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Why Jalen Hurts will finish as a Top-5 QB (with overall QB1 potential)

Jalen Hurts is a polarizing QB but has QB1 potential due to his rushing ability. Now, the Eagles have added a true WR1 in AJ Brown. What is the outlook for Hurts in 2022 and beyond?

Jalen Hurts was an absolute fantasy darling last year. Many people were not sold on Hurts going into 2021 and didn’t think he would be able to compete as a starting-caliber quarterback, but this is fantasy football. Whether or not you believe in him as a real-life quarterback, he is easily a top-10 option for fantasy, and this year he will be top-5 (with the potential to be the overall QB1).

How He Fared in 2021

Hurts threw for 3144 yards and 16 touchdowns and added 784 yards and ten touchdowns on the ground. He led the Eagles to a 9-8 record and a wild card playoff spot. As for his fantasy finish, he finished as the QB9 overall and QB6 in fantasy points per game. Hurts’ rushing floor is an absolute cheat code in fantasy.

Hurts rushing production among quarterbacks:

  • Attempts (139) – 1st
  • Yards (784) – 1st
  • Yards per game (52.1) – 2nd
  • Touchdowns (10) – 1st
  • Yards per carry (5.6) – 14th overall (Although 5th highest overall among QBs that had 50+ carries)

Hurts has one of the safest floors in fantasy football because of his effectiveness on the ground. Being mobile is almost becoming necessary to be a QB1 in fantasy nowadays (with certain outliers like Brady and Stafford, for example, who threw for 40+ touchdowns last year). Nevertheless, we are talking about quarterbacks here, and passing is their role in the offense. Yes, he did finish 21st among QBs in both passing attempts (432) and passing yards (3144), but that was also due to the offensive play calling. The Eagles ranked dead last in passing attempts last year as they had an elite rushing attack. Philadelphia led the league in both rushing yards (2,715) and rushing touchdowns (25) last year and was fourth-highest in yards per attempt (4.9). The Titans were the only team with more rushing attempts than the Eagles in 2021.

Hurts has a bad rep for his passing ability, but he was more effective than people give him credit for. Hurts was tied for tenth in air yards per attempt (4.09), higher than Herbert, Mahomes, and Aaron Rodgers. As per Pro Sports Reference, Hurts had a 2.1% interception percentage, better than Herbert, Burrow, and Lamar Jackson.

Also, in Hurts’ defense- his wide receiver corps was one of the worst in the league. DeVonta Smith was a great prospect and had a solid 2021, but it’s hard to have your WR1 be a rookie. The WR2 was Quez Watkins, who had some big moments but was not consistent and would be a WR3 or lower on most teams. Lastly, we have Jalen Reagor as WR3, who the Eagles drafted over JUSTIN JEFFERSON, and that moment still haunts them to this day. Tight end Dallas Goedert has shown to be solid in the receiving game and finished as the TE11 in PPR last year. The Eagles have been backing Hurts all offseason and saying he is their guy. To back that up, they made a blockbuster trade during the 2022 Draft to get …

AJ BROWN

The Eagles traded a first-round pick (No. 18 overall) and a third-round pick (No. 101 overall) to the Titans in exchange for Brown. Shortly after, Brown signed a four-year $100 million extension with the Eagles. Brown is an elite talent that will provide a HUGE spark in the Philadelphia passing game. A move like this is a good indication that they plan to evolve their passing attack in 2022. Brown has an injury history, having only played a full 16 games once in the last three years. In 2020 he missed two games due to knee injuries and four in 2021 due to a chest injury. After being placed on injured reserve after Week 11, Brown returned in Week 16 and caught 11 receptions for 145 yards and a touchdown. When he is on the field, Brown is an absolute beast and should mesh well with Jalen Hurts.

Hurts and Brown can be a nightmare for defenses, in man coverage, especially. As per Player Profiler, Hurts ranked 11th in completion percentage vs. man coverage (63.2%), and Brown ranked fourth in win rate vs. man coverage (46.8%). Browns’ presence will also help open up the field for DeVonta Smith and Goedert, and the three of them will be an excellent receiving trio going forward.

2022 Redraft Outlook

Hurts was sixth among quarterbacks in FPPG and will now have Brown as his WR1. Nick Sirianni (Head Coach) and Smith will no longer be rookies. Hurts will have an entire offseason to get more in tune with the playbook and build rapport with his new and improved receivers.

Looking at Hurts’ competition:

Some of the other top fantasy QBs had significant personnel losses to their receiving corps:

  • Lamar Jackson lost Marquise Brown
  • Patrick Mahomes lost Tyreek Hill
  • Aaron Rodgers lost Davante Adams
  • Kyler Murray will be missing DeAndre Hopkins for the first six games
  • Tom Brady will be without Godwin for some games (current ACL recovery timetable unknown)

Hurts will most likely finish Top-5 in 2022, maybe even Top-3 (with overall QB1 potential).

Dynasty Outlook

Hurts is ranked pretty low in dynasty (QB15 in our Dynasty Nerds rankings) as people fear his job security. No one questions his fantasy ability – but his future with the Eagles is a bit of a question mark. Hurts was able to help lead the Eagles to the playoffs last year and are young and mobile. Even if the Eagles part ways with him at some point, he has shown enough that he would likely get a starting job somewhere else. There’s also a good chance he takes a leap this year and may get a possible extension with Philadelphia. Hurts is a buy for contending teams and a hold for rebuilding teams.

All stats are from Fantasy Data unless otherwise referenced.

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