton Nelson heading the charge. The unit allowed just 21 sacks in 2020, tied for the second fewest in the league, and their 71 sacks allowed since 2018 is the second fewest over that time period, just one more than the 70 allowed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite losing cornerstone left tackle Anthony Castonzo to retirement at the beginning of the offseason, the team has adequately replaced him with former Chiefs bookend Eric Fisher and pinch-starters in Sam Tevi and Julién Davenport. With Wentz looking good behind top offensive lines from 2017-2019, he should be able to rely on the big guys up front once again in order to boost his own confidence.

The offensive line isn’t the only improvement, however. In Philadelphia, Wentz struggled to get things going while passing to 2017 UDFA Greg Ward, oft-injured tight ends Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz, an inexperienced Travis Fulgham, and rookie receiver Jalen Reagor, none of whom spark fear into opponents. In Indianapolis, Wentz will unite with former league-leader T.Y. Hilton, sophomore breakout-candidate Michael Pittman Jr., and tight ends Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox to form the passing offense. Throw in dynamic receiving back Nyheim Hines and wide receivers Parris Campbell and Zach Pascal, and Wentz is entering a much better situation than he saw in 2020.

Along with a strong rushing attack that saw 2020 rookie running back Jonathan Taylor finish third in the NFL in rushing and is set to return former 1,000-yard rusher Marlon Mack into the picture, and Wentz has all the tools there to be successful once again. However, the question again returns to whether he can get rid of all the bad habits that arose in the 2020 season in order to return to his full potential. If Reich and Co. can release Wentz from his shackles and round him back into shape, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see the former star reach 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns through the air with the team surrounding him. Should he continue to struggle as he did for much of the 2020 season, there is a chance he could even end up on the bench in favor of 2020 4th-rounder Jacob Eason or 2021 6th-rounder Sam Ehlinger. Whether he regains his star form or is benched for the second time in as many seasons is ultimately up to the 28-year old from North Dakota State University.

Top QB sleepers in redraft

Wentz is a top QB sleeper in fantasy

Intro

We are speeding into fantasy draft season come August. Every year there are players that intrigue us based on their role/situation with their current teams. I’d take a look at the quarterback position and dive into three sleepers at QB that should be looked into for redraft leagues.

Carson Wentz, Sam Darnold and Ryan Fitzpatrick are my QB sleepers heading into the 2021 NFL fantasy redraft drafts. Each one of these guys are now on teams and hoping a fresh start can start can get them into the upper tier of QB fantasy rankings.

Carson Wentz

Season 2020 stats: 12 games started, 2620 passing yards, 16 TDs and 15 Ints. Wentz went 3-8-1 in the 12 games started for the Eagles. Wentz scored 213.40 fantasy points in 2020 which was good for 22nd among all QBs. After having an MVP caliber season back in 2017, he has never been quite the same. For whatever the reasons might be, Wentz lost that magic touch.

Wentz was traded in the off-season to Colts is now re-united with his old offensive coordinator Frank Reich. The 2017 season was a breakout one for Wentz, he threw 33 TDs, 7 INTs, and 3296 passing yards before he tore his left ACL in week 14. Wentz was fifth-best fantasy QB that season with a total of 283 fantasy points.

I’m fully on board with the Wentz fantasy train this season. The reunion of Wentz with his old offensive coordinator will do wonders for his career especially this season. He also playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Do not sleep on Wentz as a top 15 fantasy QB play for the 2021 season.

Sam Darnold

Season 2020 stats: 12 games started, 2208 passing yards, 9 TDs and 11 Ints. Yes, you guys read that correctly just nine passing touchdowns all season by Darnold! He was the 30th QB in terms of fantasy points with just 145.02. Just for context Dak Prescott had 138 fantasy points in just 5 games before his injury.

Darnold is an enigma of sorts. He has shown flashes of brilliance, making off-balance throws and escapability out of the pocket. The issue is that he’s just shown flashes. There have been way too many mind-numbing turnovers, head-scratching decisions, and just downright awful QB play. Now, Darnold was also playing with the worst offensive line unit in the NFL for the past three seasons. He had no standout play-makers who would scare the opposing defenses and the worst head coach the last two seasons.

However, that is all in the past. I am a believer in Darnold’s ability. After being traded in the off-season to the Carolina Panthers, he has a clean slate. With head coach Matt Rhule at the helm, Darnold is set to prove his doubters wrong. He has the best running back in the NFL in Christian McCaffrey, with a plethora of other offensive weapons including rookie wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr.

