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Fantasy implications of the Carson Wentz trade to Indianapolis

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Liz Loza & Dalton Del Don discuss the Philadelphia Eagles trading QB Carson Wentz to the Indianapolis Colts. How does this move affect Philadelphia & Indianapolis skill players heading into the 2021 season?

Video Transcript

LIZ LOZA: Yeah, we got some breaking news, so let's get to it. Although I'm sure you're listening to this on Friday, so you're already well aware--

DALTON DEL DON: Relatively breaking.

LIZ LOZA: --that Carson Wentz has been traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Indianapolis Colts. Of course, football Twitter has their takes. But I, when I looked at the data, was most interested-- because, obviously, when you think about the Colts, you think about their offensive line. And they provided Philip Rivers last year-- now admittedly there's probably gonna be some changes along that line this year.

But last year, they provided Philip Rivers with a protection rate of 91%, which was QB3 for that category. One step further, Philip Rivers and his declining arm strength managed 51 deep ball attempts. Now when you look at Carson Wentz, he only received from the Eagles' banged-up offensive line a protection rate of, I believe, 82%, which was QB29 for that category. So obviously the difference in the lines quite significant, yet he managed 57 deep ball attempts, six more than Philip Rivers.

We also know that Carson Wentz not really a dink and dunk kind of passer. Struggles with those, the short to intermediate passing game. You could see that in Miles Sanders' receptions. Obviously, both of these receiving corps were banged up throughout the season. How do you feel about Carson Wentz moving forward? And let's talk about the Colts, the effects to Indianapolis, before we turn to Philadelphia.

DALTON DEL DON: All right, I don't think this moves the needle hugely, but it is interesting that your Bears didn't make an offer. I'm curious your take on the quarterback situation for Chicago. It is interesting that the Colts apparently made a call about Derek Carr's availability. But Frank Reich obviously knows Wentz well. So he gave up some draft capital here, so that speaks something.

And I believe Wentz, on a per-game basis fantasy-wise, was a top-five QB the last time they were together. I've been out on him the last couple of years. There's injury risk, and all those sacks are killers. You bring up a great point about the offensive line. I mean, that could be a big help. I mean, I do think sacks are mostly on the quarterback, though, when he holds the ball too long, but it certainly cannot hurt, though, having a great one.

And guys like Michael Pittman are interesting. Parris Campbell very interesting before the injuries. Other things to note, like maybe there won't be as many dump-offs to Jonathan Taylor, whom I like. But Wentz at least solidifies the QB position there, and the Colts will at least get average-ish, maybe with a higher ceiling than an aging Philip Rivers. So I'm OK with it if you want to invest in these Colts fantasy-wise, but it's not anything super, super exciting.

LIZ LOZA: So I think it's good of you to mention the reunion with Frank Reich. I was, if we want to talk about the Bears, relieved frankly that the Bears did not dig in on Carson Wentz. Because I think the connective tissue, yes, between John DeFilippo, but also Nick Foles and his relationship with Carson Wentz, is a little bit too incestuous. And why did we do the last thing if we were gonna do this thing?

But I do think the Colts are interesting, and I think Michael Pittman is interesting. I would love to bet on Parris Campbell. But, again, when you look at the reluctance that Wentz has to hitting the middle of the field, particularly his slot receivers, I want to see how mini camps go. I want to see how the rapport develops.

I've been high on Pittman since he came out of USC. I love his YAC ability. I think he-- this is not a talent comp. But I think if we're looking, and it's by no means an apples-to-apples comparison between squads, probably he's gonna be that Alshon Jeffery type of outside receiver for Wentz.

And if I'm looking at the deep ball attempts, I think Pittman can make that happen. And I like his toughness and his versatility to do all the things. We also should note that TY Hilton probably unlikely--

DALTON DEL DON: Yeah, he's probably gone.

LIZ LOZA: --to be back. So that would make Pittman the wide receiver one. I think this kind of kills Nyheim Hines' value a lot. I don't imagine that Nyheim Hines, especially without Philip Rivers who we know loves to check down-- ask Austin Ekeler-- to his running back, probably we're gonna see less value even in PPR-friendly leagues for Hines. Is there anything I missed before we head over to the Eagles?

DALTON DEL DON: No, it's a great point about Hines in PPR definitely losing value. Rivers totally checked down, and that's not something Wentz typically has done. Wentz is not gonna be a top-12 fantasy QB, but in superflex, he's top 20 here. It should be noted that, yes, he has put up big numbers. And as down as I am on him and the advanced stats, the completion above expectations percentage his last two years have been really, really like bottom five.

But he can run. As you said, he's aggressive. And now he moves indoors. And with Pittman and Campbell-- I know they haven't done it before. But, man, he had some very not exciting weapons coming from Philly, so I think Wentz could be in that top-20-ish range of fantasy QBs next year.