Among many contributing factors, the elite quarterback play of Carson Wentz was one of the primary reasons why the Philadelphia Eagles were able to win their first Lombardi Trophy.
In just 13 games, the Eagles star produced MVP like numbers ranking second in the league with 33 touchdown passes and sixth among all players with 284 fantasy points (using standard scoring).
With public hype attached towards his recent performance, many fantasy owners have been willing to invest into this young quarterback’s stock in hope of a repeat performance.
According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Wentz’s average draft position in 12 man standard and Point Per Reception scoring leagues is still in the sixth round despite the possibility of missing time after suffering tears in his ACL and LCL in Week 13 against the Rams.
Are his injuries the only concern fantasy owners should have at this price? When taking a closer look at the numbers, there could be other obstacles to account for when evaluating his draft position.
Fewer Touchdowns for Philly in 2018?
The Eagles offense was one of the top in the league last year ranking in the top three in touchdown rate per drive (26.7%), points scored (457), and touchdowns (47).
Does history show this type of production to be sustainable the following season?
In a study conducted by Rich Hribar, 79% of teams (78 of 98) with a touchdown rate of 25% or higher since 2000 saw an average loss of 4.5% the next season.
Further signs of negative touchdown regression could be seen as 80% (79 of 98) of these teams also experienced an average loss of seven combined receiving or rushing touchdowns.
With fantasy production driven by touchdowns, data suggests the Eagles offense might not be as fantasy-friendly in 2018. A possible loss of seven touchdowns means 42 fewer fantasy points created by the Eagles, crucial for a position such as quarterback considering their role in creating touchdowns.
Let’s take an even deeper look into Wentz’s 2017 data. In only 440 pass attempts, the Philly gunslinger threw 33 touchdown passes for a superb 7.5% touchdown rate.
Can such a high level of efficiency be repeated? Data from previous history again suggests regression.
In a quarterback study done by Rich Hribar, 25 quarterbacks with more than 100 pass attempts and a touchdown rate higher than 7 in the past 30 years saw an average loss of 2.8 percent to their rate the next year. If that wasn’t troubling enough, the same group also saw an average decrease of 11 passing touchdowns.
There are more signs of passing touchdown regression when taking a closer look at the Eagles offensive touchdowns.
80% (38 of 47) of Philly’s 2017 touchdowns were scored via passing while the league average in 2017 was 67% (741 of 1121 total).
With only 19% of their touchdowns coming via rushing, some balance can be expected in the Eagles touchdown ratio with the league average rushing touchdown rate at 33%.
If there are more rushing touchdowns, that means less passing touchdowns and less fantasy points produced by Wentz.
Economics behind Using a Late Round QB Strategy
I am not writing this article because I think Wentz will not be good in fantasy this year.
I am writing this article because with several glaring issues it’s not worth taking the investment on Wentz’s stock in the sixth round. As fantasy owners, we want to maximize our roster utility especially in redraft leagues where only one quarterback starts per week.
In detailed research done by J.J Zachariason, key economic principles such as opportunity cost, supply and demand, predictability, and scoring variance are explained as key reasons why the later rounds present the most value for picking quarterbacks.
Let’s apply these principles to this specific situation. Is picking a quarterback recovering from injury with looming touchdown regression worth the opportunity cost of positions where there are more starters needed at running back and wide receiver? These are the type of questions owners will need to ask themselves.
Overall, the name of the fantasy game in redraft leagues is to pick players to outscore their average draft position. We want the most value and in the mid to high rounds stakes are even higher to make the right decisions. With a steep list of concerns, pass on Wentz in these rounds and grab better value!