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Dynasty & Redraft: TE Zach Ertz, Eagles


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Ertz gaining traction in Eagles' offense

Excerpt:

OON, VERY, very soon, Zach Ertz is going to become a major player in Chip Kelly's offense.

Ertz has played only 114 offensive snaps in the Eagles' first five games and has only seven receptions. But the star potential of the 6-5, 250-pound rookie tight end jumps off the film at you every time you watch him.

He has made the most of those seven catches, converting every one of them into first downs. Only DeSean Jackson (24) and Jason Avant (nine) have more receiving first downs, and they've played considerably more snaps than Ertz. He is averaging an impressive 21.4 yards per catch, with four catches of 24 yards or more.

"I'm getting more and more comfortable every week," Ertz said. "Getting a grasp for how this league is played. The first couple of games were hard. I had a shoulder injury at the beginning of [training] camp. Ever since then, each week, I've progressed, which was kind of my goal."

A lot of people have wondered why Ertz, whom the Eagles selected with the 35th overall pick in the April draft, hasn't been out on the field more in the first five games.

With Jeremy Maclin out for the season with a torn ACL, the Eagles don't really have a second reliable receiving option to DeSean Jackson. As we saw in the Eagles' losses to Kansas City and Denver, when a defense is able to take Jackson out of the game, there isn't a real good Plan B, aside from handing the ball off more to LeSean McCoy.

Riley Cooper has been on the field for 92.7 percent of the Eagles' offensive plays, but has been targeted only 19 times and has only eight catches and four first downs, though he does have one of the team's three touchdown catches in the red zone.

Avant has had three straight 50-catch seasons. But defensive coordinators don't lie awake at night worrying how they're going to stop him. Same with the Eagles' starting tight end, Brent Celek.

But Ertz is different, which is why he was drafted so high. His unique combination of size, speed and route-running ability will give defenses Jimmy Graham-like matchup fits.

"I think Zach has continued to develop a little bit," Kelly said. "We've seen more and more from him on a weekly basis here as he starts to continue to grasp what we are doing here."

Despite keeping four tight ends on his roster, despite signing free agent James Casey and drafting Ertz, Kelly so far has used very few multiple-tight-end personnel groupings.

Eighty-two percent of their offensive plays have been run with "11" personnel (1 back, 1 tight end, 3 wide receivers). They've used 12 personnel (2 tight ends) only 59 times in the first five games. When they've gone with two tight ends, Ertz has teamed with Celek. The last couple of games, he also has been rotating with Celek in 11 personnel sets.

"I thought in the beginning that there was going to be a lot of 12 and 13 [3 tight ends] personnel," Ertz said. "But right now, it's been mostly 11 personnel."

Kelly is slowly but surely expanding Ertz' role. He played a season-high 33 snaps last week against the Giants. Probably will play more Sunday with the Bucs' All-Pro cornerback, Darrelle Revis, expected to shadow Jackson all over the field.

"I expect him to grow. But he's just [five games] into his professional football career," Kelly said.

"To expect him to run around and line up all over the place like Jimmy Graham, I don't think anybody envisioned that as we put together an offense and start to figure out what he's good at, what he's not good at.

"To say, 'Hey, you've gotten a few snaps at tight end, now let's put you out at split end and now let's take you and put you in the slot,' that's a lot easier said than done. To get all the little nuances of how to do the little things when you're running a shallow crossing route, if all of a sudden the front-side linebacker drops you, but the backside linebacker picks you up man-to-man, how you can stick and avoid and get across the field [takes time].

"There's a lot of details in doing it. It's not as easy as saying, 'Hey, we drafted this guy and he's got the ability.' Yeah, he does. But I also think we have to get him settled. We have to make sure that we all as a group understand that everybody here, you have to walk before you can run.

"There's a lot of big plans that you can do with Zach and that we can do with this entire offense. But it's going to come in a process. It's not going to come with all of a sudden tomorrow we are going to come up with 17 different ways where we can deploy Zach and put him in different situations, because it's not fair to him."

