Eagles TE Zach Ertz played in 41 percent of the team's offensive snaps - 450 out of 1,104 - as a rookie in 2013. He played an additional 23 snaps (out of 58) in the playoffs. Pegged as an ascending player, will Ertz be on the field more in his second seasons? Ertz's improvement as a blocker will help dictate that.
"I think Ertz is a guy defenses (watch) - now you start adding the down and distance to it. You put Ertz in the game with (Brent) Celek, and we tighten him down. I think he's improved as a blocker on first down," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said. "But if you put Ertz in the game on second and third down maybe where it's more of a pass-first type scenario to the defense for whatever reason, then we can spread out Ertz. Now you have to decide are you going to cover him with a linebacker or are you going to commit to putting maybe a third defensive back in the game?"
Ertz averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. With Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson gone, Ertz could play a lot in the slot, though the arrival of WR Jordan Matthews may limit Ertz’s snaps there. If he can take a step forward in the blocking department, it will help his overall fantasy outlook.