Darnold has the best supporting cast and coaching staff he has ever been around. There is no question that Darnold has the talent, it was always when he can put it all together and be consistent. Darnold in terms of fantasy relevance will be late round steal. Yes, let others in your draft snag the highly touted QBs while you build roster depth. A serviceable QB in the late rounds of fantasy drafts is a gold mine. Darnold will be a late round hidden gem.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Season 2020 stats: 7 games started, 2091 passing yards, 13 TDs and 8 Ints. Ah, the ageless wonder himself, old man winter etc. the names can go on and on for Fitzpatrick but he just keeps on. Fitzpatrick was the 28th fantasy QB last season with 160.74 fantasy points.

Leaving the Miami Dolphins in the off-season for the Washington Football team is the best win-now scenario for Fitzpatrick. That defense is absolutely loaded and going to wreak havoc this upcoming season. As far as offensively, Fitzpatrick has arguably the best talent that he’s been around, maybe ever. Antonio Gibson is a rock star and Terry McLaurin is an absolute stud. The team signed all-purpose wide receiver Curtis Samuel and drafted rookie, Dyami Brown.

Under coach Ron Rivera, Fitzpatrick can flourish in that system with those play-makers on offense. The best part is that he knows that defense will back him up no matter what, so you could essentially see a looser Fitzpatrick not having to carry the entire team on his back. Look for Fitzpatrick to be another late round grab in fantasy drafts.

Sukhwant Singh

SinghisKing908

3 GMs that lost this NFL offseason

Did the Packers GM lose this offseason?

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

The NFL offseason is now more than halfway complete. Between free agency, trades, and the draft it has been eventful as always. Teams have opened camps and players are coming together to start preparing for the upcoming season. The goal of every offseason for a GM is to make roster moves that will improve the team moving forward. Most of the GMs were able to accomplish that this year, but there are some that definitely did not. There are teams that will head into the 2021 season in a worse situation than 2020 because of decisions made by the GM of the team. Here are three that were the biggest losers this offseason.

Green Bay Packers: Brian Gutekunst

The Packers find themselves in a very messy situation right now, and that is mostly because Aaron Rodgers is unhappy with the direction of the team. He feels so strongly that he has not yet reported to the team for camp and rumor has it that he will refuse to play for them this year. He wants out of Green Bay and at least for now is apparently insisting that he would rather sit out this season than play for the Packers if he is not traded to another team. If Rodgers is this unhappy, it is an epic fail by the front office lead by Gutekunst.

Like it or not, when an organization is lucky enough to have a quarterback like Rodgers, they must do everything in their power to keep him happy. He is a once-in-a-lifetime type of player and widely considered a top-five quarterback in NFL history. He is a three-time NFL MVP, a Super Bowl champion, and a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. For as long as he is there, the organization needs to cater to him. He gives the team a real chance to win every game each season no matter what the rest of the roster looks like. He is an absolute luxury and they should be grateful to have him. If organizational decisions have made Rodgers so unhappy that he refuses to play for them anymore, then Gutekunst failed massively at his job.

In addition to the Rodgers disaster, the Packers made some questionable roster moves this offseason as well. First, they gave running back Aaron Jones a big contract extension. This is a bit of an odd decision because they just used a second-round pick on AJ Dillon, who has looked good. The money used on Jones could have better been used to keep center Corey Linsley while transitioning the starting running back job to Dillon. The Packers also gave cornerback Kevin King an extension but still used a first-round draft pick on another corner, which is a questionable strategy as well. All things considered, Gutekunst had the worst offseason of any GM this year and if Rodgers really does not come back, it was historically terrible.

Indianapolis Colts: Chris Ballard

The Colts made an enormous gamble this offseason by trading for quarterback Carson Wentz, who struggled so much with the Eagles last season that he lost his starting job to rookie Jalen Hurts. A strong case can be made that Wentz was the worst starting quarterback in the entire NFL last season after throwing 15 interceptions in just 12 games and recording an abysmal 57 completion percentage. This didn’t stop Ballard from acquiring him in hopes that head coach Frank Reich could get Wentz back to his old form before the injuries and extreme drop-off in production. After all, Reich was with Wentz in Philadelphia when he was playing by far his football.

The idea that Wentz is going to magically return to an MVP candidate after how bad he has been, is a serious long shot. The move may have been worth the risk for Ballard if the price was cheap enough, but that is far from the case. Besides the huge financial burden that Wentz brings with him, which is over 20 million in 2021 and 27 million in 2022, the Colts had to surrender valuable draft picks as well. They sent to the Eagles a third-round pick in 2021 as well as a 2022 conditional pick that will be either a first or second-rounder. The condition is that if Wentz plays at least 75 percent of the snaps for the Colts this season, the pick becomes a first-rounder.

