When the Eagles named Jalen Hurts the starting quarterback ahead of Carson Wentz for Week 14, the obvious comparison, at least for Fantasy football purposes, was to Taysom Hill. Hill didn't replace a benched starter, but he has been filling in for Drew Brees in recent weeks and has been a more than solid Fantasy option, largely thanks to his rushing ability. So, it's only fitting that Hurts faced Hill's Saints in his first ever start and managed to beat them in one of the biggest upsets of the week. Hurts obviously played a big part in that, and he definitely put himself on the Fantasy football waiver wire radar as we look ahead to Week 15.
Hurts wasn't great as a passer, which isn't terribly surprising, as this passing game has looked like a mess all season no matter who is in at QB. However, he was good enough, avoiding sacks and turnovers in passing for 167 yards and a touchdown on 30 attempts. And, as has been the case with Hill, being "good enough" as a passer is good enough, thanks to what Hurts can do with his feet.
He rushed for 110 yards on 15 carries and was effective both as a scrambler and on designed runs. He was especially devastating in the read-option game, which was exciting to see -- when the defense keyed in on Hurts, that opened up huge rushing lanes for Miles Sanders, who had his best game of the season. None of that should come as much of a surprise for Hurts, who ran a 4.59 40-yard dash and had nearly 1,300 rushing yards in 14 games with Oklahoma in 2019.
Hurts wasn't perfect, by any means, but he did this against one of the best defenses in the NFL -- and one that has seen Hill in a similar offense for a month in practice -- which makes his 23.3 Fantasy points and No. 7 ranking at QB (heading into Sunday night's game) even more impressive.
Hurts will head to Arizona to face the Cardinals in his second start, and if he's not in the top 12 for Week 15, he'll be close. As we've seen with Hill (among many others), if you're an elite playmaker with your feet, you're going to be a viable Fantasy option at QB, and Hurts proved that Sunday. For those of you who have been riding Hill in the Fantasy playoffs, Hurts is a viable replacement option if Drew Brees returns this week as expected.
Here's who else we'll be looking at on the waiver wire heading into Week 15.
Early Waiver Targets
DEN Denver • #30
Age: 26 • Experience: 3 yrs.
For the most part, Lindsay has run well this season; he's been a fringe Fantasy option because he just hasn't had many opportunities to be the sole back in Denver. He rushed for 101 yards on 23 carries back in Week 6 when Melvin Gordon was out, and he could have the opportunity for a similar role in Week 15 against the Bills after Gordon left Sunday's game with a shoulder injury. It's not yet clear how serious the injury is, but if Gordon is out, Lindsay would certainly be in the RB2 discussion with the chance for 20 or so touches.
Chad Hansen WR
HOU Houston • #17
Age: 25 • Experience: 2 yrs.
With Brandin Cooks sidelined by foot and neck injuries, Hansen took advantage of yet another opportunity to play a significant role for the Texans on Sunday. He didn't have a huge game, but nobody really did for the Texans in their 36-7 loss to the Bears. However, Hansen was Deshaun Watson's top target, catching seven passes on seven targets for 53 yards, all of which led the team. Well have to keep an eye on Cooks' status heading into Week 15 against the Colts, but if he's out again, Hansen could be a viable play, especially in PPR.
Irv Smith TE
MIN Minnesota • #84
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
Opportunity has been the biggest obstacle for Irv Smith's Fantasy value this season -- he splits time with another tight end, he plays in a low-volume pass offense and lately has been dealing with injuries. However, two of those three obstacles were out of the way Sunday with Kyle Rudolph sidelined by a foot injury and Smith able to return from his back issue after missing a few games. Smith was also helped by the fact that Kirk Cousins threw the ball 37 times, but you still have to be happy with what he produced. Smith is a big target who can make plays in the red zone or down the field, and if Rudolph is out again in Week 15, he could be a worthwhile starting option.
JAC Jacksonville • #10
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
The Jaguars have been one of the most frustrating passing offenses in the league this season, and not just because they have had consistently poor QB play. It's also because they do have talent in the passing game, and they just aren't getting the most out of it. Shenault is a really intriguing player who could turn into a legitimate Fantasy stud down the road, and the Jaguars might want to give him an extended look as a primary receiving option. His 11 targets Sunday didn't turn into much, but the offense got a spark when Gardner Minshew came into the game, and he's still their best option, despite the benching. Hopefully he'll continue to look Shenault's way.
CIN Cincinnati • #32
Age: 23 • Experience: 2 yrs.
You can argue the Bengals overreacted in sidelining Giovani Bernard after his fumble on the first drive of the game Sunday -- after all, it was his first in over 800 carries. However, it's not unreasonable to think they already should have been pushing him into the background if Joe Mixon isn't going to be playing. After all, Bernard is a veteran with a pretty specific skill set, so why not see if one of the younger guys can provide something similar for the future. Neither Williams nor Samaje Perine really stood out, but Williams led the team in carries and had more targets than Perine, so if the Bengals do opt to go away from Bernard, he could be the beneficiary. The worst-case scenario would be a three-way split, but it could be worth stashing Williams as an emergency play -- you can never have too many potential fill-ins this season.
Lynn Bowden WR
MIA Miami • #15
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
With both Jakeem Grant and DeVante Parker sidelined by injuries in the second half, Bowden played a big role for the Dolphins on Sunday. But that started way before the injuries as the Dolphins try to make use of Bowden's unique skill set -- he was a high-school quarterback who played wide receiver at Kentucky before moving back to quarterback as a junior -- drawing up two passing plays for him. He didn't do much with them -- one was an incomplete pass, the other a scramble for 2 yards -- but it's a sign that the Dolphins are looking for ways to get him involved. He could be useful over the final few games if those injuries linger.