Dynasty Dilemma: Zach Ertz
By Steve Uetz
As you seek a Championship in your dynasty league, a question to ask is this:
Is the short-term success with an aging asset worth the potential temporary sacrifice of future talent?
Welcome to the Dynasty Dilemma of Zach Ertz
I find Tight Ends to be a notoriously scarce position group for fantasy football. Since talented youth is often the priority in dynasty leagues, I find myself questioning the proper course of action with 31-year-old TE Zach Ertz. With Ertz’s resurgence in Arizona, I have been asking myself these questions: Is Zach Ertz an exception to the rule of prioritizing youth? Is taking the chance on an older asset worth the potential price of acquisition?
Zach Ertz’s dynasty dilemma began in his final games as a Philadelphia Eagle. Leading into the 2021 season it was clear that he and Eagles were not on the same page regarding a potential contract extension. Philadelphia had expressed their appreciation of Ertz but continued to seek a team-friendly deal for his services.
After a very up and down first six games of the 2021 season, Ertz was surprisingly traded to the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals were seeking to fill the void left by TE Maxx Williams after he unfortunately suffered a season-ending knee injury. Ertz suddenly became fantasy relevant again. In the 11 games he played with the Cardinals, he averaged nearly 7.5 targets and 5 receptions per game totaling 56 catches for 574 yards and 3 TDs.
What is the proper course of action with Zach Ertz? Is he an asset to BUY, SELL, or HOLD?
The Dynasty Dilemma with Zach Ertz is very similar to that of RB James Conner due to the current state of the Arizona Cardinals organization. As stated in Conner’s dynasty dilemma: in the 2021 season, the Arizona Cardinals reached the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Due to the past seasons’ success and emergence of franchise QB Kyler Murray, Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury and General Manager Steve Keim were given contract extensions through the 2027 season. Ertz currently finds himself with a projected increased opportunity for targets.
RB Chase Edmonds and WR Christian Kirk are now out of town and AJ Green remains unsigned. The pass catching core of the Arizona Cardinals currently looks like this: DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, Zach Ertz, and Antoine Wesley.
Ertz’s revival in the desert earned him the type of contract that he was seeking in Philadelphia. Ertz was given a 3 year - $31 million deal with $14 million guaranteed. Ertz holds legitimate appeal for the 2022 season being a part of Arizona’s fantasy-friendly offense. He quickly became a reliable target for Kyler Murray on a team that hasn’t had a dependable TE option in a very long time. For the 2022 season he should be considered a back end TE1 due to the unique blend of increased projected opportunity and scarcity at the TE position.
It is true that fantasy value can be had with aging veterans like Ertz, but the priority in dynasty leagues should be youth. I believe there was a fair reason the Eagles were unwilling to pay Ertz anything more than a team-friendly contract. He simply did not look like the same player in his final season and a half in Philadelphia. While he still contributed to the offense, albeit inconsistently; he didn’t look near as quick or as explosive as he did in his early seasons and Pro Bowl awarded seasons (2017-2019), especially compared to fellow TE Dallas Goedert.
At this point of his career Ertz is most appealing to a very specific type of dynasty team. Strong TE-needy contending teams is where he needs to be rostered. There is appeal to sell since he is most useful to a smaller percentage of teams across your dynasty league. If you are a current Ertz holder and that above criteria doesn’t apply to you; then you should absolutely be willing and looking to sell him to a team that does fit that criteria. It is perfect; even if that strong contending team already has a decent TE, Ertz can still be dangled out for bait as a solid depth piece.
There is a case to be made where he is still a valuable hold initially for middling to borderline contending teams where TE depth is needed. This is a temporary hold situation to see where you stand across your league after the first few weeks. In this specific instance, let’s say your team is struggling to earn wins, Ertz should be moved to a contending hopeful. However, if your team is earning wins and you are appearing to be an outside contender after all; I’d find holding to be appropriate.
Ultimately, it would be optimal to trade Ertz away for whatever draft capital you can prior to your dynasty leagues’ rookie draft due to the reasons I laid out above. Or if you start the season with Ertz, it would be opportunistic to move him immediately if and after he pumps out a big game early in the season.
I think a reasonable return for Ertz would be a 3rd round rookie pick plus a young depth piece at a position of need. A strong contending team seeking a championship would benefit from Ertz’s opportunity in the fantasy-friendly Cardinals offense; giving up a 3rd round rookie and a young player would be worth it for both sides.
I do believe there is legitimate reason to be optimistic with Ertz in 2022, however I fear the optimism will be through a shorter-term lens rather than a longer-term lens. Looking through the longer-term lens is where I prefer to consider roster management action. Therefore, he ultimately is a SELL as the short-term value is more palpable compared to the long-term.
Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter @FantasyLadder for any further fantasy football discussion, questions, or advice!
Steve Uetz has over 15 years of experience in fantasy football. He enjoys writing fantasy football content and articles. He is very passionate about Auction Leagues. Other than his own fantasy football teams, Steve is a huge fan of the Philadelphia Eagles & Penn State! Steve (@FantasyLadder on Twitter) is very accessible and involved in the Fantasy Football Twitter community! Reach out to him anytime for questions or advice! His primary goal is to help you win your leagues.