The condition set on the pick is a losing one for Ballard unless Wentz becomes a superstar immediately, which is highly unlikely right now. The Colts can only retain their first-round pick if Wentz does not play over 75 percent of the snaps. There are only two ways that can happen and neither of them is good. It would mean either Wentz once again got injured or he continues to play so terribly as he did with the Eagles that he loses his job in Indianapolis as well. If he does play enough snaps, he would have to have a spectacular season to justify the price tag of a first and third-round pick to go with a nearly 50 million dollar salary hit over the next two years. When weighing risk versus reward, this was a terrible trade by Ballard and is the reason why he was one of the biggest losers this offseason.

Las Vegas Raiders: Mike Mayock

What Mayock did to the Raiders offensive line this offseason was baffling. He turned one of the best units in the entire NFL into one of the worst and didn’t get any real value for it in return. Tackle Trent Brown and center Rodney Hudson are elite at their positions and two of the better offensive lineman in the entire league while guard Gabe Jackson is a very solid player as well. All three of them were traded away this offseason, in addition to two seventh-round draft picks, and in return, the Raiders received just one third-round pick and two fifth-round picks. Rebuilding and retooling is sometimes a good idea and maybe Mayock felt it was time to do that to the offensive line. The problem is not necessarily what he gave away but there is no denying that he did a terrible job at getting back proper value.

Since taking over as the GM of the Raiders, Mayock has been questionable at best when it comes to the NFL Draft. He has often reached on players by over-drafting them when they would likely be available for him to select at a later time. A good draft strategy should be about getting the best value for your selection and Mayock has not done a great job at that. This year was no different when he selected offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood with the 17th overall pick. He may very well be a great tackle in the NFL but if that was the guy they wanted, they could have traded down to get him while receiving additional draft capital at the same time. Mayock did an awful job at maximizing the value of his transactions and that is why he had one of the worst offseasons.

Three reasons why Carson Wentz could struggle with the Colts

By: Reese Nasser

Quarterback Carson Wentz will be entering his sixth year in the NFL come the beginning of the 2021 season. The former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback has found a new home for himself: The Indianapolis Colts. 

Carson Wentz has had an NFL career that has been full of highs and lows. Over the course of his five-year career, he has played in 16 games just twice. Injuries have plagued his career and have kept him from being the QB that many people thought that he could be when he entered the NFL as the second overall pick in the 2016 draft. 

When healthy, Wentz has proven to be a capable starter. He has made big plays and is considered a true leader in the NFL world. During the Eagles super bowl run in 2017, Wentz had the best season of his career. He was an MVP front runner and his play spoke for itself.

The second-year quarterback led the Eagles to a record of 11-2. He threw for 33 touchdowns and looked to be on pace to become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. This was until a torn ACL in week 14 ended his season. 

While the Eagles still went onto win the super bowl, led by quarterback Nick Foles, Wentz still played an integral part in putting them into that position. His leadership and elite play through 13 games helped the Eagles secure their spot in the playoffs.

The injuries began with the torn ACL in week 14 of the 2017 season for Wentz. Since then he has dealt with  injuries nearly every year of his career. 

In 2018, even after coming off of the torn ACL, Wentz was ready to go by week three. He led the Eagles through 11 games and had a record of 5-6. He lasted until week 14 when the Eagles decided to end his season early. This early shutdown was due to a back injury that Wentz fought throughout the majority of the season. Yet again, the Eagles turned to Foles and he once again pulled off a playoff miracle. Their season came to an end in the NFC Divisional round. 

As the 2019 season was under way, Wentz began to look like his old self again. He played in all 16 games and his stat line was impressive. He threw 27 touchdowns and added another on the ground. Wentz played well but injuries came for him yet again. In the Eagles first playoff game, Wentz suffered a concussion just nine snaps into the game. There was no Nick Foles to save the day this time and the Eagles season came to an end in a game that saw the Eagles not score a single offensive touchdown. 

The 2020 season was no better for Wentz. The only difference this time being that injuries did not derail Wentz season, but instead, he derailed it himself. 

Statistically, 2020 was the worst season of Wentz’s career. He finished with a starting record of 3-8-1. He was responsible for 21 touchdowns but also threw 15 interceptions and had 10 fumbles. He was eventually replaced by rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts. 

