Fantasy fallout from Carson Wentz's foot injury

The Carson Wentz era in Indianapolis is off to a rocky start. Late last week Wentz injured his foot in practice, leaving the new QB and his team to decide what the best course of action was. Now we know.

On Monday AM Colts head coach Frank Reich announced that Wentz will have surgery on his foot and is expected to miss up to 12 weeks, though it could be as little as 5 weeks. 

NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport first reported the news and reveals that Wentz will have a bone removed from his foot:

Obviously this a huge blow to the Colts, who face a daunting early season schedule that includes the Seahawks, Rams, Titans, Dolphins and Ravens in the first 5 weeks of the season. The Colts could realistically go 0-5 in those games if they’re forced to play second-year QB Jacob Eason. 

This is also a small blow to the Eagles, who would have received a 1st round pick had Wentz played a majority of the 2021 season. 

So, where should the Colts go from here and how will this injury impact your fantasy teams?

Should the Colts make a trade?

This is a tough injury for the Colts, who don’t have a lot of room for error here. The prospect of playing Jacob Eason in the first five weeks of the season is nearly untenable for the team. However, if anyone can get a second-year QB up to speed, it’s Reich. 

Eason, the former Georgia and Washington QB, is not without skills or talent. He was the top recruit in the country at one point and had mildly successful careers at both schools. Eason was a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, by the Colts. 

We have seen later round QBs find success in the NFL: Russell Wilson, Dak Prescott, Kirk Cousins just to name a few. The Colts could ride with Eason. It could be good. But do you really want to take that chance given how talented the rest of the roster is and how winnable the AFC South is?

In terms of available options, the Colts are limited. Not only that, they invested a significant draft pick in Wentz and are unlikely to use another high pick to make a deal (say for a Jimmy Garappolo). 

The obvious candidate here is Nick Foles, who is the Bears 3rd string QB and is incredibly familiar under Frank Reich. Foles and Reich won the Super Bowl together with the Eagles. Foles is due a decent chunk of change this season, which would make it difficult for the Colts to acquire him, but perhaps there is some way to get Foles to Indy. He would be the perfect stop gap until Wentz is back. 

Meanwhile, the Colts could also target QBs that seem to be available, such as Marcus Mariota or Gardner Minshew. It remains to be seen whether or not that Colts would move some significant draft capital, such as a 4th or 5th round pick. 

My hunch is the Colts will do something here. Whether they bring in someone off the street or if they make a small trade to bring in competition for Eason remains to be seen. Foles makes a lot of sense in a vacuum. I doubt the Colts make a bigger splash than that.

Fantasy Impact

In our JUICE rankings we had Wentz as QB21. If he misses 4 weeks, he would go down to QB31. Foot injuries are always dicey, so I would be uncomfortable with buying low on him right now in redraft leagues. However, if you need a free bingo square at QB in SuperFlex leagues I wouldn’t hate picking up Wentz. 

It’s fairly obvious that the Colts receivers take a big hit with Wentz being out. T.Y. Hilton, Michael Pittman, Zach Pascal, Parris Campbell, Jack Doyle and Mo Alie Cox are all going to take a hit in fantasy. In dynast leagues, buying low on a player like Pittman right now would probably be smart. But for redraft leagues, be careful with these receivers. The first month may be dicey. However, if they drop far off then go ahead and stash them until Wentz is back.

The biggest question here is Jonathan Taylor, Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines. It seems likely that Taylor will see even more volume now with Wentz out. The Colts are going to rely more on the run and should still find success on the ground, even against stacked boxes. Indy has one of the best lines in the NFL and Reich will find a way to get the offense going. Mack may see increased usage also if the Colts try to pound the rock without Wentz. Hines could see a little less volume given the situation, but young QBs tend to target their outlet backs often. It depends on how many snaps Hines gets, but if he’s in there his target share should be pretty high. I wouldn’t drop any of those three in my rankings, but I also wouldn’t move them up.

TL;DR

  • Wentz is expected to miss 5-12 weeks, with his likely return coming sometime between Weeks 4-8. 
  • Colts should pursue Nick Foles
  • Can Jacob Eason turn into the long term answer for the Colts?
  • Be careful taking Colts receivers in redraft leagues, but buy Michael Pittman dynasty stock
  • Will Jonathan Taylor’s stock rise with even more volume now?