Despite the hysteria this offseason centered around the Arizona Cardinals, they did manage to make it to training camp with a solid TE1 in their offense. Zach Ertz recorded 74 catches on 112 targets for 763 yards and five touchdowns in 2021, and he looks to step in as Kyler Murray’s best option in the wake of the DeAndre Hopkins suspension.
2021 season statistics & fantasy finish
Since the Philadelphia Eagles traded Ertz to the Cardinals last October, the three-time Pro Bowler capped off his inaugural year in Arizona with 106.7 fantasy points, averaging 6.3 per game. It’s also worth noting he averaged 6.6 targets from Week 14-18. Similar to what we’ve seen from Ertz across his nine NFL seasons, he’s quickly established a certain level of trust with his quarterback.
Arizona Cardinals' offseason moves
Ertz signed a three-year contract extension to remain with the Cardinals in March. This is a great sign for fantasy managers holding out the belief that Ertz, (who will only turn 32 years old in November), can still be a top-tier tight end. It’s certain that the organization has a plan to keep him heavily involved for the near future.
Other than Murray signing a massive five-year extension, and retaining their current talent, the Cardinals had a relatively quiet offseason. They traded for Marquise Brown during the 2022 NFL Draft, as an attempt to lull Hopkins’ six-game absence.
2022 best case scenario
The best case scenario for Ertz is that he thrives instantly with Murray. The receiver depth is lacking — a suspended Hopkins, the uncertainty of Brown, an over-the-hill A.J. Green and an unproven young pass catcher in Rondale Moore. There is a major need for an offensive playmaker. It’s believed that Ertz can step into the role. He was targeted a total 112 times in 2021 (third-most in the league), so he’s absolutely no stranger to the workhorse role.
2022 worst case scenario
Ertz didn’t reach his full potential last season, but much of that blame was put on the early destination switch. The Cardinals have an offense capable of going deep into the playoffs once again this season, but most of that responsibility falls on Murray, and getting in sync with his weapons. He’s already voiced his frustration with the organization (and vice-versa), but the hope is that both parties are able to hash this out sooner than later.
Ertz is currently being selected as the TE10 off the board in half-PPR formats, per FantasyPros. It could turn out to be a bargain for fantasy managers that are looking to be patient for a tight end in 2022. Ertz is significantly valuable once RB/WR/QB voids are filled on fantasy rosters. He might be worth a chance toward Rounds 10-15 in drafts this year.