No position of rookies in 2012 was as disappointing as the tight ends for Fantasy Football. Not a single rookie tight end made much of an impact at all, even though there was some major hype surrounding this group heading into the 2012 NFL Draft.
The majority of the hype surrounded Coby Fleener, who was being reunited with his college quarterback, Andrew Luck. However, Fleener struggled as a rookie, recording only 26 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns.
The 2013 class of tight ends is headlined by Zach Ertz, who played at Stanford, like Fleener. However, unlike Fleener, Ertz is going to be a fantastic option in Fantasy Football as a rookie.
Let’s break down why Ertz is destined for Fantasy Football greatness.
The most obvious strengths to Ertz’s game are his length and athleticism. At 6’6” and 252 pounds, Ertz is a handful in the open field for both safeties and linebackers. His size allows him to be a huge target for his quarterback, especially as a vertical threat. He has the ability to use his speed to get to the second level and make plays down the seam.
Ertz also has fantastic hands and the ability to make difficult receptions look easy. He consistently catches the ball away from his body and has rarely drops a pass. This skill should instantly instill confidence in his quarterback during his rookie season.
Another aspect of Ertz’s game that will make him a dynamic option is his ability to line up all over the field. He’s comfortable playing on the line of scrimmage, in the slot and even out of the backfield. Depending on where he lines up, he can use his size and speed to create mismatches.
If there is one thing that is going to hold Ertz back from being a truly dominant Fantasy Football tight end, it is going to be his struggles with blocking. He’s plenty willing to put his body out there to make blocks, but his technique and strength are lacking.
This could ultimately cause a team to only use Ertz in passing situations, which would greatly take away from his opportunities as a receiver. Also, if Ertz is only used when his team decides to pass, defenses can be prepared for that and gameplan specifically for him.
As long as Ertz can get more physical at the point of attack, he should be able to turn into a capable blocker for a team.
2013 Fantasy Football Outlook
Much of what Ertz could potentially do for your Fantasy Football team depends on when he gets drafted. He’ll likely be one of the first tight ends off the board in April, but there are a handful of teams that would provide Ertz with a much better opportunity than other teams.
Two of those teams would be the Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants. With Tony Gonzalez potentially retiring and Martellus Bennett a free agent this season, both teams could have needs for a tight end capable of producing from day one.
If Ertz gets drafted by either of those two teams, he has the potential of becoming an elite Fantasy Football tight end as a rookie. However, even if Ertz is drafted by another team that isn’t as desperate for a tight end, or doesn’t have a quarterback like New York and Atlanta, Ertz still brings plenty of value as a rookie in Fantasy Football.
He should step in right away and provide his team with versatility at the tight end position and the ability to stretch the field for his offense. While he won’t be in the same class as Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez or Jimmy Graham, he needs to be considered in the second tier of Fantasy Football tight ends.
If you’re looking for a player who could end up being the steal of the 2013 Fantasy Football season, Ertz could very well end up being that player.