Today's question comes from reader Matt:
Tim, debating if/when to take Carson Wentz in my upcoming fantasy draft. Will he produce like last year, or will the injury hold him back?
Wentz's production was insane last year. He missed the final three-plus games of the 2017 season with a torn ACL/LCL and still finished second in the NFL in touchdown passes (33). Anyone who rolled the dice on him in fantasy was richly rewarded from September through mid-December.
The question is, will he be the same dynamic playmaker he was before the injury, or will it take a while for him to round back into form? That answer will reveal itself over time, and certainly not before fantasy drafts, but the signs to this point have been encouraging. Wentz did more than anticipated during spring practices and showed decent mobility, even with a brace wrapped around his surgically-repaired left knee. Eagles coach Doug Pederson said this offseason that his QB is ahead of schedule in his rehab.
"I think the biggest thing right now is just keep pushing along until I'm cleared [for contact]," Wentz said at the end of minicamp. "As you see out here, I'm doing quite a bit. Obviously the biggest, last hurdle is going to be the contact part."
That clearance could come this summer, and the target return date remains Week 1.
It's reasonable to think Wentz won't be quite as elusive early on, and there could be some growing pains as he learns to adjust his playing style accordingly. But he's proven a quick study and should be able to adapt before long. It helps that he has one of the best offensive lines in football and a quality supporting cast. It also doesn't hurt that he has other skills to fall back on, including a gift for reading defenses before the snap and the ability to chuck it 60-plus yards on a rope, as he reminded us recently while working with some high school players in North Dakota.
Check this one out! @cj_wentz hitting Wyatt Gunkel in stride for a 66 yard TD pass. (Traveled 70+ in the air into the endzone!) @Eagles @NDSUfootball "I'll hit you on the D" #hecalledit pic.twitter.com/jG5g9lDxHT— MoorheadSpudFootball (@MHDspudFootball) June 29, 2018
Just think of what he can do with new teammate Mike Wallace.
Given his own ability, the ability of those around him and the fact that he's operating in Doug Pederson's adaptive offense, which will be custom-fit to account for where Wentz is physically, it's hard to imagine him not producing even if he's not 100 percent himself for part of the season. You can ease concern about injury by handcuffing him in fantasy with backup Nick Foles, who proved quite capable of manning the controls en route to a Super Bowl MVP performance.
There's some risk, sure, but Wentz is a guy I'd bet on, not against, whether we're talking fantasy or otherwise.