Nothing to see here: The last time the
Eagles had a top 12 fantasy QB was Nick Foles back in 2013.
Last season the Eagles quarterback
dilemma was whether Sam
Bradford would be healthy enough to play in Week 1 for Chip
Kellyís up tempo offense and whether he would still be around for
the fantasy playoffs in Week 14.
The luckiest man alive (at least when it comes to signing multi-million
dollar NFL contracts despite a complete lack of production or even
wins) managed to overcome two knee surgeries and be in uniform for
the start of the season. And while he did miss two games due to
injury he was still on the field for Weeks 14-16. Bradford even
threw for more than 300 yards twice (Week 15 and 16).
So you would think that would be the end of the controversy, right?
The Eagles front office has gone through massive changes this past
six months. Out went Mr. Kelly and his fast-paced offense.
In came a disciple of Andy Reid football Ė Doug Pederson.
We donít know much about what Pedersonís style is going
to look like since heís never been a head coach, but all indications
are that it will be a traditional offense. With a fullback! And
huddles! And quarterback audibles! Those are three items the Eagles
didnít believe in under Kelly.
With Kellyís departure went the general manager as well. His
replacement, the previously demoted Howie Roseman, returned from
his three-year exile of running the business side of the Eaglesí
operation. His rise from the ashes was complete when he maneuvered
the team up the draft board while dumping huge salary obligations
created by the last GM until the team was in position to draft a
top young quarterback.
And thatís just what Roseman did. Despite having signed Bradford
to a large contract along with professional clipboard-holder Chase
Daniel to an extraordinarily large backup quarterback deal,
the Eagles selected Carson
Wentz with the second pick of the 2016 draft. All told, Philadelphia
will spend $22.3 million at the quarterback position this upcoming
But fantasy owners donít care about the teamís salary
We want to know which one of their three quarterbacks under contract
will be the Eagles starting quarterback on Opening Day and how well,
or poorly, will he perform. We want to know whether we can count
on said quarterback to produce solid fantasy statistics week-in
and week-out. And we want to know whether that quarterback will
still be around as we make our drive for the fantasy playoffs and
the fantasy championship.
Across the state in Pittsburgh, thatís an easy question to
answer for the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger. In New England its
Jimmy Garoppolo in the first four games and a well-rested Tom Brady
the remainder of the way. For the Eagles, however, itís just
a lot of question marks.
Barring a refusal to participate in summer camp, Bradford will be
the Eagles starting quarterback on Opening Day. But in this new
ďold-styleĒ offense with the same old receivers (yes, the Eagles
Randle, but he will likely be the No. 3 receiver behind holdovers
Matthews and Nelson
Agholor) Bradford is no better than a fantasy backup. A bye
week replacement. A bad matchup replacement on the weeks when a
starting quarterback is up against the tough Seattle Seahawks in
CenturyLink Field or the Broncos at Mile High.
Or as an injury replacement. Now thatís ironic.
In the latest fantasyfootballcalculator.com mock draft, Bradford
is going in the 15th round (ADP 170.9).
If Bradford gets hurt, early in the season, my gut says Daniels
steps in. Thatís a red flag for fantasy owners as heís
been a backup in New Orleans and Kansas City for the last six seasons
and managed to throw just 77 passes in that time. Not being able
to beat out Drew Brees (four seasons of more than 5,000 yards) is
one thing, not surpassing Alex Smith in Kansas City says a lot more
about Danielsí ability as a starting quarterback. In three
seasons at the helm of the Kansas City Chiefs, Smith has never thrown
for more than 3,500 yards or for more than 23 touchdowns.
When the inevitable Bradford injury happens and it is later in the
season, or the Eagles play themselves out of playoff contention
in the NFL East, I believe we would see Wentz under center. I would
not, however, want my fantasy playoffs dependent on how Wentz plays
those first few games.
Wentz has all the physical attributes to be a good quarterback -strong
arm, size, running ability. He scored a 29 on the Wonderlic test
(QB average is 24). The question is how quickly will he be able
to adapt to the NFL? This situation will not be Russell Wilson beating
out Matt Flynn. Wilson was much more ďNFL readyĒ after
playing at North Carolina State and Wisconsin. Wentz was playing
against inferior talent at North Dakota State. His opponents in
2016: Weber State, South Dakota State and Montana, to name a few.
There are no Richard Shermanís or Patrick Petersonís
playing at Jacksonville State.
Since 1970 there have been five FCS quarterbacks selected in the
first round of the NFL draft. I researched the first four games
in their rookie season (I see no way Wentz plays more than that
in 2016) and the results were not very good. See below.
I believe Wentz to be a top-10 quarterback Ö eventually. Not
in 2016. But by 2017 he will be the Eagles official starter and
by 2018 when the Eagles have added more weapons on offense, Wentz
will be a valuable fantasy asset, a top-10 option.
Dynasty leagues should make Wentz a target this season, but redraft
leagues should ignore all three Philadelphia quarterbacks.
Steve Schwarz served as the fantasy sports editor of The Sports Network and is the 2014 FSWA Football Writer of the Year.