Fantasy football player profile: Jalen Hurts


(As fantasy football dives headlong into draft season, some players warrant a little extra attention. All August, Dom Cintorino and Adam Pfeifer will do deep dives into some of the notable names. Follow along with our player profiles series. Today’s profile: Jalen Hurts)

Fantasy football value 2021 – Jalen Hurts

Entering the 2021 campaign, Jalen Hurts is one of the more polarizing players in all of fantasy football. He played three full games as a rookie last year and started a fourth, though he didn’t finish it as the Eagles had zero interest in winning in Week 17. During those four weeks, Hurts was the QB6 in fantasy, averaging 68 rushing yards per game and scored three rushing touchdowns, while also posting two 300-yard passing games and throwing five scores.

Obviously, the rushing is such a difference-maker for fantasy, as Hurts basically started with a touchdown every week when you consider his rushing yardage. (Check out Eliot Crist’s piece on Konami code quarterbacks for more.) Rushing can help not only solidify a rock-solid floor but also help unlock a sky-high ceiling in fantasy, and that is exactly what we saw from Hurts to end the 2020 season. To wit: In Week 17 against Washington, Hurts played just 50 snaps, completed 7-of-20 passes for 72 yards, didn’t throw a touchdown pass and tossed an interception. And yet he still scored just over 17 fantasy points in the contest. That right there just shows the impact that rushing production can have for quarterbacks in fantasy football.

And it is highly unlikely that rushing goes anywhere in 2021. Hurts ran the ball 46 times over his final four games, while also ranking fourth in the league in rushing yards from RPO sets (14), despite only starting four games. And if you check out FTN’s coaching and coordinator breakdown of the Eagles, you’ll see that the RPO will be an integral part of this Philadelphia offense under new head coach Nick Sirianni and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen. Only 24 of Hurts’ rushing yards from last year came off scrambles and even though it is a new coaching staff and regime, we should expect Hurts to once again see a ton of designed runs. 

(Get an All Access pass to FTN NFL coverage across all sites for $349.99.)

So what about the passing numbers? Despite ranking dead last among qualified passers in adjusted completion percentage (65.6%), we need to dive deeper when analyzing Hurts as a passer. For starters, the Eagles offensive play calling (especially in the passing game) was questionable last year. A huge reason behind Hurts’ low completion rate is the fact that he led all quarterbacks in average depth of target last season (10.1), while around 13% of his pass attempts traveled 20 yards or more. Hurts only completed about 36% of his deep attempts but the Eagles receiving room left much to be desired, as it featured aging Alshon Jeffery, rookie Jalen Reagor and journeyman castoff Travis Fulgham.

The Eagles added DeVonta Smith during the offseason, and this offense should feature much more intermediate passing than last year, while Philadelphia will also do more in the screen game. In a weird season where Hurts was thrust into a starting role with poor receivers and a revolving door of an offensive line, the situation was clearly less than ideal. The Eagles had the most combinations of starting offensive lines in the NFL last year, while Hurts was under pressure on 37.8% of his dropbacks, one of the highest marks in the league. If Andre Dillard can stay healthy and take a step forward, this can easily return to being a top-five offensive line, especially with Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks and Jason Kelce still there. (Check out the FTN Fantasy advanced passing stats for more.) We should also see more play-action passing from the Eagles this season, which could be awesome for Hurts. Although it was in a small sample size, Hurts was impressive, as he ranked inside the top-12 in adjusted completion percentage off play-action. Meanwhile, his 16.5% difference in completion rate easily led the league and the Eagles play-action rate is certainly set to increase in 2021. With a full offseason under his belt and a better situation around him, expect Hurts to post much better passing numbers in his second season. 

Fantasy football ADP stock watch – Jalen Hurts

Hurts is being drafted as a top-12 quarterback in most leagues, but lately it has been a lot closer to top-10. This is where he should be selected and if he comes off draft boards around QB7 or QB8, I totally get it. There is so much upside with Hurts, not only because of the rushing numbers he’ll put up, but also because he is a better passer than last year’s numbers suggest. There seems to be a consensus top-five at the position in fantasy this season but if you pass on that tier, Hurts is an ideal candidate later on in drafts. Veterans such as Ryan Tannehill and Tom Brady are being drafted right around Hurts and while they are all very close, the ceiling for Hurts is massive. 

(Get an All Access pass to FTN NFL coverage across all sites for $349.99.)

NFL fantasy football ranking – Jalen Hurts

(Check out Jeff Ratcliffe’s top 100 0.5 PPR rankings.)

Speaking of Tannehill and Brady, both signal callers are ranked just behind Hurts in FTN’s consensus rankings ahead of the season. He slides in as the QB9 and that feels right, especially with Aaron Rodgers firmly back in the top-seven now that he’s back with the Packers. Hurts undoubtedly has top-five upside at the position in 2021, especially with the Philadelphia pass-catchers appearing to be much improved from a season ago. Given his elite rushing production, the weekly floor will always be there with Hurts but when you consider that his passing numbers are going to improve tremendously in year two, you begin to truly realize the massive upside he has this season. 

Previous Fantasy coaching & coordinator breakdown: ARZ Next Fantasy football player profile: Cole Kmet