Dallas Goedert's Fantasy Football Ascension
After biding his time for three and a half years behind one of the most consistent fantasy tight ends of the last decade, Dallas Goedert was finally released from his TE2 shackles for the last half of the 2021 season. Following their Week 6 game —in which Zach Ertz scored a touchdown, for what it’s worth— the Philadelphia Eagles would trade their veteran tight end to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for cornerback Tay Gowan and a fifth-round pick. An amicable deal for both sides in terms of value, and more importantly for us, it boosted Goedert into his team’s TE1, offering us another solid option at a position that fantasy managers are often desperate to fill.
Below, I will be taking a look at how the promotion affected Dallas Goedert’s usage and fantasy production before we dig into what his usage and production profile may look like ahead of the 2022 season.
Taking Ownership of the Tight End Room
In a 10-game sample size of Dallas Goedert as the team’s primary tight end, we got the exact type of return we had been hoping for the entire time he was waiting in the wings. From the date of the trade until the end of the year, Goedert would score 9.6 half-PPR points per game, wrapping up that portion of the season as the TE6, ranking just one spot above former teammate Zach Ertz (9.4 ppg), oddly enough. Goedert’s passing-play usage would rise deliberately after the trade, logging a 21.1% target share post-Week 7, compared to a 12.6% rate in the five games he played before the deal.
|Timetable||Target Share||Targets/gm||Rec/gm||Yards/gm||half-PPR ppg|
We can see an incremental increase in Goedert’s usage in the passing game throughout his career, but as the team adopted a more run-oriented approach with Jalen Hurts behind center, the huge boost in target share didn’t necessarily equate to a massive increase in counting stats. Something that may be telling of future usage is the heightened propensity to target the tight end further down the field; his average depth of target raised to 8.5 by the end of 2021 (eighth-highest amongst qualifying tight ends) and helped to translate into a league-leading 2.6 yards per route run.
Goedert would go on to account for 18 targets with 15+ air yards (fifth-highest amongst TEs), but with the addition of a certain newly acquired teammate —while already sharing the field with deep target specialist DeVonta Smith— there may not be much room for that area of usage to grow.
A Weakness Becomes A Strength
Last calendar year at this time, there was —understandably— much hand-wringing about the state of the Eagles’ offensive weapons. Travis Fulgham, Jalen Reagor, and Quez Watkins littered the top of the depth chart while rookie DeVonta Smith had yet to take a snap on an NFL field. Cut to the present day, where we have the knowledge that Smith can be one of the best field-stretchers in the league and the team sent off their 18th and the 101st overall picks to acquire one of the best all-around wide receivers in the game, A.J. Brown.
Brown was remarkably efficient in his three-year career with the Titans, finishing in the top 10 in yards per route run, yards per target, and touchdown rate in each of his seasons. His arrival in Philadelphia limits the season-long ceilings of everybody else on the Eagles’ offense but contrarily may increase the odds of spike weeks as his addition improves the team as a whole. While that may not make intuitive sense, we don’t have to look any further than Dallas Goedert’s target share splits we referenced earlier; with all the pieces of the offense healthy, there is no chance that the tight end handles 21% of the team’s passing looks in the upcoming season. The Eagles made this blockbuster trade for a reason, and furthermore, who would want to take the ball out of the hands of a dynamic playmaker like DeVonta Smith?
A rising tide lifts all boats, and I’m confident that Goedert will have loads of weekly upside, but he’s back to having a ton of target competition, even if Zach Ertz is now playing in the desert. In a barren tight-end landscape, being squeezed into a role as the third pass-catching option on your team still means you can easily be a locked-in TE1 option. Goedert should be treated as having a ceiling just behind the players who are likely to lead their respective teams’ passing attack; Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Kyle Pitts, and maybe George Kittle. This still leaves wiggle room for him to finish the year as the overall TE4 or TE5, even if his teammates hog Jalen Hurts’ attention.
- Though the arrival of A.J. Brown eliminates the possibility of Dallas Goedert being the first or second option in the Eagles' passing game, the target tree in Philadelphia is still small.
- The Eagles' offense, in general, is improved, and the team has set up Jalen Hurts to take a third-year leap. If things coalesce in 2022, the scoring opportunities will increase, making up for some of the targets Goedert is going to concede to his new teammate.
- In Underdog drafts, Goedert is currently coming off the board as the TE8 at the end of the eighth round. He makes an exceptional TE1 if you miss out on the elite tier of options, and is a great 1a selection for those employing a two-TE build.