Jalen Hurts injury: Gardner Minshew worth adding in Fantasy Football; AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith still starters

By | December 19, 2022

If you were the person who took a chance on Jalen Hurts in your Fantasy Football drafts, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve still got a lot to play for heading into Week 16. Unfortunately, it sounds like you may have to make your push for a championship without him, as Hurts is dealing with a shoulder injury that puts his availability for the remainder of the regular season very much into doubt.

Hurts suffered a sprained shoulder in the third quarter of Sunday’s win over the Bears, and though he was able to play through the injury, multiple reports indicate it is likely to keep him out at least a few weeks. It’s an injury to his throwing shoulder, and while it isn’t considered a long-term injury, the 13-1 Eagles don’t exactly have much at stake for the final three games of the regular season. They can clinch the no. 1 seed if they win one of their final three games.

That means it looks like Gardner Minshew will try to lock up the No. 1 seed against the Cowboys in Week 16. Minshew is about as good as you can hope a backup to be. He went 1-1 with four touchdowns and one interception in two starts for the Eagles last season, and he sports a 7.0 yards per attempt and 4.8% touchdown rate for his career – with a 1.4% interception rate that actually matches Aaron Rodgers for the lowest mark among active quarterbacks.

It’s a tough landing spot for Minshew against the Cowboys, who arguably feature the best pass rush in the league – outside of Philadelphia’s own, at least. However, with AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith – and potentially Dallas Goedert, who hopes to be back from IR in Week 16 – catching his passes, Minshew should be decent enough to matter for Fantasy. I won’t rank him as a top-12 QB for this week, but he might be the best widely available option on waivers if you need a Hurts replacement.

And he should be able to keep Brown and Smith productive enough to be worth starting. Again, it’s a tough matchup, but I’m slotting Minshew in as my QB13 this week, ahead of the likes of Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers. Much of that projected production is going to come from the passing game, particularly those two primary weapons. Hurts has been a very good passer this season, but having Brown and Smith (and Goedert, when he’s been healthy) has also helped, and Minshew will benefit from those weapons as well.

Brown is still a top-12 WR for me this week, while Smith remains a top-20 option despite the tough matchup. If Goedert plays, he’ll be a top five tight end, too. I downgraded both, but neither fell more than a few spots, and it’s not unreasonable to think the Eagles could make up for whatever they might lose in efficiency with volume with Minshew at QB.

If you need to replace Hurts, Minshew should probably be your top priority on waivers, and he could be useful in Week 17 against the Saints even if you don’t use him in Week 16. Otherwise, your best options might be Brock Purdy ( 33% rostered) against the Commanders, Tyler Huntley (35%) against the Falcons, or Andy Dalton (23%) against Cleveland.

Which is to say… you should really make sure you get Minshew if you need a quarterback. He’s by far the best option available in the majority of CBS Fantasy leagues, and could end up being a very good starting option down the stretch. He won’t be Jalen Hurts-good, but there aren’t many quarterbacks who can be. Minshew should be the next best thing.

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