Both the Colts and Wentz will look to bounce back in 2021. In recent years, both sides have underperformed. 

The Colts went all in last season and brought in longtime Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers. Rivers led the Colts ro an 11-5 record but didn’t make it past the AFC Wild card round. Not long after the season ended, Rivers retired and brought in Carson Wentz. 

Wentz and the Colts will both have high expectations heading into 2021, but things may not necessarily go to plan. Here are three reasons why Carson Wentz may struggle in his first season with the Indianapolis Colts. 

Injury History

As previously noted, Carson Wentz has had a difficult time staying healthy. It is difficult to make a legitimate impact if you can’t stay on the field.

Now this is no knock against Wentz. Injuries are never planned and they are impossible to avoid. But, it is difficult to discuss Wentz career up to this point without taking note of his extensive injury history. He has finished a season playing all 16 games just twice.

The injuries that have knocked Wentz out have all been significant. His injuries have varied heavily. He has dealt with hairline fractures in his ribs, concussions, a stress fracture in his back, and a torn ACL and LCL. 

None of these injuries have been easy to recover from, and while it is amazing that Wentz has continued to be resilient and work back from each injury, it can’t be ignored that he is hurt somewhat often. 

2020 proved to be an outlier for Wentz. He was able to stay healthy but his play on the field proved to be his downfall. 

Turnover Issues

Turnovers have been a mainstay throughout Wentz’s career. While he has shown that he is willing to do whatever must be done to make a play, whether that be staying in the pocket for too long, forcing a ball into a tight window, or attempting to make the play with his legs, this has also led to a high amount of turnovers. 

Wentz has been responsible for 121 touchdowns over his career: 113 passing and 8 rushing. But, he has also produced some of the highest turnover amounts while missing significant time over his five seasons in the NFL. He has thrown 50 interceptions and has fumbled 58 times. That is 108 turnovers to 121 touchdowns. The number is much closer than you would like it to be for your QB1. 

It is possible for Wentz to cut down on his turnovers. He has had three seasons where he has thrown only seven interceptions. 

The fumbling issue is more of the concern when it comes to his turnover concerns. He has never had less than nine fumbles in a season and has recorded as many as 16 in a season. 

The positive of joining the Colts is that Wentz will be protected. The Colts have one of the top rated offensive lines in the NFL and should give Wentz all the time that he needs to make a play. This protection will give Wentz an opportunity to not need to force the ball or have to make some outlandish play. 

A clean pocket has not been a consistent part of Wentz’s career up to this point. The Eagles line that Wentz was behind dealt with injuries and experienced highs and lows, much like Wentz. 

Average Wide Reciever Room

The Colts wide receiver core has depth but is still widely unproven. This could prove to impact Wentz more than some may think. 

Every great quarterback in the NFL has a reliable main target. Josh Allen has Stefon Diggs. Patrick Mahomes has Tyreek Hill. Tom Brady has Mike Evans. But who does Wentz have? Let’s look at the wide receiver options in Indianapolis. 

T.Y. Hilton is the longest tenured receiver out of the core, so we will start with him. He is a proven receiver and has spent his entire nine year career with the Colts

During his time in Indianapolis, he has produced great nu,hers and has been a catalyst on the offense. While he has never been a high touchdown producing machine, with just 50 career touchdowns, he is a reliable receiver. He has hauled in 608 receptions and is on pace to potentially reach 10,000 career receiving yards this season.

While age has not necessarily caught up with Hilton, his production has slowly begun to decrease. Even after playing in 15 games, the most of any core Colts receiver, Hilton still only had 56 receptions on 93 targets. These 56 catches led to just five touchdown receptions and 762 yards. This upcoming season, Hilton will still be available but may potentially take on more of a leadership role where the younger receivers can learn from him. Even with being a main target in Indianapolis, he is not to the caliber of an elite WR1 anymore. 

The next man up will be second year receiver Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman showed promise in his first year with the Colts. The 34th overall pick caught 40 receptions and had just over 500 receiving yards. 

Pittman dealt with lingering issues and played in 13 games last season. The Colts have high hopes for Pittman and will look for him to be Wentz’s main target this upcoming season. But can Pittman be a WR1? That is not yet something he has proven. 

The core after Hilton and Pittman is somewhat interesting. Zach Pascal has been an anchor for this group. He will be entering his fourth season and his production has been eerily similar over his first few years in the NFL. 

His 2019 and 2020 numbers are nearly identical across the board. He has 623 and 629 yards from scrimmage in each respective season. He also had 43 and 44 touches and also had five touchdowns in each season. 

