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QB Carson Wentz | Philadelphia Eagles | 2nd Year
2016 Stats: 3,782 passing yards, 16 TDs 14 INTs; 150 rushing yards, 2 TDs
Carson Wentz was not expected to start right out of the gate as a rookie last year, but a late preseason trade of Sam Bradford brought that to fruition. A fast start showed promise, with 769 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions over the first three games. He followed with another game with multiple passing touchdowns in Week 5, his third in those first four games, but Wentz would only throw multiple passing touchdowns twice in the final 12 games.
The Eagles made it a priority to bolster their receiving corps this offseason, signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency. The new top two receivers for Philadelphia were names more than production in 2016, but any upgrade should be good for Wentz.
Wentz has the second-most pass attempts ever by a rookie last year (607), and it seemed to show during his late season fade. A more balanced offense should be coming this year, and Wentz could be more productive, efficient and consistent if that happens.
Over the final 12 games last season, Wentz’s three 300-yard games came in the games with his three highest pass attempt totals (47, 60 and 46) of the season. Eagles pass catchers were credited with 31 drops (second-most in the league), and ranked toward the bottom of the league in yards after the catch. So not all of the inefficiency was on Wentz.
An interesting split attached to Wentz is the presence of offensive tackle Lane Johnson. Johnson was suspended 10 games for performance-enhancing drugs, and Wentz’s numbers over the six games Johnson played would have projected to 3,744 yards and 27 touchdowns over a full 16 games. That’s almost the exact yardage Wentz finished with, but the touchdown spike is noteworthy. Four of Wentz’s five multi-touchdown pass games came when Johnson was on the field.
It’s easy to project improvement for Wentz in his second season, and his average draft position is firmly in QB2 territory (QB19 in 12-team leagues, via Fantasy Football Calculator). But a real breakout is a coin flip proposition, and Wentz may be featured regularly in my weekly streamers piece during the season.
Carson Wentz 2017 Projection:
3,850 passing yards, 25 touchdowns, 15 interceptions: 180 rushing yards, 2 TD
Breakout Percentage: 50%