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Carson Wentz is Back! Should You Trade Him?


That headline is sure to get some wide-eyed looks and eye rolls but I'm serious. Now that he's back, should you trade Carson Wentz immediately? It's a much more legitimate idea than it sounds.

It's hard to envision a scenario where the pre-injury MVP-to-be can automatically be on the block the second he returns, but that's part of the reason this warrants your intention in the first place. Any player coming off of a major injury like an ACL tear comes with concerns. Is his mobility the same? How long will it take to shake off rust? Are they in football shape? What is their confidence level? What about that decimated receiving corps?

You may be thinking that these are the same questions you heard about Wentz all off-season, and you'd be right, they are. Thing is, he's back now. We now know that he is about to play actual football games and fantasy owners who took a chance on him as their QB1 have a tough decision to make.

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Cause for Concern

Presumably, those who drafted Wentz were also wise enough to either draft or scoop up a second quarterback on waivers. Unless you completely whiffed on your backup altogether, Wentz owners probably have someone serviceable by now. And if you were fortunate enough to snag a Tyrod Taylor, Patrick Mahomes, or even a Ryan Fitzpatrick (unbelievable) then you are more set at the position than you realize. That makes trading Wentz much easier since you have a usable piece in place already. The counter to that is "but Wentz is awesome." Fair enough. So let's look at some reasons why he might not be awesome in Week 3 and beyond.

We've already mentioned the injury concerns, all of which are unknown to us. Every player is different coming off an injury so for the purposes of this article, let's assume he's at 100% full health. You know who is not at full health? Any Philadelphia receiver not named Nelson Agholor. Alshon Jeffery has yet to play this season and Mike Wallace has been placed on IR. Yes, the Eagles do have Zach Ertz at tight end, but the backfield is also just as banged up as the receivers. Jay Ajayi is dealing with a back injury while pass-catching specialist Darren Sproles is nursing a hamstring. Wentz will be returning to a highly depleted cast of characters within his offense, one that may force him into a slow start. Realistically speaking, he really only has three healthy weapons at his disposal: Agholor, Ertz, and running back Corey Clement. The team did just bring back the ghost of Jordan Matthews but who knows what they're getting out of him in 2018. Suffice it to say, this offense is cause for concern even independent of Carson Wentz.

The fair, albeit cliché, counter-argument is that Wentz was on an MVP pace prior to the injury. The problem with that idea is that MVP paces are often impossible to replicate. Look no further than Matt Ryan's 2016 MVP campaign. Since ending his career year in 2016, Matt Ryan has totaled just 22 touchdowns in his last 18 games. Those are not top-five or even top-10 fantasy quarterback numbers. Prior to his injury, Wentz had racked up 33 touchdowns and 3,296 in 13 games. For argument's sake let's round that up to 40 scores and 4,000 yards over the course of a full season. I'm not suggesting Wentz's TD total would basically halve itself, but I am saying that unless your name is Tom Brady, players rarely put together back-to-back MVP seasons. There is bound to be some regression here. Based on a full season's pace, he basically has to get to that same 33 and 3,296 total, at a minimum, to become a top-five fantasy quarterback in 2018.

 

Selling Your QB1 Before He Takes a Snap

So, that finally brings us to the question, should you trade Carson Wentz? My answer is if you can, yes. Assuming you have any sort of usable quarterback already on your roster, it is worth seeing how much you can get in return. If you can get anything close to his full value, you need to pull the trigger. This Eagles offense is banged up and banged up bad. You're basically putting your fantasy hopes on a quarterback coming off of an ACL tear to be the uncrowned MVP immediately, overcoming depleted weapons in the process. That's a pretty tall, unrealistic order if you ask me. Maybe you could even end up with an extra QB in return, giving yourself the ability to play the matchups on a weekly basis.

In looking at ADP as well as scoring leaders, here are some players I like in a Carson Wentz trade; Jordan Howard, Marshawn Lynch, Dion Lewis, T.Y. Hilton, Emmanuel Sanders, Juju Smith-Schuster, Philip Rivers. Certainly not suggesting you go for all of those players, but I think if my roster needed either a running back or wide receiver, I would do those deals straight up. Those backs aren't superstars but they should be solid RB2s if you are in need. I would aim higher at wide receiver due to the tremendous depth at the position. I would also have no issue offering a straight swap of Carson Wentz and Philip Rivers if possible. Rivers is off to a hot start that should continue as I prefer him the rest of the way. Of course there are always 2-for-1s, 2-for-2s, etc. but those always depend on respective roster construction.

Of course, there's always the strategy of simply streaming QB off the waiver wire after you've traded Wentz. In looking at quarterbacks still owned in under 50% of Yahoo leagues, you could roll with some combination of Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton, and Case Keenum on a weekly basis, playing the matchups along the way. Streaming has always been a viable strategy and fantasy as it is, so if you could upgrade a different position via a Wentz trade, there are still options available to you.

Apologies if this all seems too hot take-y for you, RotoBallers. Selling Wentz isn't a popular idea at the moment, but sometimes it's best to be bold rather than trendy and get ahead of the crowd while you can.

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