Third year receiver Parris Campbell is the most unproven of the four. Over the course of his two seasons in the NFL, Campbell has appeared in just nine career games. He has 24 career receptions, 198 yards, and one touchdown. 

Injuries have been Campbells downfall up to this point. He was a talented playmaker during his time at Ohio State and will look to return to form this season. 

When looking at the combined stats of these four receivers, they are seemingly all on par with each other. There is no alpha in the room and that may prove to hurt Wentz. While it is nice to have reliable players at the position, a clear number one target would be even more beneficial. A star receiver in this group, whether it be one of these guys taking a leap towards stardom, or going out and getting one for Wentz, could be what he needs to not struggle. 

Wentz could potentially reach back into his bag and play like he did during his 2018 run, or he could pick up where he left off last season. There is no guarantee how he will look coming into this 2021 season. While he is easy to root for, the road back to MVP level play will not be easy to reach. 

Why Carson Wentz could be the best QB in the AFC South

Is Colts Carson Wentz the top QB in AFC South?

By: Trenton Roberts (Twitter: @TRobertsNFL)

Until recent years, the AFC South had been the laughingstock of the league. From 2011 to 2017, teams in the division accounted for a whopping 12 bottom-six finishes in the NFL. However, their fortunes began to change with a surprising run by the Jacksonville Jaguars to the AFC Championship game in 2017, and since then, the division has put two teams into the playoffs each season.

Currently, each team in the division is heading in a positive direction and have been building up youth for future success. After the 2021 offseason, every team is set (for the moment, more on this later) at the quarterback position, with Jacksonville drafting generational prospect Trevor Lawrence with the first pick in the draft and the Colts trading for Eagles signal caller Carson Wentz.

However, despite all the talent at the position and the recent numbers for each of the four quarterbacks, it’s Carson Wentz who stands above the rest in the division. Here’s why.

For starters, Deshaun Watson is clearly the most talented quarterback in the division, as he has shown in recent seasons by putting up huge numbers with not-so-great teams. However, the litigations taken against the young star this offseason have left major questions surrounding his availability for 2021 and beyond. This means that, should Watson not play in 2021, the team will have to shift to journeyman quarterback Tyrod Taylor to lead the offense, who, despite some past success with the Buffalo Bills, is a major downgrade.

Moving on to the Titans, Ryan Tannehill has been a fantastic game manager in the teams run-based offense, and pairs with A.J. Brown to form a good punch in the passing game, combining for 1,075 yards and 11 scores in 2020. However, despite good numbers, Tannehill is nothing more than just that: a game manager. This team is clearly Derrick Henry’s to lead, as the bruising back became just the eighth running back ever to eclipse 2,000 rushing yards in 2020. Should the team need to rely more on Tannehill, my bet is on their opponent, because though Tannehill is good, he has a ceiling that holds him back.

Finally, we get to the top pick in the draft. In Jacksonville, Trevor Lawrence has some weapons at his disposal along the lines of DJ Chark, Marvin Jones Jr, and Laviska Shenault, and will likely be handed a very long leash just based off of his name alone. Despite never playing an NFL snap, it’s easy to see the Clemson product tearing up the league in the future. However, as a rookie joining a team that just finished with a single win in 2020, he’ll have his work cut out for him, so we can’t expect too much immediately. Sporting a pristine 34-2 collegiate record, though, it shouldn’t take more than a year for Lawrence to acclimate.

And so, we are left with Carson Wentz. On paper, Wentz looks like the worst quarterback in the division, not the best. His 2020 season was arguably the worst in the league, in which he threw a career high 15 interceptions to just 16 touchdowns and was benched halfway through the year in favor of rookie second round pick Jalen Hurts. The questions on whether he can return to his past success with Indy are certainly legitimate, and he has much to prove. However, unlike Watson, he’ll be available. Unlike Tannehill, he has a high ceiling. Unlike Lawrence, he has a good team around him and experience.

With a much better offense waiting for him in Indianapolis, Carson Wentz could and should return to his MVP-level play from the Eagles 2017-18 Super Bowl season and is well situated to come out on top of a crowded quarterback competition in the division.

Why the Indianapolis Colts are AFC South favorites

Indianapolis Colts are AFC South favorites

By: Trenton Roberts (Twitter: @TRobertsNFL)

The Indianapolis Colts went into the 2021 offseason as a team in flux. After losing their starting quarterback and left tackle to retirement following the season, the team needed to fill some holes, and fast. Fast forward a few months, and the team is situated well to win the division, and should the cards fall right, they’re a young team with championship potential.

