Working on a limited time frame due to a condensed week and a plethora of injuries, the Philadelphia Eagles need players who wouldn’t regularly have prominent roles to step up on Thursday night as they take on divisional rival New York Giants. One such player being thrust into the fantasy football spotlight is tight end Richard Rodgers. With both Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz set to miss multiple weeks, is Rodgers up to the task, and will fantasy managers be rewarded by taking a flier on his newfound relevancy?
The Eagles will be without both Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz for multiple weeks
The list of injured players continues to pile up for the Eagles, who are 1-4-1 and somehow still in the NFC East race.
During their Week 6 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, TE Zach Ertz suffered a high ankle sprain, which forced him out of the game. NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Thursday that Ertz is expected to miss four to six weeks due to the injury, per a source informed of the situation. The team later announced that Ertz has officially been placed on injured reserve.
There was hope that fellow tight end Dallas Goedert would be able to make his return off his own IR stint and suit up for their game, but that has since been ruled out. Garafolo also reported that Goedert, who has been on IR due to an ankle injury, is on track to potentially return in Week 10 after the Eagles’ bye.
The next player in line to see an increased workload is Richard Rodgers. The seventh-year player spent time earlier in his career with the Green Bay Packers and has seen minimal usage this year for the Eagles.
Rodgers had only played between 32 and 36 percent of offensive snaps between Week 3 and Week 5 but saw a large increase to 60% in Week 6 as a response to Ertz’s injury. Rodgers has caught nine of ten targets for 99 yards and no touchdowns on the season. However, he had been relatively buried on the depth chart until recently, giving Rodgers his best chance to start in fantasy lineups this week.
Is Richard Rodgers worth trusting as a TE2 for fantasy in Week 7?
With Ertz and Goedert out for about a month, Rodgers became such an important piece for the Eagles, who are lacking depth all around. The Eagles have already ruled out WR Alshon Jeffrey and RB Miles Sanders, leaving receivers Travis Fulgham and Greg Ward as the only viable options outside.
The Eagles have been extremely TE-heavy under Doug Pederson, and it’s not like they’re going to change their offense overnight. The 74 targets the tight ends have received accounts for 31.4% of the target share. The Eagles also run 12-personnel more than anyone else in the NFL by a large margin, lining up in “12” on an incredible 47% of its offensive plays. Rodgers could be in for more targets than most expect.
The downside is that he is going against a team that has been solid defending the tight end position. Currently, the Giants give up the fifth-fewest points per game at 8.68 to the position. They’ve still yet to allow a tight end more than four catches or 49 yards. However, they have not seen the volume they will likely face on Thursday as no team has targeted the tight end more than four times per game against them. That streak will surely end tonight.
With players like Mark Andrews, Mike Gesicki, Irv Smith Jr, and Trey Burton on a bye, fantasy managers will be scrambling for other options. That is not even considering that both Ertz and Jonnu Smith will likely be out this week due to injuries. Currently rostered in 3.1% of fantasy leagues, Richard Rodgers is almost assuredly on your waivers right now and could provide a solid fill-in if you are in a pinch.
The one downside is that the margin for outcomes is extensive. Rodgers could score a touchdown and see ten targets while finishing as a top-12 option. He also has a shot to see less than a handful of targets and have 20 yards receiving. I won’t say you can trust him by any means, but in fantasy, fortune favors the bold, and starting an unproven Richard Rodgers is a bold play indeed.
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