Edited by Faust
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This thread deserves a bump. He's on pace for a 89/1129/11 stat line. 

ESPN reporting he cleared protocol 

In one of my leagues, a guy once had a team name of It Ertz When I Jacquizz 

He had the targets last week, but not the production. Now listed as co-starter with Celek may mean more 2TE sets and therefore more opportunities. Foles throwing to him a plus or a minus? Dallas gives up receptions and yardage in heavy doses to TEs. I'm thinking he is the TE ww pickup this week over Timothy Wright. Am I nuts?

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Anyone have a scouting report on this guy? I read somewhere that the Stanford coaches preferred him to Fleener, but can't find that now.

Rotoworld:

The NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah tweeted that after speaking to "several" Stanford coaches about Coby Fleener prior to the 2012 Draft, all of them considered Zach Ertz their best TE.

This is even before Ertz took on the lead pass catching role for the Cardinal. The two are different prospects, as Fleener attacked more downfield due to straight-line speed, while Ertz can maneuver and find a home in intermediate areas. The latter will be fighting with Tyler Eifert to be the top tight end selected.
Jan 10 - 2:10 PM
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Rotoworld:

Zach Ertz caught just one pass for five yards in Sunday's Week 8 loss to the Giants.

Ertz was targeted four times, but he lost some reps to James Casey and Brent Celek continues to play a ton. Despite talk of an increasing role, Ertz has totaled just nine catches over the last four games and is on pace for 28 catches this season. He's only a deep Dynasty prospect.
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Rotoworld:

Zach Ertz caught two passes for 31 yards in Sunday's Week 11 win over the Redskins.

Ertz saw three targets on the day as the Eagles continued to use him in the slot. If Nick Foles needed to attempt more than 26 passes, Ertz would have had a bigger day. Still, the rookie is far from a featured player in the offense as he wasn't even targeted in Week 10. Only Dynasty leaguers should hold Ertz through the Week 12 bye.
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Ertz with 5 Rec for 68 yards and (2) TD's vs AZ (who typically has been good vs the TE's) is pretty good. if this kid gets featured enough and better at blocking could he be a top 10-12 TE? That's all I need him to be. Just drafted him in a 16 Team Dynasty IDP league startup in the 11th Round

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Rotoworld take:

Zach Ertz played on 38-of-78 snaps (48.7 percent) in Sunday's win over the Cardinals.

Ertz played on 58.3 percent of the snaps in Week 9, 54.8 in Week 10 and 45.4 in the game before the Week 12 bye. In other words, his role didn't really change as he recorded a 5/68/2 against the Cards. What did change was the gameplan as Chip Kelly set out to expose Arizona's base linebackers that are stout against run, but struggle badly in coverage. The Eagles won't be afraid to challenge the Lions outside corners in Week 14, leaving Ertz as a mere TE2.
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I wouldn't get too excited in redraft about his performance yesterday. I drafted him in my Dynasty league and played him for the first time yesterday. The Cards are horrible against TE's, so I started him on a hunch that he would get in the endzone. I wouldn't play him again though - this week he just had a great matchup.

He could be good in Dynasty down the road, but in redraft I would expect more of the same old, same old.

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So in Dynasty could he be a consistant top TE in the Top 15 range most years? That is all I need out of him.

Yes. Then again, in most formats a top-15 TE is worth almost nothing. That's a tier a mile wide.

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So in Dynasty could he be a consistant top TE in the Top 15 range most years? That is all I need out of him.

Yes. Then again, in most formats a top-15 TE is worth almost nothing. That's a tier a mile wide.

Yeah but I'm in a 16 team Keeper league and have Ladarius Green too. Ertz can be a TE1/TE2 I think over time.

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Rotoworld:

Zach Ertz played more snaps than Brent Celek for the first time all season in Week 15.