So, what happened? What makes the Colts the early favorites to hoist the AFC South Championship banner this season? Let’s dive into three reasons why Indy is poised to potentially make waves in 2021.

Which Wentz Will Arrive in Indy?

After an early offseason trade with the Philadelphia Eagles which netted Indianapolis former second overall pick Carson Wentz in exchange for a third and a future second/first, Indy solved the problem of who would be under center for the team for 2021.

The question that remains, however, is if the Colts will get pre-2020 Wentz, or the Wentz that played last season as arguably the worst quarterback in the league.

Prior to his fall in 2020, Wentz was a rising quarterback, having played at an MVP level during the Eagles 2017 Super Bowl season and overcoming injuries and poor offensive help to perform well in 2018 and 2019. The wheels suddenly fell off in 2020, however, as Wentz struggled horribly, throwing 15 interceptions in just 12 games and getting benched for 2020 second rounder Jalen Hurts halfway through their Week 13 matchup with Green Bay.

If the Colts can get an earlier version of Carson Wentz, they have the offensive line and weapons to field a top 5 offense. If he struggles again, the team could fall apart entirely.

Defensive Dominance

The 2020 Colts defense was a pleasant surprise, going from a subpar/bad unit to one of the league’s best. With the acquisition of DeForest Buckner playing a pivotal role in the improvements of the front 7, the team finally was able to field its first top-10 defense since 2007.

In the 2021 draft, Ballard improved the unit further, adding Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo in the first and second rounds, respectively. While Dayo might not see the field until the latter half of the season, Paye should come in as an impact player right away, pairing with Buckner to overcome the loss of Justin Houston in the offseason.

While the defense did perform extremely well in 2020, there is even more room for improvements in 2021. If the newcomers can make an impact early, the defense could be championship-caliber.

A New Left Tackle

After the draft had come and gone, Colts fans were upset that the team had failed to fill the massive hole left on the left side of the line by Anthony Castonzo. Free agents Sam Tevi and Julien Davenport were nothing more than backup-level players, and the team failed to draft an offensive lineman until the final round of the draft.

On Monday, May 10th, the Colts finally filled the position.

Long-time Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher, a former first-overall pick, hit free agency with one big issue holding him back: an Achilles injury suffered during the Chiefs victory over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship game.

With most projections expecting the tackle to be out for the start to the season, fans of the Colts shouldn’t immediately expect the left tackle position to be set. Instead, it will likely be one of Tevi or Davenport holding the position down for a few weeks until Fisher is ready to go.

Once he does check out as healthy, though, the team shouldn’t have any issues from a left side of the line comprised of Fisher, All-Pro Quenton Nelson, and Pro-Bowler Ryan Kelly.

Closing Thoughts

With so many questions surrounding the AFC South in 2021, the Colts seem like the team best situated to take advantage of the issues surrounding their divisional rivals. The Jaguars seem to be a year away from competing, with first-overall pick Trevor Lawrence and rookie head coach Urban Meyers likely to need time to acclimate. The Texans seem to be having issue after issue, headlined by the allegations surrounding their franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Titans, likely to be the one team with a chance to challenge the Colts, got worse in the offseason, losing many key defenders.

With the door wide open in the AFC South, the Colts are the best bet right now to lead the way in 2021.

Cam Newton, Carson Wentz, and Taysom Hill: Buy or Sell?

By: Andrew Hayslip

Let’s get into this pivotal fantasy quarterback outlook. Three controversial signal-callers are on the clock. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

  • This is 2021 1QB redraft-focused.  These conversations can be very different in the context of Dynasty and Superflex formats.
  • All buy/sell discussions are viewed through the lens of Average Draft Position (ADP) from fantasydata.com.  I might “Love” Kirk Cousins and “Hate” Aaron Rodgers (shoutout to last week’s article!) but that doesn’t mean I’m taking one over the other.  It simply represents value relative to where people are drafting them.
  • We’re talking ADPs… in April.  Things can and will change between now and your fantasy drafts.  So lets have fun and evaluate things now, but understand that they could all be moot in just a few short months.

But now lets get into the real meat.  This is going to be fun.

Cam Newton – ADP:  QB25

Verdict:  Buy

Newton burned a lot of people last year.  I was one of them.  And yet… count me back in.  I could go on and on about the new weapons in this offense and how I don’t love them.  I think they paid for a couple of players that wont quite live up to their price tags… and yet still, the offense got better.  Regardless of what the financial components look like, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are very capable tight ends, and pairing Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor with Jacobi Meyers gives a respectable albeit unexciting compliment of weapons.  This time last year, not only was Newton not on the team, but the Patriots didn’t have anywhere near that caliber of pass-catchers.

