With only a few hours left until the kickoff of Monday Night Football, we rarely see questions surrounding a quarterback this late into the week, but with Carson Wentz’s recent struggles, question marks are surrounding the Eagles QB. Reports are swirling that Alabama and Oklahoma product Jalen Hurts will see an expanded role, and now, fantasy football managers are scrambling to figure out what this means for him, not only tonight but into the future. Do the Eagles need a change at QB, and what is Jalen Hurts’ fantasy value tonight against the Seattle Seahawks?
Jalen Hurts set to see an “increased role” on Monday night as the Eagles QB
When the Philadelphia Eagles take the field on Monday night against the Seattle Seahawks, they will do so with Carson Wentz as their starting quarterback. But for the first time, sources say, the Philadelphia QB position will see a change.
Is this the product of a finicky fan base, or is there merit to this rumor?
First reported by Tom McManus of ESPN, rookie Jalen Hurts has been getting first-team reps as the Eagles QB ahead of their Week 12 matchup. Wentz is still expected to start, but there’s been a sizeable increase in Hurts’ snaps with the first team. With the recent struggles of Carson Wentz, it’s not hard to see why the Eagles front office have started to look at what they have with Hurts.
Wentz is having by far his worst season as a pro. He is first among all players in interceptions (14), fumbles (10), and sacks (40); Wentz ranks 32nd in completion percentage (58.4), 31st in yards per attempt (6.2), and has the worst off-target percentage (23%) among all qualifiers, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Outside of his rookie season, Wentz had never thrown more than seven interceptions in a season, a total that he hit in only four games this year. Wentz has as many multi-interceptions games (6) as he does muti-touchdown games (6).
There is no denying that injuries have helped cause some of the Eagles’ QB struggles, especially on the offensive line. However, those do not absolve Wentz or making poor decisions and failure to read defenses.
The 3-6-1 Eagles are still somehow in the divisional race and need an offensive boost after scoring only 17 points in both of their last two games.
The Eagles drafted a perennial winner in QB Jalen Hurts in the 2020 NFL Draft
Jalen Hurts was one of the more intriguing prospects in last year’s draft class. Starting his career at the University of Alabama, Hurts went 26-2 as a starter. His freshman stats were impeccable: he threw for 2,780 yards, 23 touchdowns with nine interceptions while also rushing for 954 yards and 13 touchdowns.
We knew Hurts would test well, but leadership is what defines him
Hurts then went on to finish his sophomore season with 2,081 passing yards, 17 passing touchdowns, and one interception, as well as 855 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. But most fans only remember Tua Tagovailoa coming in after halftime in the National Championship and starting his ascension.
Hurts was relegated to the bench the following year after Tua won the starting job, but in his two years as the starting QB for the Crimson Tide, Hurts had a combined total of 4,861 yards passing, 1,809 yards rushing, 40 TDs, 10 INT, and 21 rushing touchdowns.
One of the most character-defining moments for Jalen Hurts didn’t come under the bright lights on a Tuscaloosa Saturday night. It came in the offseason of 2018, where he chose to stay at the university instead of transferring and cemented his place as one of the best leaders in college football.
Hurts displayed more than just impressive stats
After the season, he transferred to the University of Oklahoma to play under offensive guru Lincoln Riley. What did he do at Oklahoma? He only dominated at a level that was only overshadowed by one of the greatest offensive seasons ever by LSU QB Joe Burrow.
Jalen Hurts completed 237 of his 340 attempts (69.7%) for 3,851 passing yards while throwing for 32 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. Hurts continuously used his prolific rushing skills to his advantage in the Big 12, rushing 233 times for 1,298 yards and 20 touchdowns. With 614 rushing attempts in his college career, Hurts never put the ball on the ground once.
By the time his college career was over, Jalen Hurts had won an SEC Championship, a National Championship, a Big 12 Championship, and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in 2019. He threw for almost 9,500 passing yards, ran for 3,300 yards, and combined for 122 touchdowns in basically three years. What’s even bigger is that he is beloved by both schools and one of the most respected players to come out of college football in recent memory.
That is why the Eagles selected him to be the potential QB of the future.
What can we expect from Jalen Hurts as the Eagles QB, and what does it mean for fantasy?
It is obvious that Jalen Hurts has designed plays for tonight’s game, and part of his playing time will be dependent on whether or not Wentz struggles early. We know Seattle can quickly put up points, so they can’t allow the game to get out of hand too fast. If that does happen, I could see this turning into the Jalen Hurts show at QB.
Head coach Doug Pederson hesitated last week when asked about potentially making a quarterback change before ultimately saying Wentz would remain the starter, so I have a hard time thinking it won’t take Pederson a long time to pull the plug.
Jalen Hurts has been used as a gadget player up to this point, as he has rushed 12 times for 56 yards, caught one pass for three yards, and completed both of his passing attempts for a total of 27 yards. If he is going to see increased playing time, that won’t cut it tonight. The good part is that he is getting one of the better matchups to face in what could be his first major stint of work in the NFL, as we know how poor the Seahawks are against the pass.
Could Hurts succeed against the Seahawks?
No team in the NFL allows more fantasy points to opposing QBs than the Seahawks at 22.45 per game. They allow the most passing yards per game (355.1), quarterbacks complete nearly 70% of their passes against them, and they are giving up 1.8 passing touchdowns per game. The Seahawks are somewhat better at defending against mobile quarterbacks, allowing 5.25 fantasy points per game on the ground, but that still is a great elevation to Jalen Hurts’ fantasy floor as the Eagles QB.
As the Eagles QB, Jalen Hurts’ fantasy value is interesting due to the ridiculous contract that Carson Wentz has; it will be hard to move him to anyone else. The Eagles signed Wentz to a four-year, $128 million extension last summer. He carries a dead cap hit of nearly $60 million in 2021, per Spotrac, a number that falls to $39.5 million in the 2022 offseason.
I don’t know how willing the team will be to leave that on the bench, but at some point, winning needs to be the priority. When Hurts is playing, I expect to see a quarterback that isn’t going to force too many passes, that already has a good understanding of coverages, and can use his mobility to get out of poor situations due to a patchwork offensive line.
I have been a fan of Jalen Hurts and his potential fantasy value since he was at Alabama. I think this is a player who can be a winner at the next level, and tonight we can get a glimpse into the future of the Eagles QB position.
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