For the second time in three weeks, we're warning owners not to chase Ertz's big day. The Eagles chose to attack the Vikings through the air and abandon the run game, so Celek's blocking was not needed as much. And once the Eagles fell behind, Ertz was playing just about every snap as a "move" tight end. That's unlikely to happen in Week 16 as the Bears are best beaten on the ground.
Related: Brent Celek
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Ertz's snap counts & numbers:

Week 15:

Ertz did 65% of the offensive snaps, 9/5/68/1

Celek did 45%,

Casey had 7%.

Week 14 vs DET (snowbowl) it was:

Ertz - 35% (1/0/0/0)

Celek - 89%

Casey - 29%

Week 13 vs ARI:

Ertz - 49% - 9/6/57/2

Celek - 82%

Casey - 15%

I suppose it's possible PHI runs the ball a lot and well against CHI, and perhaps they were forced to pass vs MIN. Regardless at least in the last two "real" games he has been catching TD passes.

Edited by SaintsInDome2006
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Started him the last two weeks. Snow got him last week but money this week. I think they will keep increasing his involvement.

I agree, Chicago looks like a great matchup.

Anyone have any sense as to how the Bears have done vs TEs this year?

They currently give up the 10th most ppg to the TE position.

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Rotoworld:

Eagles rookie TE Zach Ertz's snaps have dropped the past four games in favor of more James Casey.

As beat writer Jeff McLane explains, it's because the Eagles are running the ball more, and Casey is a superior run blocker to Ertz. Brent Celek remains the primary in-line tight end. If Ertz is going to become a consistent 2014 fantasy contributor, he'll have to improve his blocking in Chip Kelly's run-foundation offense. Ertz has TE1 potential if he can become an every-down player.
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Rotoworld:

Zach Ertz caught three passes for 22 yards with a touchdown in Saturday's Wild Card loss to the Saints.

Ertz also had another near touchdown clang off his hands in the corner of the end zone. The second-round rookie's first NFL season ends with 36 catches for 469 yards and four touchdowns, but it's important to note that he only played on obvious passing downs while Brent Celek served as the every-down tight end and James Casey was the run blocker. When Ertz was on the field, he showed serious potential as a "move" tight end. He just has to gain some polish and prove himself as a blocker to get more snaps and therefore more than the 3.5 targets per game he saw in 2013. We suspect Ertz will end up as one of the better TE2 bets in 2014 fantasy drafts.
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Rotoworld:

Michael Vick said he believes Zach Ertz will eventually be one of the best tight ends in the NFL.

"There are three players that I told that they would be great players in this league," Vick said. "I always told Alge Crumpler that he was going to be great, I always told Shady McCoy that he was going to be a great player in this league, and I always told Roddy White. And now I'm saying Zach Ertz." Vick's words actually came before Ertz broke out for a 25/290/5 line over the season's fine nine games. With a full offseason in the Eagles' program and Chip Kelly expected to install more "12" personnel, the arrow is pointing straight up here.
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Rotoworld:

The Philly Inquirer expects Zach Ertz to take over as the Eagles' "primary receiving tight end" in 2014.

Whereas blocking TE Brent Celek played 77 percent of the Eagles' 2013 snaps, Ertz was limited to 41. He still registered a 25-290-5 stat line over the final nine games, which extrapolates to 45-516-9 across a full season. Ertz can get the catch and yardage totals up by simply earning more field time. He'll be a popular if somewhat lower-floor back-end TE1 pick in 2014 fantasy drafts.
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Evan Silva ‏@evansilva 1m

Zach Ertz only played 41% of #Eagles 2013 snaps. Expect big hike for him with DeSean Jackson gone & Maclin/Cooper as primary WRs.

Jackson officially gone. Ertz should be in line for a massive increase of targets.

he takes a big bump up the dynasty boards... this is the guy Kelly wanted all along

What do you mean by that? He had him all last year. Do you mean he wants to use him differently in light of the Jackson release?

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Evan Silva ‏@evansilva 1m

Zach Ertz only played 41% of #Eagles 2013 snaps. Expect big hike for him with DeSean Jackson gone & Maclin/Cooper as primary WRs.

