Jalen Hurts is embarking on a make-or-break season. The pressure is on: Howie Roseman drafted Devonta Smith and acquired AJ Brown on consecutive draft nights to pair with Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders, and ultimately boost Jalen Hurts. On paper, new life should be pumped into the anemic post-Frank Reich Eagles’ offense. But, if the Eagles’ offense doesn’t take flight in 2022, Hurts will shoulder the blame.
This is par for the course, though. Hurts has been playing for his football life ever since Tua Tagovailoa wrestled the Alabama starting QB job away from him at halftime of the 2017 National Championship and he will have to prove the doubters wrong once again.
Hurts has surpassed expectations at every step of his career: Alabama, Oklahoma, and the NFL. Why not one more time? The Wolf certainly believes in Hurts:
Hurts’ perceived lack of throwing ability has brought on doubters (although Brown seems to be a fan), but I’m willing to bet that Hurts will do everything he can to take his game to the next level. Hurts may not pass the eye test, but he is a lock to be a top-five fantasy football quarterback and drips in overall QB1 potential in 2022.
The Eagles were the most run-dominant team in the NFL last year. They were one of only three teams that were more likely to run than pass. Adding AJ Brown should change everything by injecting perimeter explosiveness into a stagnant offense. I expect a shift to a more pass-happy offense with genuine receiving threats in Brown, Smith, and Goedert. PFF agrees with The Wolf (projections in the video), forecasting Hurts to become a prolific fantasy quarterback throwing to stud receivers.
Moreover, The Wolf brought up a great point in his initial reaction video to the Brown trade. Hurts ranked 20th in receiving yards after the catch per target last season. This means Hurts’ receivers were below average in generating extra yards on their own (think about how Tyreek Hill’s after-the-catch magic juiced Mahomes’ stats the past couple of years). To remedy the issue, the Eagles brought in Brown, one of the best YAC receivers in all of football. Brown is a threat to take a screen or slant to the house at any moment.
Last season, the Eagles turned to a throwback run-first offense out of necessity. Oddly enough, the Eagles edged the Titans and led the league in rushing play percentage (49.87%) last year, which was a massive leap from 37.80% in 2020.
This season, Hurts has Brown, a player that strikes fear in the hearts of defensive coordinators across the NFL. Brown will demand constant attention, leaving the other receiver’s with more room to operate. Smith is a precise route runner and a nightmare in open space, and Brown will make sure he sees primarily single coverage moving forward.
Goedert is a solid tight end with room to grow into a more significant role during his first full season without having to split targets with Zach Ertz. The maturation of Goedert, Hurts, and Smith, along with the addition of Brown, should elevate the Eagles’ passing game to a formidable level, boosting Hurts’ fantasy profile in the process.
The numbers don’t lie. Jalen Hurts’ combined throwing and rushing ability are unmatched in the NFL.
While people continue to focus on Hurts’ throwing limitations, they overlook his Konami Code QB upside. Despite being a mediocre passer, Hurts can generate enough offense with his legs to become a top-five or even the overall QB1, in 2022.
It boils down to simple math. In most fantasy leagues, 25 passing yards equals 10 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown is worth six points compared to four points for a passing touchdown. In fantasy football, a rushing quarterback is more valuable than them passing. Consequently, Hurts’ outstanding rushing ability raises his fantasy floor and ceiling. This means Hurts never has to be an elite NFL passer to be an extremely valuable fantasy QB.
It’s pretty clear Hurts isn’t on the same quarterback tier as prime Cam Newton, Josh Allen, and Kyler Murray, but all three of those guys were/are fantasy cheat codes. If Hurts can remain a productive runner (his career to date suggests he will) and make slight improvements as a passer, why can’t he be the next 2019 Lamar?
Hurts’ leadership and rushing ability are two areas where he separates himself from other quarterbacks. His coaches and teammates rave about his work ethic and dedication to improving his game. Perhaps, the addition of Brown will unlock Hurt’s passing ability and take the Eagles to new heights, but if not, I’ll be content knowing he’s already a fantasy football legend.
Hurts comes in at QB3 in The Wolf’s 2022 Fantasy Rankings and he also projects him to be the QB3 in fantasy with over 4,000 passing yards and 26 touchdowns to go along with 700 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.