Zach Ertz is off to easily the best start of his six-year career, on pace for nearly 1,300 receiving yards and 122 catches. That's sick production, the likes of which Travis Kelce has never authored. Rob Gronkowski has surpassed 1,300 receiving yards only once ... way back in 2011, which might as well be another lifetime with him enduring a nothing if not un-Gronk-like campaign.
About the only qualm Ertz owners might have had in the first eight games was his modest TD total (3). At least until Philadelphia acquired via trade last week Golden Tate, who might ensure an already seemingly unsustainable pace by Ertz slows down.
It seems likely that the arrival of Tate improves the Eagles while worsening the fantasy outlook of Ertz. Not dramatically, mind you, but Ertz is pretty much a glorified jumbo slot receiver. And with Philadelphia not getting anywhere near Nelson Agholor's 2017 production, Howie Roseman made his move to add one of the best slot players in the game in Tate.
It's unclear exactly what Tate's role will look like, though the timing of the Eagles' Week 10 bye was fortuitous to give the former Lion a crash course in a complex offense. If his Detroit usage holds up, we can expect to see Tate lining up all over the field, from the slot to the perimeter to even occasionally in a backfield where the Eagles are seeking a spark.
Know this: Philadelphia didn't part with a third-rounder for a likely rental without expecting to squeeze everything it can from Tate as the Eagles make their playoff push. In the first half of the season, Ertz commanded 84 targets — easily a team high, even if the number is skewed a bit by Alshon Jeffery missing the first three weeks, and more than every NFL tight end and all but eight other pass catchers.
The obvious fantasy loser in the Tate deal is Agholor. However, Ertz owners must also brace for the reality that he probably won't be averaging double-digit targets in the second half of the season. There still aren't more than two, perhaps three tight ends we'd prefer to have the rest of the way than Ertz, our TE2 this week. But in a season where seemingly bad news strikes the this fantasy position on a weekly basis, Ertz's opportunity to put up historic numbers for a tight end isn't as golden as it was heading into the bye.
1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs vs. Cardinals
2. Zach Ertz, Eagles vs. Cowboys
3. Greg Olsen, Panthers at Steelers
4. George Kittle, 49ers vs. Giants
5. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots at Titans
6. Jared Cook, Raiders vs. Chargers
7. O.J. Howard, Bucs vs. Washington
8. Jimmy Graham, Packers vs. Dolphins
9. Evan Engram, Giants at 49ers
10. Jack Doyle, Colts vs. Jaguars
11. Trey Burton, Bears vs. Lions
12. Jordan Reed, Washington at Bucs
13. David Njoku, Browns vs. Falcons
14. Vance McDonald, Steelers vs. Panthers
15. C.J. Uzomah, Bengals vs. Saints
16. Ben Watson, Saints at Bengals
17. Eric Ebron, Colts vs. Jaguars
18. Chris Herndon, Jets vs. Bills
19. Austin Hooper, Falcons at Browns
20. Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals at Chiefs
21. Vernon Davis, Washington at Bucs
22. Ed Dickson, Seahawks at Rams
23. Dallas Goedert, Eagles vs. Cowboys
24. Cameron Brate, Bucs vs. Washington
25. Gerald Everett, Rams vs. Seahawks