And not only has the situation around Newton improved, but its easy to forget that prior to contracting Covid-19 (weeks 1-3), Cam Newton was actually a pretty good fantasy Quarterback, averaging over 24 points per game and coming it at QB7.   The virus was very new at the time (still is) and Newton has publicly stated that after contracting it, he never quite felt like “himself.”  And I think that to some degree, we should respect that.  I don’t know how the virus affects people in the immediate future and their ability to play Quarterback.  But I’m not going to tell him he’s wrong either.

All that to say, I’m intrigued by Newton and a bounce-back in 2021.

Factor in not only another year in a Belichick/McDaniels offense, but this time with better weapons and presumably a full vaccination?  At this ADP, I think you have to at least consider it.  He’s virtually free and has fantastic upside.  For me, he’s a buy at this value.

Carson Wentz – ADP: QB21

Verdict:  Buy

Is Carson Wentz broken?  I don’t know.  You probably don’t know either.  But I don’t think I care.  Because if there’s one person who seems to think he isn’t, its Frank Reich, head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.  And that DOES mean something to me.  Because Reich traded considerable draft capital to get Wentz from the Philadelphia Eagles, setting Wentz up to be the starter for a team that considers itself good enough to compete for a Superbowl.  

The last time we saw Wentz with Reich, he was an MVP front-runner, throwing for over 3,200 yards and 33 touchdowns in just 13 games, alongside just seven interceptions.  Over that span, he was Quarterback #2 in fantasy.   Sure, it was 2017, but worth mentioning in my eyes.

But the nature of the buy isn’t that I think he will hit that level of production.  We honestly don’t know.  But what I can tell you is that he’s going late enough to justify taking the shot.  If you’re the type of manager that likes drafting a backup quarterback, why not take one that you can get virtually for free, but has top2 upside?  Just looking around at the contemporaries in this ADP range, can you say the same for the upside of Jared Goff?  Ben Roethlisberger?  Derek Carr?  Of course not.  Take the shot at the upside.  If it hits, fantastic!  If not, what did you really lose out on?  

Taysom Hill – ADP:  QB15

Verdict:  Both Buy and Sell, depending on who is named the starter

Audible Groan…  Uh oh.  Taysom Hill?  If you’ve followed me on twitter (@FF_AHayslip or @Not_Analytics) you know that this player has been a hot-button topic for me, specifically as it relates to his positional designation.  But fortunately, that isn’t the topic today.  And if you’re reading an article of mine, it never will be.

So instead, we’re going to talk about the Quarterback Taysom Hill.  And yes, I know he gets his fantasy value through means very much “non-traditional” as it relates to quarterback production.  That all gets baked in, of course.  But how he gets deployed in your lineup is as a quarterback, and that’s the crux of the conversation.  

Last caveat specifically as it relates to Taysom Hill:  I think most people expect that Jaemis Winston will be the starting Quarterback for the Saints in 2021.  I myself think that the most likely scenario based on the void years added to Hill’s contract.  But this piece will act as though Hill is the starter.  Should Winston be named as such, Hill is simply a role and gadget player who will carry virtually no fantasy value – even as a tight end, of which he should NOT be classified as such in your league.  Fun fact – the team has literally never called him a Tight End in any publication.  Its only ever been Quarterback.

But if he’s named the starting Quarterback… you’re in for some fun.  Hill started 4 games in 2020 while Drew Brees dealt with a myriad of injuries, ranging form a cracked rib to a punctured lung.  And Hill… was really pretty good.  At least as a fantasy asset, of course.  He was QB8 on a points per game basis over that span, largely on account of his rushing ability.  Its important to remember that a Quarterback that is bolstered by a rushing floor is still a highly viable fantasy asset.  Tim Tebow wasn’t the greatest passer the NFL had ever seen, but was still an extremely viable fantasy Quarterback.  Taysom Hill doesn’t have to be Drew Brees.  He can Tebow his way to fantasy glory, at which time QB15 is fantastic value.

Give Hill an offseason of knowing he’s “the guy” under center and take away his responsibilities of learning every other position on the field, and I think he can become a serviceable fantasy Quarterback for your team.  

Hopefully you enjoyed my conversational and mostly incoherent word-vomit.  If so, please feel free to hit me up on twitter (@FF_AHayslip) where I love talking anything football, be it fantasy outlooks to cap analytics and everything in between.  Until next time!