Jackson officially gone. Ertz should be in line for a massive increase of targets.

he takes a big bump up the dynasty boards... this is the guy Kelly wanted all along

What do you mean by that? He had him all last year. Do you mean he wants to use him differently in light of the Jackson release?

I think hes going to get a bump in snaps

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Philly.com's Jimmy Kempski guesses Zach Ertz will catch 50 passes for 750 yards and eight touchdowns in his second season.

This is obviously just a shot-in-the-dark guess, but it's worth examining as a starting point. Despite playing only 41 percent of Philly's 2013 snaps, Ertz registered a 36-469-4 mark. Kempski's 15 yards per reception are a little lofty. Still, it seems reasonable at surface level, and with a major snap-rate increase for 2014. Ertz will take part in "replacing" DeSean Jackson.
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Ertz owner here with high hopes, but interpret the situation differently.

Maclin is back so I essentially see him "replacing" Jackson's targets although they are very different players.

My hope with Ertz is that he grabs a much bigger piece of the TE pie and gets more 3rd down work left open by the cutting of Jason Avant.

Edited by JackReacher
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Ertz owner here with high hopes, but interpret the situation differently.

Maclin is back so I essentially see him "replacing" Jackson's targets although they are very different players.

My hope with Ertz is that he grabs a much bigger piece of the TE pie and gets more 3rd down work left open by the cutting of Jason Avant.

- Desean, - Avant, + Maclin, + Sproles

Ertz is Chip Kelly's first drafted toy. Don't think he doesn't have a plan to feature him.

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NFC Team-by-Team Notes

Evan Silva

Excerpt:

Zach Ertz is really interesting. Eagles beat writers and players were predicting a sophomore leap for last year's 35th overall pick even before Jackson's release. "There are three players that I told that they would be great players in this league," Michael Vick stated last season. "I always told Alge Crumpler that he was going to be great, I always told Shady McCoy that he was going to be a great player in this league, and I always told Roddy White. And now I'm saying Zach Ertz." Ertz's pass-game role expanded down the stretch, posting a 25-290-5 receiving line across Philly's final nine games. And he only played 41% of the snaps. Ertz is a "movement" tight end who can run pass patterns at all three levels of the field. Here's a link to my college tape study on Ertz as he came out of Stanford last winter.

I think the Eagles will wind up compensating for Jackson's production in a committee manner. I like Maclin as a 2014 re-draft pick assuming his price tag doesn't get too high. I could see Sproles having an outside chance at weekly flex-play reliability in PPR leagues. But at this moment, I see Ertz as the biggest box-score beneficiary of D-Jax's departure.

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Checking In On Conditioning Program

Excerpt:

ZACH ERTZ, tight end

A second-round draft pick from Stanford, Zach Ertzicon-article-link.gif found his stride following the bye week in 2013 and had some big games down the stretch. He had 5 catches for 68 yards and two touchdowns against Arizona and followed up a couple of weeks later with 6 catches, 57 yards and a score in Minnesota.

The blur of the first season that accelerated after the draft, became compounded when Ertz missed the Organized Team Activities because his class at Stanford hadn't graduated, finally slowed a tick for Ertz midway through the year.

“I think after the bye week last year things really kind of slowed down for me. At the beginning I was kind of rushing a lot of things," said Ertz, who said he was "miserable" taking engineering classes at Stanford while the Eagles practiced at the NovaCare Complex last spring. "Then in that Cardinals game I had a big game and I think I was like, ‘OK, I can make an impact in this league.’ "

Goals for the offseason? Ertz expects to take a massive step forward in Year 2.

“I want to be more of a complete tight end. I don’t want there to be a situation where I have to come off the field because it’s a running play or a passing play and the coaches feel they have to get me off the field. That’s what I’m working for this year.”

That's expected to be the case. Ertz could move around the formation quite a bit as the Eagles ultilize his ability to get down the field. The depth at tight end is going to be a weapon as the offense creates favorable matchups.

"We have a great group and Brent (Celek) and James (Casey) have been so helpful," said Ertz. "You hear horror stories from around the league, but that's not the case here. It's been great."

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