At the moment, Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz is going in the 12th round, but after his performance against the Chicago Bears, it appears that his value will be of considerable proportions in Chip Kelly‘s offense.
I’ve been one of the doubters of the success that the Eagles can find with Kelly’s system, as I didn’t think that it’d be able to contain all its high-octane power. But it appears that it’s a system that self adjusts itself to build its weakest links with constant speed and power. There are weapons all around the field like LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles, and that allows the tight ends that aren’t as battle-tested to become open, viable threats.
Saturday night, Ertz was able to reel in 60 yards on four receptions – over half of those yards came off a 34 yard reception. While I don’t like it when a player’s totals are inflated from big plays, he still had three receptions that averaged almost nine yards a piece. For a tight end, a nine yard average is completely respectable.
With that sort of efficiency, he won’t be in store for a 900 yard season as Jason Witten has proven with the Dallas Cowboys, but if he can even tack on 60 receptions for nine yards each, he’d hover around the 500-600 yards marker. But of course, he has shown that he’s capable of more than just average production, raking in the 17th most fantasy points among TEs last season as a backup.
If he can bust a 30+ yard play in just half of his games, he’d tack on 240 yards to his existing total. That would increase his total to over 700 yards, and possibly into 800+ yard territory. That’s the sort of player I’d like on my team. Do I want him to be my starter? Yes, and no.
At the moment, he’s still the TE2 on the Eagle’s depth chart, but he’s showing more ability than Brent Celek is right now. But even when Ertz only started three games last season, he finished as the 17th best TE option, whereas Celek was the 14th best. So even if Ertz were to stay below in the depth chart, he could still provide as much value.
A good draft plan involving Ertz would take him somewhere around round 11-12, assuming you already have made a TE selection. Start to gauge his production over the first quarter of the season to see how much value he’s adding for you. If he’s worth more than your starting TE is, work Ertz into your starting rotation and trade away your starter. If your starter and Ertz are equal in value, look into trading away Ertz to the league’s weakest team, tight end wise.
At the moment, Ertz seems to be going under the radar, but certainly isn’t going unnoticed in the Eagles’ organization; making him a great value pick. Hopefully he can keep producing in these preseason games, but still maintain his underrated profile for fantasy owners’ sake.