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Can Jared Goff and Carson Wentz redeem themselves in the second half of the fantasy football season?

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The top two picks in the 2016 NFL Draft have been disappointing week in and week out. Is there any hope for them?

USA Today/Pete Rogers Illustrations

Selected first and second overall in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz were reliable starters in real-life and viable fantasy options, both drafted by fantasy managers this year with sizable expectations. However, through 10 weeks, both former first rounders have been big disappointments, and fantasy managers have so far gotten very little production out of them.

Now, fantasy managers—and the Rams and Eagles to a certain extent—are scrambling to figure out what happened with them. Why have Goff and Wentz suddenly become such unreliable fantasy quarterbacks? Is there any hope for one or the two of them for increased fantasy production in 2020?

Here’s what I envision for these two quarterbacks moving forward.

Jared Goff, the game manager

It’s not like Goff has regressed big-time, like Wentz, it’s just that, at this stage of his career, he doesn’t appear to have a particularly high ceiling. He’s not an every-week top 10 or even top 15 play at the quarterback position and is seen as a “game manager”, who’s role in the offense is to distribute the ball and minimize mistakes. The issue is that this is a far cry from what Goff once was in Sean McVay’s offense.

Let’s consider Goff’s 2018 season as his ceiling. That year, he threw for 4,688 yards and 32 touchdowns, while being intercepted 12 times. He did take a step back in 2019—22 touchdowns, 16 interceptions but still throwing for over 4,600 yards—but even those numbers might be out of reach for Goff this year. He’s currently on pace for around 4,300 passing yards and 23 touchdowns, though his touchdown rate has seriously decreased in recent weeks.

He couldn’t even throw a touchdown pass against a putrid Seahawks defense last weekend. And, in Week 8 (his penultimate game, prior to the Rams’ Week 9 bye) he managed 355 yards, but it took him 61 throws (!) to reach that number. He was also picked off twice that game against the Miami Dolphins, and to be fair, the Dolphins missed some opportunities to add to that total.

Goff’s 94.9 passer rating is only good for the 22nd place in the league. Through the first nine weeks of the season, his 2,025 air yards ranked him 17th among passers, per FTNFantasy. Simply put, there are several better options out there.

So what are Goff’s rest-of-the-season fantasy prospects?

It’s clear that coach Sean McVay likes to run the ball and “hide” his signal-caller as much as he can. And to make matters even worse, star left tackle Andrew Whitworth is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks with a knee injury. I’d stay away if possible. Starting Goff at this point could put your team in a serious competitive disadvantage.

Carson Wentz, the turnover machine

Whereas Goff has been extremely cautious and takes very few risks (capping his upside), Wentz has been the complete opposite to this point. He hasn’t been afraid to test his arm (2,778 air yards through through the first nine weeks, 3rd place in NFL) but has regressed into a mistake machine.

The Eagles’ signal caller has become extremely turnover prone this season, leading the NFL in interceptions (12) and has fumbled the ball nine times, losing four of them. This is in stark contrast to the only seven interceptions Wentz has thrown in each of his last three seasons. Wentz is currently on pace to throw 21 touchdowns and 21 interceptions which would be his lowest touchdown output since his rookie year and his highest interception total to date.

Part of the problem with Wentz has been his supporting cast. Alshon Jeffery took ten weeks to return to action, and DeSean Jackson, his primary deep threat, is currently out. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert have also been suffering from various ailments, and don’t even get me started on his offensive line. While this might help explain Wentz’s putrid 6.1 yards per attempt, with a sad 58.2 completion percentage (the lack of accuracy is especially concerning) and a 73.1 passer rating, it doesn’t totally explain away what has been a huge step back in his decision making.

Against the Giants Sunday, with a full roster of a health Alshon Jeffery, rookie speedster Jalen Reagor, breakout star Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward—not to mention the return if star running back Miles Sanders and tight end Dallas Goedert—Wentz still was unable to move the ball, throwing for only 208 yards with a 56.7 completion percentage.

As long as Wentz keeps struggling to move the offense and keeps turning the ball over, he won’t be more than a middling QB2 for the rest of the season. Maybe if linemen Lane Johnson and Isaac Seumalo get healthy, and if he keeps welcoming back injured pass catchers, he can approach the level he showed from 2017 to 2019, but it seems like a longshot. Many fantasy managers likely have already moved on from Wentz, but if you haven’t, I wouldn’t recommend holding out hope for a miraculous bounce back.