Fantasy Football: Zach Ertz is a Breakout Candidate
The 2016 Eagles were a mess. Plagued by injuries, ineffective play from the skill positions, and a rookie QB experiencing the ups and downs of his first season, the Eagles had a disappointing season, to say the least, in route to a 7-9 record and a 4th place finish in their division. One of the lone bright spots for this team was Zach Ertz and he is primed for a huge breakout season in 2017.
Doug Pederson recognized his talent and overall value to the offense on the day he took over as head coach. Which is why, just one week after taking the job, Pederson made his first order of business giving Zach Ertz a 5-year extension worth $42.5 million.
Pederson was onto something, with a rookie QB and first-time head coach, as Ertz put up 78 receptions for 816 yards and 4 TDs in just 14 games. Missing 2 games early in the year, Ertz was slow to get back to full speed until Week 9 when he caught fire. Over the back half of the season, Ertz scored 135.9 fantasy points and was the TE #1 over that span. If you took Ertz’s pace from his last 9 games and extrapolated it over an entire season he’d finish with 273 fantasy points. Travis Kelce, the TE #1 overall last year, only had 223.
Ertz’s statistical dominance doesn’t stop there.
The Philadephia offense couldn’t be a better fit for a talented TE like Ertz. In 2016, the Eagles targeted the TE position 185 times, more than anyone else in the league. The league average of 117.4 seems like nothing in comparison. This should come as no surprise considering that the Eagles used 12 personnel (1 RB, 2 TE, 2 WR set) on 31% of their offensive snaps. Their 334 plays run out of this formation was the most in the league. This means plenty of playing time and opportunities for Zach Ertz and other TEs in Pederson’s system.
With another full year in this offensive system and with Carson Wentz another year along in his development, I expect Ertz to build on his impressive 2016 season.
Drafting Zach Ertz in the middle to late rounds can be the difference between a #FootClanTitle and “better luck next year”. His current ADP is TE11 according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com and the 11.03 in standard leagues. Not only are you getting a stud with top 5 potential you will have spent your first 9-10 picks loading up on studs at other positions.