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What is Jacob Eason’s Fantasy Impact in Indianapolis?

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Carson Wentz is injured and will miss significant time in Indianapolis. What is Jacob Eason’s fantasy impact for him and the other Colts weapons?


The narrative around Carson Wentz this off-season has ranged from doom and gloom to cautious optimism. Unfortunately, a foot injury to Wentz means football fans will be delayed in finding out whether Wentz is the MVP level or the shell of his former self who appeared in the 2020 season. Wentz suffered a foot injury in training camp that will now require surgery, sidelining Wentz for 5-12 weeks. This is a huge range of time, but Wentz will undoubtedly miss all of training camp and could miss a sizeable portion of the regular season. This leaves us to wonder — what will Jacob Eason’s fantasy impact mean for your fantasy favorites.

The Colts still have plenty of time to sign or trade for a fill-in quarterback, and I’ve seen Nick Foles and Jacoby Brissett as potential options. Both of these make sense due to their familiarity with Frank Reich’s system. However, my current bet to fill in until Wentz is healthy is already on the roster. What does all of this mean for fantasy managers of Colts’ players?

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Jacob Eason

A second-year pro, Jacob Eason, is my presumed successor to Carson Wentz. Early reports from Colts’ camp support that assumption. Eason was drafted in the fourth round of 2020 with a profile of a strong-armed pocket passer with limited mobility. His major concerns when drafted were his consistency with touch and timing, as well as a tendency to take sacks. Eason profiled as a quarterback best suited for a play-action-based passing attack.

With no pre-season last year, we were unable to see what Eason brought to the table in the Colts’ offense. The fourth-round draft capital, and the trade to bring Wentz, suggest that the Colts are not ready to roll Eason out by choice. In deeper leagues (especially superflex) Eason may be worth a stash on the low chance he has a 2019 Gardner Minshew-like season. For most managers, I expect Eason’s impact to be felt by the fantasy performance of the rest of the Colts’ weapons.

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Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines

Jonathan Taylor’s fantasy managers have the most at stake in this situation. The Colts had the 10th most rushing attempts last season and I don’t expect that to change with Eason behind center. Taylor is likely to see the lion’s share of the carries. I see no reason why his volume won’t stay the same — or potentially increase — with the Colts looking to lean more heavily on their star back. If Eason’s play is at least mediocre, I expect that Taylor will see enough volume to maintain his current projected value.

I won’t be surprised if Taylor’s efficiency is less than expected, especially if Eason struggles. Taylor is currently the fifth running back off the board in dynasty, according to the IDP Guys Dynasty ADP. This news puts an extra layer of risk on drafting Taylor that high. However, he is so vital to the Colts that I will be willing to draft him and assume the risk anyway.

Nyheim Hines, on the other hand, I already expected to take a step back. His fantasy-relevant performances were largely due to his role in the passing game with Phillip Rivers at the helm. Rivers has long been known to favor checking down to his running backs. I don’t think that will continue with Eason under center. Even with a lack of mobility, Eason favored targeting his wide receivers and tight ends in his final year at Washington.

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Michael Pittman

Michael Pittman Jr. was somewhat underwhelming for fantasy in his first year. Some, including myself, were excited to see him with a quarterback capable of pushing the ball downfield. While Eason certainly has the arm strength for deep passes, I’m hesitant to assume Pittman will see as much production with Eason as he would have with a more experienced Carson Wentz. While I’m not optimistic about Pittman’s production with Eason, I still believe in his talent. This may present a buying window for dynasty managers looking to acquire Pittman, currently WR48 in the IDP Guys ADP.

In redraft, I will be fading Pittman, who is already going in the later rounds. The first few weeks are so important for redraft managers that if Eason and Pittman start off cold, you may find Pittman on the waiver wire before Wentz returns.

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The Tight Ends

Trey Burton, Mo Alie-Cox, and Jack Doyle combined for 119 targets for the Colts in 2020 — 22% of the team’s targets. In 2019, two of Eason’s top three targets at Washington were tight ends. Hunter Bryant and Cade Otton had 52 and 32 receptions respectively — 32% of the team’s catches. With Burton no longer on the roster, Alie-Cox and Doyle have the potential to return value as late-round or streaming options.

Conclusion

It’s still unknown when Carson Wentz will make his return or if the Colts will bring in a veteran to fill in while Wentz recovers. If Eason is able to keep the interim starting job in the lead up to the regular season, I see a path for larger roles for the tight ends and an even heavier reliance on the running backs with potentially higher volume for Jonathan Taylor. Things change quickly, so be sure to follow the training camp reports and preseason performance, which will help gauge just what Jacob Eason’s fantasy impact will be. As always, you can count on the team at IDP Guys to keep you up to speed on all the fantasy-relevant developments.


Thanks for reading! If you are ever looking for some fantasy feedback, hit me up on Twitter at @DynastyDVM and follow @IDPGuys for more great content.

Aaron Maberry

I am a veterinarian who has been playing fantasy football off and on since high school. About 12 years ago, I got more competitive and serious about fantasy football when I started a league with some other friends who were in vet school with me at the time. I started playing IDP about 3 years ago and have become even more obsessed with fantasy football. I have what I would call an evidence-based approach to fantasy football and love to track data in spreadsheets. I began writing for IDP Guys in the summer of 2021 and look forward to contributing to the amazing team moving forward. Thanks for reading!
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