Carson Wentz: Making the 2nd Year Leap

Full Disclosure: I was born and raised in Philadelphia and am currently an Eagles season ticket holder. Suffice (it) to say, I Bleed Green. I preface that because anyone who knows Philly sports fans knows that we are most critical of our own. With that caveat, I turn my focus to Carson Wentz who was by most accounts solid in guiding the Eagles to a 7-9 record in his rookie season. Diving deeper we unveil a tale of 3 mini-seasons.

The 2016 Season

Games TD INT Wins Losses
First 4 7 1 3 1
Next 8* 5 10 2 6
Last 4 4 3 2 2
Total 16 14 7 9

*Lane Johnson 10 game PED suspension started Week 5

Wentz came out of the gate on fire posting a 7:1 TD/INT ratio in his first 4 (3-1) NFL starts. Opponent’s defensive adjustments and the onset of right tackle Lane Johnson’s 10 game suspension in Week 5 led to a quick fall from grace. Wentz struggled to the tune of an unsightly 5:10 TD/INT ratio to go along with a 2-6 record during that span. But it was the last 4 games of the season that really provided me a glimpse into Wentz’ NFL future.

I’m not going to try to sell you on Wentz counting stats (233 yds./gm and 4:3 TD/INT ratio) and record (2-2) as reasons to buy into his dynasty progression. It was the game tape and Wentz QBR (he posted his 2nd, 3rd and 4th highest single-game ratings in those 4 weeks) that showed me an ascending talent ready to take the next step in the QB maturation process.

The Supporting Cast

As we all know an elite QB can make the talent around him much better but the Brady, Brees, and Rodgers of the world don’t exactly grow on trees. But also keep in mind those guys are throwing to the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas and Jordy Nelson amongst others. To that end having a strong supporting cast is an essential component to attaining fantasy greatness. Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, Dorial Green-Beckham, Darren Sproles, Nelson Agholor and Trey Burton all saw 60 or more targets from Wentz last year. Not exactly a murderer’s row of pass catchers with only one, Matthews (11.0 yds./rec) reaching the 11 yds./rec threshold.

The lack of any dynamic pass catching options was only further compounded by his wide receivers failing to secure their targets at even a league average rate. The following chart represents the Eagles primary wide receivers in 2016. I don’t think that I can overstate the impact that a lack of sure-handed, viable targets can mean to a QBs success.

Player Pos Team Rec Drops Targets Targets % Drop %
Jordan Matthews WR PHI 73 6 117 62.40% 5.10%
Dorial Green-Beckham WR PHI 36 4 74 48.60% 5.40%
Nelson Agholor WR PHI 36 4 69 52.20% 5.80%

For simplicities sake let’s just swap out Green-Beckham with Alshon Jeffery and Agholor with Torrey Smith (much like the Eagles plan to do this year).

Player Pos Team Rec Drops Targets Targets % Drop %
Alshon Jeffery WR CHI 52 1 94 55.30% 1.10%
Torrey Smith WR SF 20 2 49 40.80% 4.10%
Jordan Matthews WR PHI 73 6 117 62.40% 5.10%

It doesn’t take a MENSA member to see that the Eagles most sure handed WR in 2016 would place a distance 3rd when compared to his new running mates. While Alshon Jeffery might not come with the cleanest bill of health, he consistently posts sub 5% Drop Rates and has been throw to from the likes of Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley and Jimmy Clausen the last few years.

Making the Leap

Comparing Wentz against his contemporaries is a difficult proposition given the largely unusual circumstances surrounding his meteoric rise from Division-1AA (FCS) to the NFL. Given that, I chose to select a strong baseline comparison in fellow FCS alum Joe Flacco (Delaware Blue Hens) and two future superstars in Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Wentz shares the same draft pedigree and early rookie year starts with each of the aforementioned quarterbacks.

Player Year Age Tm G GS Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Y/G Rate QBR
J. Flacco 2008 23 BAL 16 16 60 2971 14 3.3 12 2.8 185.7 80.3 49.1
J. Flacco 2009 24 BAL 16 16 63.1 3613 21 4.2 12 2.4 225.8 88.9 61.6
            3.1 642 7 0.9 0 -0.4 40.1 8.6 12.5
J. Winston 2015 21 TAM 16 16 58.3 4042 22 4.1 15 2.8 252.6 84.2 60.9
J. Winston 2016 22 TAM 16 16 60.8 4090 28 4.9 18 3.2 255.6 86.1 64.7
            2.5 48 6 0.8 3 0.4 3 1.9 3.8
M. Mariota 2015 22 TEN 12 12 62.2 2818 19 5.1 10 2.7 234.8 91.5 51.6
M. Mariota 2016 23 TEN 15 15 61.2 3426 26 5.8 9 2 228.4 95.6 64.9
-1 486.4 7 0.7 -1 -0.7 -6.4 4.1 13.3
Comp 2nd Yr Leap AVG           1.5 392.1 6.7 0.8 0.7 -0.2 12.2 4.9 9.9
                             
C. Wentz 2016 24 PHI 16 16 62.4 3782 16 2.6 14 2.3 236.4 79.3 52.8
2017 Leap Totals           63.9 4174.1 22.7 3.4 14.7 2.1 248.6 84.2 62.7

Projections of this nature can be dangerous because it only looks at historical trends and assumes static conditions across the board. With that said, Wentz simply possesses those tangible and intangible qualities necessary to be a successful NFL, and more important to this article, a successful Dynasty QB.

What if I told you that Wentz would post a 2017 stat line of 4200-23-15 with another 200 or so rushing yards and 1-2 TD’s? Would you consider that to be a successful season?

Well, that would’ve landed him right around QB11 last year which was none other than Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.

Passing Rushing Receiving Misc Fum Fantasy
Rank Player Yds TD Int Yds TD Yds TD Fum TD 2PT Lost Points
11 Russell Wilson 4219 21 11 259 1 14 1 1 2 268.06

Why it will happen

  • *Improved WR core
  • *Continuity on the Offensive Line
  • *Scheme Consistency
  • *Issues in the Eagles Defensive Secondary
  • *Competitive Division
  • *Only 6 games vs. teams ranked as a Top 10 Pass Defense per Football Outsiders 2016 DEFENSE EFFICIENCY
  •   RATINGS

The Dynasty arrow is pointing squarely up for Carson Wentz as they build this Eagles offense around him for 2017 and beyond.

For more Carson Wentz dynasty love follow me on Twitter @DFF_Walk.

References:

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/phi/2016.htm

https://www.sportingcharts.com/nfl/stats/drops/2016/

http://fantasy.nfl.com/research/scoringleaders#researchScoringLeaders=researchScoringLeaders%2C%2Fresearch%2Fscoringleaders%253Fposition%253D1%2526sort%253Dpts%2526statCategory%253Dstats%2526statSeason%253D2016%2526statType%253DseasonStats%2Creplace

 

mwalker

Diehard Eagles fan, World’s Okayest Dad and Dynasty / IDP Writer for the Dynasty Football Factory.

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