2017 Sleeper: Why Zach Ertz Is A Must Target Tight End On Draft Day

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We have Zach Ertz ranked as our fifth best tight end entering the season, yet according to Fantasy Pros his average ADP is 116.5 (making him the 11th tight end coming off the board).  Being selected before him include some surprising names:

  • Jimmy Graham (5th)
  • Kyle Rudolph (8th)
  • Martellus Bennett (9th)
  • Hunter Henry (10th)

The question is, why the discrepancy?  Why do we believe that he’ll be among the best options, yet early drafters appear to be disregarding him?

 

Opportunity
One of the biggest things people are likely overlooking is his opportunity to produce.  Despite missing 1 game in ’15 and 2 games in ’16, Ertz has been targeted at least 100 times in each of the past two seasons.  Last season he was one of six tight ends to have eclipsed that mark.  In 2015 there were nine who reached that plateau.  It’s something that can’t be ignored, and has to be seen as a major positive moving into 2017.

Yes the addition of Alshon Jeffrey could lead to a fewer opportunities, but Dorial Green-Beckham and his 74 targets are no longer on the roster.  The team could also cut back on the rushing attempts (438), even if it’s just by a few, and that will help Ertz maintain his opportunities.

Throw in Jeffrey helping to take away the attention from Ertz, and even if he drops to right around 100 the upside is there.

 

Production
Then you have the obvious rapport he formed with Carson Wentz last season.  Just look at the numbers that he produced over the final 9 games of the ’16 season:

63 receptions for 666 yards and 4 TD

No you can’t just project that over an entire 16 games, but if we did (just for fun) you’d get a tight end posting 112 receptions for 1,184 yards and 7 TD.  That obviously would’ve given him the most receptions by a tight end (in fact, it would’ve been more receptions than any wide receiver) as well as the most receiving yards (Travis Kelce led the way with 1,125).

Again, it’s not something that’s realistic but that has to open some eyes.

 

Conclusion
If he can stay healthy (and that’s a major if), Ertz is an absolute bargain at his current ADP.  Targeting him is a no-brainer, just make sure you have enough depth to cover if there is an injury.

 

Sources – NFL.com, ESPN, Fantasy Pros

Make sure to check out our early 2017 Rankings:

Is Mark Ingram Actually A Must Buy RB On Draft Day?
Breaking Down The Backfield: San Francisco 49ers: Is Carlos Hyde or Joe Williams The Better Target?

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