December 10, 2023

Dynasty Dilemma: Jalen Hurts

7 min read

Dynasty Dilemma: Jalen Hurts

By Steve Uetz

Seeking out the Konami Code is a game-winning recipe but when will it be game over?

Welcome to the Jalen Hurts Dynasty Dilemma!

In the video game world, the Konami Code is a well-known series of button combinations that when pressed correctly will bring the player certain cheat codes to help them succeed in their game of choice. In the fantasy football world, a popular moniker involving the Konami Code idea applies to certain quarterbacks who separate themselves apart due to their rushing ability. It is a cheat code because all the quarterbacks hold a standard floor of passing statistics but the mobile QBs hold higher ceiling potential due to their rushing ability. The next great Konami Code QB is Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles. If you had the foresight to hedge on this being a possibility going into last season as I did, then you are sitting pretty in your dynasty leagues.

In the short term, Hurts is a phenomenal fantasy asset. However since dynasty is a unique balance of weighing short-term value with long-term value; will Hurts remain a strong option for the long haul? Before we dig into the 2022 season and expectations, let us first be reminded of how Jalen Hurts arrived at this moment in time.

Jalen Hurts’ career has been truly fascinating to this point. In college he was a dynamic QB for the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide: the physical traits were often on display, but decision-making was a noticeable flaw. A turning point in his college career was his benching in the National Championship game in which Tua Tagovailoa replaced him and eventually led the team to win the title.

The following season Hurts transferred to the University of Oklahoma and became the next great QB under Lincoln Riley’s supervision. He became the Heisman Trophy runner-up (to LSU’s Joe Burrow) as he achieved the Oklahoma single-season record for rushing yards and points scored by a QB.

In the 2020 NFL draft, he was drafted in the 2nd round (53rd overall) to back up and eventually replace the Philadelphia Eagles’ franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz. I voiced confusion and displeasure with the selection because I was a true Carson Wentz apologist at the time. I ultimately realized that with Wentz’s injury history becoming extensive, it was wise to have a dynamic QB waiting in the wings if anything were to happen to Wentz.

Hurts ended up replacing Wentz in the back end of the season and by season’s end their Head Coach, Doug Pederson was fired. Hurts would enter his second season as the starter with rookie Head Coach Nick Sirianni. Hurts finished the 2021 season with an 8-7 record; a team total of 9-8, while just barely making the playoffs.

Jalen Hurts demonstrated tremendous leadership and was statistically sound; he took positive steps in becoming the Eagles hopeful franchise quarterback. Despite an overall successful sophomore season campaign, he still struggled with deep passing accuracy. The question of if Hurts can become an improved deep ball passer will be a major factor for his further development as a professional and could certainly determine his prowess as a long-term dynasty asset.

Jalen Hurts’ rushing ability provided not only a tremendous ceiling for fantasy output but also a reliable floor week to week. In his 2nd season, Hurts finished first in the NFL for QBs in rushing attempts (139), yards (784), and TDs (10). He appeared in15 games and finished as the QB9 overall while ranking 6th in points per game.

Quick context check; before Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson went on IR to close out the season he was on pace to league the rushing attempts and yards. In 12 games; one of which he left early after only 2 rushing attempts for 5 yards, Jackson totaled 134 attempts for 767 yards.

The primary point remains that Hurts demonstrated that he was an elite rushing QB in 2021 and in the 4 games he started and one half of a game he started the 2nd half taking over for a struggling Carson Wentz. In 2020, once he took over the job; Hurts totaled 51 rushing attempts for 301 yards and 3 TDs.

Furthermore, the Eagles have an enormously improved offensive core. Hurts enters another season with Head Coach Sirianni who took several to get a substantial grip on the Eagles offense and what it is capable of. Another year with the athletic Tight End Dallas Goedert, sophomore weapons DeVonta Smith and Kenneth Gainwell, and now the cherry on top; wide receiver superstar A.J. Brown! A.J. Brown was acquired and immediately given a contract extension during the 2022 NFL draft in a trade with the Tennessee Titans for the 18th overall pick.

The importance of Brown’s presence in the Philadelphia offense simply cannot be understated. We know what Brown is and what he will bring; Brown will bring a big body that can be utilized in short, mid, deep, and red zone passing attempts. He will also make better defensive back matchups available for WR DeVonta Smith and TE Dallas Goedert. The improved passing attack trio of Brown, Smith, and Goedert will do wonders for a passing attack that recently relied on Quez Watkins and Jalen Reagor in a variety of ways. Brown will not only help Hurts passing efficiency but will give better quality deep ball passing attempts to Watkins and Reagor; who will be best utilized as ancillary weapons.

I can visualize a wide path in which Hurts is able to improve both as a passer but also as a decision maker beyond the typical ‘one read and run’ type of offense. Brown unlocks many possibilities for the Eagles and potential game plans. Hurts has now been officially surrounded by fantastic options; it is now all on him to take the Eagles offense to the next level.

If you are skeptical about Hurts' ability to be a franchise quarterback, improve in his passing ability or decision-making like some members of the fan base and Philadelphia sports media have been then right now in this moment is the ultimate sell-high opportunity. The allure of a young, rushing specialist QB, with wildly improved offensive weapons, will never be higher. Hurts is a hot commodity, right now at least.

I do find the skepticism to be fair to a certain degree. NFL teams should hold high standards to their franchise QBs and if substantial results don’t come quickly, then teams can move on. One of those teams could be the Philadelphia Eagles. For his career Hurts has a completion percentage of 59% with a 9-10 overall W/L record as a starter. His 61% completion percentage in 2021 was ranked 28th among qualifying QBs.

With or without Hurts, General Manager Howie Roseman has done a beautiful job adding draft capital, quality free agents, and draft selections on both sides of the ball in the last two seasons. The Eagles currently hold strong capital in the next two drafts; two first-round picks in 2023 and in 2024 in addition to the first-round pick they also hold two second-round picks.  Howie Roseman has shown to be one of the most aggressive draft day traders in the league; with the strong QB class in 2023, nothing would surprise me if the Eagles looked to make a splash if Hurts doesn’t play to expectation.

If Hurts struggles to develop as a well-rounded quarterback not only could the Eagles go in a different direction at the position but other potential suitors around the league could as well. This would be the total pessimistic perspective but would be a literal nightmare for your dynasty rosters.

There is no doubt about the fact that Hurts has enormous upside with his rushing ability and improved offensive arsenal. However, legitimate questions remain about his professional development and potential career longevity.

Overall, I find that I’m optimistic that the pros outweigh the cons as he has steadily improved with each phase of his ever-adjusting career, including leading the Eagles to the post-season in 2021. Furthermore, I think it is clear the Eagles have put a lot of trust into Hurts as they have put him in the best position to succeed as possible with the A.J. Brown acquisition; it gives me an astounding vote of confidence that the team has with him.

I believe Hurts takes another step forward in his development as he will soon seek a 2nd contract with the Eagles; which of course will give the Eagles tremendous flexibility and outstanding possibilities to build around Hurts using their upcoming draft capital. Jalen Hurts remains a premier Konami Code QB to buy or hold in your dynasty leagues! Get the cheat code and win!

 

 

Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter @FantasyLadder for any further fantasy football discussion, questions, or advice!