The Washington Commanders attempted to pry Russell Wilson away from the Seattle Seahawks last week but have to settle on acquiring Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz in a deal that includes several draft picks.
The deal sends Washington’s 2022 second- and third-round picks, plus a 2023 third-rounder that can become a second, off to Indy for Wentz and a 2022 second-round choice.
Wentz will play for his third team in as many seasons and has lost virtually all of the luster he acquired from an impressive sophomore season way back in 2017. The 29-year-old quarterback returns to the NFC East to battle his former team, Philadelphia, twice in the upcoming campaign. He leaves what was close to an ideal situation in Indianapolis after flopping down the stretch when the team needed him most, ultimately costing the team a playoff berth.
While Wentz certainly is capable of turning things around, it’s imprudent to expect this to happen. He fizzled out in Philly before heading to Indy in what was billed as a perfect reunion with head coach Frank Reich. It wasn’t all bad — Wentz threw 27 touchdowns to just seven interceptions — but many mistakes won’t appear in a stats sheet as a turnover and came at the worst time.
As for the Colts being a team in search of a new quarterback, we’ll dive into that one as more is known. They’ve already been linked to Jimmy Garoppolo. The free-agent crop is uninspiring, and this is a weak class of incoming rookies. Reich and Co. may quickly find the grass wasn’t any greener on the other side.
Fantasy football takeaway
One has to question, if the couldn’t get the job done under Reich, who is to say Washington will be any better?
Personnel will be key here as he takes a drastic step in the wrong direction when it comes to the weapons at his disposal. Everything in a one-to-one comparison with the Colts is a step backward for Wentz. In fairness, Washington has cap space to burn and can address the offensive side of the ball in free agency as well as the upcoming NFL Draft.
- A veteran coaching staff that has its act together is a sound foundation with which to begin
- Familiarity with the division
- Washington has the eighth-most cap space, which can be used to lure veteran receivers
- Wentz doesn’t necessarily have a legitimate WR1 in Terry McLaurin — the jury is still out on whether he can take his game to the next level and become more than an inconsistent deep threat
- Major regression along the offensive line vs. what he had protecting him with the Colts
- Offensive system that doesn’t emphasize passing volume — Indy generated the fifth-lowest run-to-pass ratio last year. Washington was ninth from the bottom.
- While Antonio Gibson is no slouch, he’s also a far cry from being Jonathan Taylor
- Inconsistent, durability concerns, lack of playmakers around him
- Dedication to the ground game (9th-highest rushing ratio in 2021) helps alleviate some pressure
Rock-solid defense can lead to short fields — great in real-life football but not necessarily a plus in fantasy. It also isn’t an automatic negative, either, as we’ve seen with his extreme efficiency when Wentz is at his best. In 2017, for example, the 33 touchdown strikes and 25.1 fantasy points per game (both career bests) came on only 440 passing attempts. Typically speaking, low-volume passers are backed into a corner and must be highly effective each and every throw to truly make a splash in fantasy lineups on a weekly basis.
Between personnel concerns, an extensive injury history, and a lack of being consistently relevant in fantasy football four years running, there’s no clear path to Wentz regaining his 2017 form without something short of a miracle transpiring.
He can safely be avoided in all conventional league formats. At best, Wentz is a deep-league backup with the occasional matchup utility, but it’s tough to imagine there not being better QB2 choices available with proper drafting.