3 Top Landing Spots for Edge Rusher Yannick Ngakoue

Will the Colts Target Ngakoue?

By: Michael Obermuller

The 2020 season was a wild and turbulent ride for edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, and not just because of the pandemic. The former 2016 third round pick out of Maryland played out his rookie contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the relationship deteriorated after the Jags organization tagged Ngakoue at the start of another offseason that was widely viewed as an attempt to tank.

Hoping to test free agency in the first place, the situation became hostile when Ngakoue demanded a trade before the new season began. After a lot of feet dragging by the Jaguars, that trade request was finally granted to the Minnesota Vikings, who later flipped the pass rusher to the Baltimore Ravens before the deadline.

Ngakoue’s strength as an edge rusher is his consistency. Through five NFL seasons, he has never totaled less than 8.0 sacks, with a personal record of 12.0 in 2017. In 2020 he logged five with the Vikes and three with the Ravens, plus four forced fumbles split between the two. That performance yielded a solid 70.0 grade from Pro Football Focus.

The defensive end is more familiar with the 4-3 scheme that Jacksonville and Minnesota both utilize, but he proved that he can still flourish as a 3-4 outside linebacker with Baltimore. This versatility should help Ngakoue on the open market, as he competes with free agents like Jadeveon Clowney, Trey Hendrickson, Shaq Barrett, Melvin Ingram, Bud Dupree and more. In terms of Yannick, the question is really what franchise wouldn’t want a player of his ability, not what franchise would. With that in mind, these three landing spots are my top fits for Ngakoue.

3. New York Jets (Cap: $+72,498,042_ Rank #3)

This one makes so much sense that it probably won’t happen. The New York Jets have needed an edge rusher for what feels like decades, and yet they still have safeties and interior defensive linemen leading their team in sacks season after season. In 2020, defensive tackle Quinnen Williams led the Jets with 7.0 sacks, and next after that was journeyman edge rusher Tarell Basham with just 3.5 on the year. For a 3-4 defense dependent on blitzing, that’s downright terrible.

Now defensive guru Robert Saleh is at the helm, and it’s expected that this unit to switches over to a 4-3 in 2021. New York has very few capable defensive ends on their current roster (and they just cut one of them in Henry Anderson), so they pretty much HAVE TO target a couple edge defenders through either free agency or the draft. The Jets have the money to nab just about any free agent they want, so it will probably come down to which player Saleh and GM Joe Douglas deem worthy of the hefty price tag.

2. Indianapolis Colts (Cap: $+50,572,338_ Rank #4)

The Indianapolis Colts have done a really nice job building their roster over the years, and they always seem to have cap space to spare despite having less needs than the average NFL team. Credit GM Chris Ballard for that success, and now that the Colts have their starting quarterback Carson Wentz, they can focus on fine-tuning other weak areas.

One position that stands out is defensive end. Veteran Justin Houston is a free agent, and that gives Indy $12 million to spend on a younger replacement. Although there are plenty of free agent options at this position, Ngakoue’s speed and ferocity could really gel with Darius Leonard and this aggressive linebacking crew.

Honorable Mention: Seattle Seahawks (Cap: $+24,795,512_ Rank #15)

Even though the Seattle Seahawks should be spending their money elsewhere, like on an offensive line to block for their disgruntled franchise quarterback Russell Wilson, they probably won’t… And let’s be honest, Ngakoue is a perfect fit for this 4-3 defense that has earned its scary reputation. Carlos Dunlap has already been released and Benson Mayowa is an unrestricted free agent, opening the door for an Ngakoue signing.

1. Tennessee Titans (Cap: $7,559,660_ Rank #20)

Mike Vrabel is ALWAYS in the market for pass rush, and they just freed up $10.2 million in cap space by releasing cornerback Malcolm Butler. Last offseason the Titans brought in Vic Beasley and the aforementioned Clowney on the edge, but largely swung and missed on both free agents (their average of 1.4 sacks per game was tied for 28th in the NFL in 2020). Fast forward one year later and the void for a consistent pass rusher is larger than ever.

Tennessee must correct this weakness if they hope to compete for a Super Bowl, and not many free agent edge rushers have been as dependable as Ngakoue. So far the five-year pro has been an ironman throughout his career, playing 78 out of 80 possible games, and starting 70 of them. We already discussed his consistency getting to the quarterback as well, as he averages an impressive 9.1 sacks per campaign.

The Titans matched up against Ngakoue twice a year for four straight seasons. They know what he can do, and it’s time they added his skillset to their arsenal.

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