Tight end Zach Ertz is receiving a lot of love in the fantasy football community, but does he deserve a spot on your team this season?
The rookie finished the 2013 season ranking 21st among his fellow tight ends in standard scoring leagues, and he totaled 469 receiving yards. He also hauled in four touchdown catches. While his numbers will not make you wipe drool from your mouth, he is a promising talent in a flashy offense.
The only thing essentially holding Ertz back is his tight-end teammate, Brent Celek. Celek has had a few relevant fantasy seasons throughout the past several years, but he has seen a decrease in his usage. Celek totaled 57 receptions in 2012, but when Chip Kelly came to town, the 29-year-old tight end only totaled 32 receptions. When the efforts of Ertz and Celek were combined in 2013, the two tight ends caught 68 passes, 10 touchdown passes and racked up 971 receiving yards. It is easy to see why fantasy players would be so optimistic about Ertz, as a decrease in Celek’s playing time should help the sophomore tight end to have a very successful fantasy season.
If Bryce Brown is any indication of how Kelly operates, Celek could find himself involved less and less in the passing attack. Despite the flashes of greatness that Brown showed, he was just not the fit that Kelly wanted. I don’t see any reason why Celek would be completely phased out of the offense, as he won’t be a free agent until 2017, but the offense wants to continue to move at a super fast pace. If Celek can’t fit that mold, Ertz will completely takeover.
At the minimum, I believe Ertz is eligible for 600 receiving yards and six touchdown catches in 2013, which would have made him a top-10 TE in 2013. He could finish even better than that, but it depends on Celek’s usage. You can currently draft Ertz in the 10th round according to fantasyfootballcalculator.com, and that is great place to land a high-reward player.
He is a great investment as a backup, and Ertz could have the chance to become your starter from week to week.