What advantage does Zach Ertz have in fantasy football?
After eight extremely productive years as the Philadelphia Eagle, it was clear the team and Zach Ertz were ready for a change, and that change came midway through the 2021 season. Although the team gave him a nice gift starter – a first quarter end zone goal that would be his last touchdown in an Eagles uniform – Philadelphia would trade Ertz just days after their Week 6 game, sending him to Arizona for cornerback Tay Gowan and a fifth-round pick.
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Ertz hasn’t missed a beat with his new team, racking up some fantastic points whether it’s Kyler Murray or Colt McCoy at quarterback. Below, we’ll break down his transition year and look forward to what we can expect from him in fantasy football in the 2022 season.
Two birds, one year
With the writing on the wall of a change of direction in the tight end position in Philadelphia, fantasy owners rejoiced when they heard of a change of scenery for Zach Ertz. Although the 30-year-old vet had a few fantastic usable weeks to start the year, he paired them with two weeks in which he failed to record double-digit receiving yards; his capped production cap while sharing the depth chart with Dallas Goedert. In contrast, he would start producing as soon as he arrived in Arizona, scoring a 47-yard touchdown in the third quarter of his very first game with the team.
Although his production would go up and down a bit while the Cardinals dealt with a hobbled Kyler Murray, Ertz’s increased use in his new home would result in many useful fantastic weeks.
|Time range||Targets (Rank)||Receptions (Rank)||Yards (Rank)||YPRR (ranking)|
|Weeks 1 to 6||31 (10th)||18 (15th)||189 (19th)||1.4 (33rd)|
|Weeks 7-18||80 (3rd)||55 (2nd)||559 (7th)||1.7 (24th)|
Kyler Murray’s new safety cover essentially went from a tight end in the middle of the road to a first use option in the span of 10 days, performing like the fantasy TE7 with 9.4 points of half PPR per game from the time of the trade until the end of the season. The only other tight end that saw a reasonable amount of action on the court last season was Maxx Williams (16-193-1), and he wouldn’t see another snap after Week 5.
Unfortunately for the team, Ertz didn’t often share a pitch with Kyler Murray and point guard DeAndre Hopkins, with Hopkins and Ertz only playing three full games together during the year. Looking back on the tight end splits with and without Hopkins, it’s worth noting that he averaged 3.3 receptions and 31 yards on 4.3 targets per game while Nuk was in the field and 5 .6 receptions and 57 yards on 8.1 targets per game when Nuk was out. field. We’re obviously working with small sample sizes here, but DeAndre Hopkins being suspended for the first six games of the year could open up some early-season use for the Cardinals’ TE.
It depends, of course, on how certain new offensive plays figure into the passing game.
Drawing a straight line from last year’s usage into a fantasy 2022 projection would be easy enough, but Arizona’s offseason makes it a little more difficult than that. Likely spawned by Hopkins’ upcoming suspension and aided by Kyler Murray’s turmoil, the team came out and got Murray’s former college teammate Marquise Brown (and a third-rounder) for the 23rd overall pick award. . Additionally, the team also drafted 2021 Mackey Award winner Trey McBride from Colorado State with their second-round pick.
While Brown and Hopkins don’t work in the same way, it would be reasonable to assume that the newly acquired receiver can replace most of Hopkins’ alleged target share, if only because of his familiarity with his former quarterback. For a full dive into Brown’s form at his new team, I suggest taking a look at this article written by Chris Allen immediately after the trade. While I agree there will be a lot of balls to be done for Hollywood, I think Hopkin’s time away from the court will be just as beneficial, if not more so, for Zach Ertz. Remember last season he averaged two more catches and over 25 more yards when DeAndre Hopkins was off the field, and he still provides a great receiver for Kyler Murray, especially in the red zone . Ertz accounted for 29% of team targets and 23% of team receptions inside the opponent’s 20-yard line coming off the rally, with no other tight ends representing even that a single target.
That brings us to Trey McBride, who caught 90 balls for over 1,100 yards in his senior year in college, both unheard of in the college ranks. Historical tight rookie tendencies would have us believe that McBride will have to be an outlier unicorn if he is to eat away at Zach Ertz’s production in any meaningful way this season.
Since 2015, 52 TEs have been drafted in the first four rounds of the NFL Draft. Collectively, they scored 4.6 half PPR points per game in their rookie season. Here is their ppg based on the round they were drafted in:
1st – 6.5
2nd – 4.5
3rd – 3.5
4th – 4.0
— Justin Edwards (@Justin_Redwards) June 13, 2022
History tells us that rookie tight ends usually start out very slow and judging by the numbers referenced above, they usually don’t necessarily end up strong either. That said, with McBride potentially in shape by the end of Year 1 and DeAndre Hopkins back in Week 7, targeted competition could become very real for Zach Ertz in the second half of the season, who will be working against his end of the season. Numbers.
- With a lack of tall receivers — especially in the first six weeks of the season — available to Kyler Murray, Zach Ertz provides plenty of touchdown equity in fantasy football.
- If DeAndre Hopkins returns to the court in Week 7 as usual, he will certainly limit Zach Ertz’s advantage immediately, just like he did in 2021.
- In the Underdog drafts, Ertz currently exits the board as TE10 at the start of round 10. While it’s a reasonable price to try and secure a tight top 10, I think it’s a bad idea to target it in large field tournaments where there’s so much emphasis on high scores at the end of the calendar year. It will be his 10th year in the league, and while he stays healthy all season, Hopkins will be fine by then, Marquise Brown will have the offense and Trey McBride might even get involved by then. the.