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Sell Zach Ertz and Replace Him With This Younger Alternative

I talked about roster management in a previous article and how it’s one of my favorite aspects of playing in dynasty leagues.

Well, guess what? I have a roster management move you should make this offseason. I believe that if you wait any longer, the “sweet spot” that we’re in will close and the value won’t be the same.

There are several reasons I believe you should do this, and I’ll cover them momentarily, but the heart of the move is this: sell Zach Ertz and buy a younger TE who’s a perfect replacement for Ertz in several ways.

Why Sell Zach Ertz?

It’s hard to be immune to recency bias. We become fans of players and enamored by big performances. It’s tough to remove the stuffed box scores and highlight-reel plays from our minds, especially when they happen at the end of the season.

Ertz, while still an elite tight end, provides a perfect window for dynasty owners to get some value in return while bolstering roster depth or securing future capital. 

Look at how Ertz played after the bye (Out of Split) compared to before the bye (In Split) this past season.

To take that step further, look at just his final six games.

As stated, Ertz is still a top-tier tight end who won’t turn 30 years old until the middle of the 2020 season. However, dynasty owners separate themselves from the pack when they identify opportunities to make calculated moves within specific windows of time.

In an article written this past summer, Tyler Loechner did an excellent job talking about how to prevent your dynasty team from getting old.

While Ertz should maintain some value for at least a few more seasons, we are at a unique time where the cost/benefit of pivoting to a younger alternative is weighted perfectly to capitalize.

Let’s inspect the other side of this equation.

Who Should You Replace Him With?

To transition, it’s important to note how well this younger alternative’s rookie season compared not only to Ertz’s rookie season but to other well-known tight ends. The player I’m talking about is such a good replacement for Ertz that Ertz’s own NFL team agrees with me. Like the Philadelphia Eagles are already doing, you should replace Zach Ertz with Dallas Goedert.

Since 2000, Goedert ranks seventh in receiving fantasy points over expectation (reFPOE) among rookie tight ends drafted inside of the first 100 picks. He even bested Ertz’s score in the same category.

Despite serving as the Eagles’ TE2 during his first two seasons in the league, Goedert has effectively carved out a role for himself on an offense that utilizes the tight end position well.

Goedert enjoyed similar success to Ertz, especially after Philadelphia’s bye week:

Goedert was not the TE1 on his own team, but only nine other TEs in the league outscored him over the course of the season. His 2019 production showed that, despite playing alongside an elite tight end, he can produce TE1 numbers.

The Eagles have shown they want Goedert more involved in their offense, especially down the stretch. When Ertz missed Week 17, Goedert played every single offensive snap. Notice how his snap share trended upward throughout the season.

It’s no secret that players who receive more opportunity post stronger fantasy numbers, but Goedert’s results when he is even slightly involved in the game go far beyond expectations.

In his career, when he has received at least four targets — not a huge number of targets — his production spikes to a level that’s worthy of a weekly spot in your starting lineups.

This is the type of production profile I want to see from a starting fantasy tight end. Guys who can capitalize and make the most of their opportunities are guys I want on my lineups, especially when they are in systems that utilize the tight end position.

Current ADP

Based on current ADP, Ertz is being drafted as the TE3 while Goedert is being drafted as the TE11. I believe the fantasy community has a good pulse on the value of each player. Based on Goedert’s recent stats, he’s shown he can be a back-end TE1 even with Ertz still being Ertz.

I normally don’t draft an elite tight end. While it’s nice to secure a stud in a shallow position, I believe the overall return of your draft investment is better suited to take someone like D.J. Moore or Kenny Golladay who are both being drafted around Ertz. There is value to be had at every position and tight end is no different.

Trade Value

The prospect of selling an elite tight end while he is still in his 20s is not a suggestion I make lightly. I understand the shallowness of the position and how securing the right player can give you a weekly edge over your opponents.

However, as stated before, I believe we are in a unique window of time where the value you could get in return for Ertz (which would be Goedert plus a high future pick or a current asset) is worth the move.

There are always fantasy owners who want the big-name players, especially at the tight end position. If possible, offer Ertz in exchange for Goedert plus a future pick or a young wide receiver with a strong outlook such as Terry McLaurin or D.J. Chark.

These types of moves are not for everyone. We become attached to our star players and resist trading them away in their prime. This past November, Curtis Patrick wrote a divisive piece that illustrated this concept when he suggested selling Lamar Jackson in dynasty.

Regardless of where you stand on selling stars, I believe the time is right to sell Ertz and buy Goedert.

Image Credit: Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Zach Ertz.

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