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Zach Ertz

Commanders could be sitting on sleeper tight end

I kind of like Zach Ertz. He’s at the tail end of his career, but I think he’s going to be the most productive tight end in Washington.

I understand that the Commanders used their second-round pick on Ben Sinnott, making him the 2nd player chosen at the position. But Ertz, with a lot more experience, seems more likely to me to open as the team’s primary tight end.

The Commanders have brought in Kliff Kingsbury to run the offense, and he and Ertz have worked together in the past. The Cardinals in 2022 drafted a tight end in about the same spot as Sinnott (Trey McBride), and Ertz started in front of him that season.

Ertz, in fact, was extremely productive in his season-plus of work with Kingsbury, especially around the goal line. In 21 games, Ertz caught 7 TDs and a pair of 2-point conversions. Using PPR scoring, Ertz averaged top-10 numbers in both of his seasons with Kingsbury in Arizona.

Below see Ertz’s Kingsbury numbers from 2021-22, along with the best other tight ends over the last three years. (Again, using not cumulative stats but per-game figures). It looks like there could be something there.

TIGHT ENDS PER GAME (last 3 yrs)
1Travis Kelce48.
2Mark Andrews42.25.465.5.5215.0
3George Kittle45.54.459.9.5113.5
4T.J. Hockenson44.05.555.8.3613.3
5Zach Ertz21.24.946.7.3711.8
6Dallas Goedert41.
7Dalton Schultz47.
8Evan Engram49.24.843.6.2310.5
9Darren Waller32.
10David Njoku46-.23.843.2.309.9
11Trey McBride25.04.342.6.169.5
12Kyle Pitts44-.13.446.6.148.9
13Cole Kmet51.23.636.8.258.8
14Tyler Higbee47.03.835.6.218.7
15Pat Freiermuth44.03.534.9.278.6
16Dawson Knox42.12.830.7.418.4
17Gerald Everett46.73.431.4.258.1
18Hunter Henry48.02.831.9.358.1
19Juwan Johnson29.02.730.2.388.0
20Tyler Conklin51.13.534.6.127.7

One of the team’s other young tight ends, Cole Turner, said in an interview with 106.7 The Fan, that Ertz has been one of the offense’s leaders during the installation process.

“Zach and [Kingsbury] have been together for years before. That’s the first thing about Zack that he’s seen what Kliff expects from the offense, and he’s not a selfish guy, he wants to help everyone out. It’s been really fun to play with him,” Turner said. “Me and Zach have become friends in just a few months of knowing each other, he’s a very personable guy and a guy that goes out of his way and wants to see the team win. It’s been great having him around — not just for the tight ends, but for everyone. He’s one of the leaders on the team, for sure.”

There are plenty of other good tight ends that I’ve got my eye on. Specifically, Noah Fant is one I’m giving a lot of thought to as a second tight end. But Ertz to me looks like he’s promising enough that he should be rostered as a second tight end in a typical 12-team league. If we’re in one of those leagues where tight ends are getting an extra half-point per reception, he should definitely be selected.

—Ian Allan

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