Carson Wentz - The Indy Impact
Photo by Mitchell Leff
With Philip Rivers retiring, Carson Wentz is going to be taking over his role under Frank Reich in the Colts offense. After being benched for Hurts, many analysts expected Carson Wentz to be heading for Indianapolis, and now it’s happened. While there is praise for Chris Ballard for making this move, some would be asking for Ryan Pace to lose his job if the Bears came out on top in the bidding war. That said, the move was made by the Colts to add the 28-year-old Quarterback. They'll be sending a 2021 3rd-round pick, and a conditional 2022 2nd-round pick for Wentz.
Carson Wentz is a polarizing QB. For some time, he was in the same tier as Dak Prescott in the Dynasty community. He’s now fallen far behind Dak after being benched for Jalen Hurts in Philly. Now in Indy, Wentz will likely see a slight bump once again in perceived value.
Wentz inherits a team filled with speed and talent. While Hilton is starting to fade, the hope is that Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman will come into their own in 2021. The Tight End room in Indy is not as elite as Philadelphia’s, but Doyle and others aren’t bad company. At Running Back, Wentz will find Taylor to be an exciting change with Hines performing as a great back to spell him.
As an NFL Quarterback with these weapons, Wentz should improve. He should become more efficient in his passing stats, and likely see an uptick in completion percentage as well. An increase in touchdowns and a decrease in interceptions should be expected. The biggest change is that he’ll be moving to a run-first offense, with a great defense. The team draft Jonathan Taylor for a reason. While everyone will be excited about the potential of Wentz in Indy, we shouldn’t expect Wentz to pace for nearly 600 attempts as he did in 2020. With an increase in efficiency and decrease in volume, Wentz should be a high-end QB2 or low-end QB1.
The Pass Catchers
The last two years of Hilton’s career have been his worst from a statistical standpoint. Don’t expect a rejuvenation due to Wentz’s arrival. The receivers to look at are Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman. Campbell has fought injuries his first two seasons in the NFL. If Campbell plays a full season in 2021, we’ll finally see the talent he possesses. Wentz is a superior deep ball thrower when comparing him to Rivers in 2020. This should help Campbell in the deep game, and his own talent should open some plays in the screen game. The introduction of Wentz will likely put Campbell’s price tag too high for my taste, but his potential is there.
Michael Pittman Jr. becomes an interesting option in Indianapolis. He should become one of the primary endzone targets for Wentz, similar to a younger Alshon Jeffery. MPJ also has the speed to be more than that. While Pittman only tallied 503 yards in 2020, he may be the biggest beneficiary of the Wentz addition. Another guy whose price tag probably got too high to acquire, but someone you shouldn’t be selling.
The Tight Ends in Indianapolis will all lose value in 2021. Not because of Wentz, but because of the tendencies of Philip Rivers. Wentz does like to utilize the Tight End, but Rivers uses them more than any QB in recent memory.
The Running Backs
In terms of the actual run game, this is a lateral move. When it comes to Taylor and Hines in the receiving game, the departure of Rivers will hurt. The two combined for 115 targets in 2020 and we can’t expect that with Wentz at the helm. The split (66% for Hines and 34% for Taylor) should shrink as Taylor’s snap share increases, leading to similar receiving production for Taylor, but a significantly reduced role for Hines.
Taylor remains a top 5 Dynasty RB with Wentz in town, but Hines will become a top handcuff for those rostering Taylor.
Wentz should open more opportunities for receivers downfield, but we can’t expect him to use the RBs and TEs the way Rivers has throughout his career. Wentz himself should see an increase in efficiency, but a decrease in volume compared to his time in Philadelphia. The Colts are built for the run game with a strong defense and Taylor exploding between the tackles. Wentz should fit this offense well, as long as he improves his decision making from the 2020 season.