Fantasy Football Week 14 Instant Reaction: Searching for replacements as Eagles fear ACL tear for Carson Wentz
The Eagles fear the worst with Carson Wentz. How should Fantasy players replace him? Dave Richard has some ideas.
It had been a while since a major player suffered a significant injury, but no one should have been naïve enough to think another one wouldn't happen.
Late in the third quarter on Sunday, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz dove for a touchdown and got bent awkwardly between two Rams defenders. The touchdown didn't end up counting because of a holding penalty, and Wentz finished off the drive four plays later with a short touchdown to Alshon Jeffery. Soon thereafter, Wentz walked into the locker room and was immediately ruled out with a left knee injury by the time backup quarterback Nick Foles came in on Philadelphia's next series.
What followed was the kind of tweet we hate to see, from ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Wentz has been a Fantasy hero this year. Replacing what he's done so far is impossible. The guy has averaged 28.4 Fantasy points per game when you include his four-score session in L.A. There are options you can check out on waivers, but the expectation should be to find a guy who can get you around 20 Fantasy points, not the mammoth numbers Wentz delivered.
Jameis Winston, Aaron Rodgers, Case Keenum and Blake Bortles: All of these guys are owned in 70 percent of leagues or more but still could be mined off the waiver wire. Rodgers would naturally be an amazing replacement, but Keenum's matchups in Weeks 15 and 16 are both against weak pass defenses in the Bengals and Packers. He's been nearly as dominant lately as Wentz, too. Winston and Bortles are harder to trust — Bortles' schedule is easier.
If you can't get them...
We're still waiting for a big Fantasy week from Garoppolo — he has yet to throw multiple scores in a game with San Fran — but he is showing signs of being the real deal. He threw for 334 yards with a touchdown to Garrett Celek in Week 14, along with an interception. But better numbers should come in Week 15 when the Titans, on the road for the second week in a row and fourth time in five weeks, head to San Francisco. They should be the perfect opponent for Garoppolo to roll up some big numbers against.
You could do worse than the real-life backup to Wentz — after all, do you really want to trust DeShone Kizer or Mitch Trubisky? Foles was decent in relief, completing 60 percent of his passes, but he's probably going to be more of a caretaker and less of a lead figure for the Eagles. It does help that he'll play the Giants next week — their pass defense has been knocked around and star safety Landon Collins got hurt in Week 14 and might be out for the game. If all else fails, go with Foles.
Beyond next week...
If Wentz indeed has a torn ACL, then there will be questions about how quickly he can recover for the 2018 season. Quarterbacks who tear their knees in December typically make it back in time for the start of the following season, but it's almost a certainty Wentz would miss the start of training camp next July and could cut it close to being on the field just before the start of next season. Going into training camp with uncertainty is a tough thing to gauge — just ask anyone who drafted Andrew Luck.
However, such a scenario would drive down his stock on Draft Day, potentially making him a quasi-bargain in Round 3 or so. Additionally, the quarterback position is so deep that anyone who drafts Wentz could find another passer with a late-round pick to bridge the gap if Wentz wouldn't ready for Week 1.
Knowing what we know about Wentz's game when he plays, it wouldn't be a bad move.
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