Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz looked like he was finished in Philadelphia. Then, a midseason trade helped him revive his career. The Cardinals rewarded Ertz by committing to him for the next three seasons as their starting tight end. What can fantasy football managers expect from Ertz in the 2022 season and is he a good value at his current ADP in fantasy football drafts?
Zach Ertz’s fantasy outlook for 2022
I’ll admit it. I was out on Ertz. I thought he was done. His 2020 season was an unmitigated disaster. In addition to being the first season of his career where he played fewer than 14 games, Ertz played quite poorly in the 11 games he did play in.
Ertz’s 18.8% target share was his lowest since 2014. He averaged just 30.5 receiving yards per game and only scored one touchdown. Ertz finished as the TE24, averaging 7 PPR fantasy points per game.
Heading into the 2021 season, it was Dallas Goedert’s time. And the thing is, it was. Ertz averaged just 8.1 ppg with the Eagles against Goedert’s 9.3. While Ertz was eating into Goedert’s production, it was clear Goedert was the Eagles’ TE1.
Then, following Week 6, Ertz got new life when the Eagles traded him to the Cardinals. Arizona had just lost Maxx Williams and needed a tight end.
In 11 games with the Cardinals, Ertz proved he’s still got some juice left. He averaged 52.2 receiving yards per game, which is right in line with his career average. With DeAndre Hopkins unable to stay on the field, Ertz actually led the Cardinals in target share during his 11 games with the team.
Ertz averaged 11.9 ppg with the Cardinals, which is firmly in the mid-TE1 territory. Although Ertz is on the back nine of his career, he proved he can still be a fantasy TE1 in the right circumstances.
How the Cardinals’ depth chart impacts Zach Ertz’s fantasy projection for the season
Ertz’s 2022 circumstances couldn’t be much better. The Cardinals are one of the most explosive offenses in the league. They play fast, running no-huddle a league-high 37% of the time. And they score a lot of points. Most importantly, though, is Ertz is set up for volume. And volume is king.
The Cardinals lost Christian Kirk and Chase Edmonds in free agency. While they traded for Marquise Brown and brought back A.J. Green, neither is a true WR1. Green is barely a WR3 at this point in his career. Kliff Kingsbury is saying Rondale Moore will see an increased role, but I’m not sure I’m buying that. All of this points to Ertz once again being a prominent part of the passing attack.
The early part of the season matters
It’s important to get off a strong start in fantasy football, and Ertz’s early-season outlook is, in the words of Larry David, “pretty, pretty … pretty good.” Hopkins is out for the first six games due to a suspension. Ertz is poised to potentially be Kyler Murray’s primary target for the first six weeks. At worst, he’ll be second behind Hollywood Brown.
Fantasy managers should consider Ertz a low TE1, at worst. His most likely outcome is somewhere in the TE8-12 range. However, he could very well be a top-five tight end during the games Hopkins misses. There’s also the possibility Hopkins just can’t stay healthy anymore, and Ertz has more opportunities to be in a more prominent role.
Ertz’s ADP for 2022
Ertz’s ADP is around 90th overall as the TE9. This is exactly where he should go. I’m perfectly content waiting on tight end and grabbing Ertz before we get into the streaming territory. Ertz sits 104th overall and ninth at the position in our consensus 2022 PPR fantasy rankings. However, Tommy Garrett and I have him ranked right around 90th overall, while Ben Rolfe is less bullish on his outlook.
For comparison purposes, Ertz goes roughly 30 picks after T.J. Hockenson. While I’d rather have Hockenson than Ertz, Hockenson is not 30 picks better than Ertz. There is just a 10-spot gap in their overall ranking in our consensus. By no means is Ertz a must draft, and I’m fine passing on him to take more shots at wide receivers and running backs. But if you’re eyeing up Ertz as your TE1, he’s a very good pick at his ADP.