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The Great Debate: Dallas Goedert (2021 Fantasy Football)

Jul 30, 2021

Fantasy football draft season is officially here, and the time has come to refine your stance on players. What better way to do that than a good, old-fashioned debate! We’re rolling out our debate series where one writer higher on a given player will take on another that’s lower than our expert consensus rankings.

Up next, we have Matt Barbato and Jason Kamlowsky debating Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert.

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The Debate

Dallas Goedert has been someone I’ve kept my eye on the last couple of years as a high-upside tight end at a position that lacks many high-ceiling players. I’m confident 2021 is the year Goedert’s talent comes to fruition in the form of a top 6 fantasy season.

Goedert is an exceptional pass-catching tight end with the size, athleticism, and technique to work all three levels of the field. While Goedert already has a top 10 fantasy season under his belt (2019), his talent hasn’t translated into top-end fantasy production yet. The keyword in that sentence is “yet,” as Goedert’s situation has put a limit on his ceiling. I suspect that’s about to change.

Zach Ertz has been the primary tight end in the Eagles’ offense for the last three years. But the star tight end’s time in Philadelphia should be over soon. Ertz is reportedly frustrated with the team over his contract negotiations, and it’s been widely rumored that he would be traded during the offseason. The Eagles may be waiting to see if any prominent tight ends get hurt in training camp before making a move, but I suspect Ertz will be let go at some point in the summer. Ertz’s departure opens the door for Goedert to dominate the target share in Philly. New Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni comes from a Colts offense that emphasized the tight end, which is even better news for Goedert.

I admit I don’t love Jalen Hurts (and I debated why in an earlier Great Debate piece). But Goedert has the skill set to hog targets as Hurts’ safety valve. And if the Eagles somehow acquire Deshaun Watson via trade, then Goedert’s ceiling stretches even higher.

Goedert’s talent and opportunity could finally align, and boy, am I excited. Current ADP has Kyle Pitts going 50th (which is crazy to begin with), Mark Andrews going 55th, T.J. Hockenson going 63rd, and Goedert going 90th. I’d much rather see those tight ends go and scoop up Goedert roughly two rounds later.

Matt teed this up nicely for me, and I appreciate that.

Let’s start with the presence of Zach Ertz, who, much to many analyst’s chagrin, is still a Philadelphia Eagle. Will that change before Week 1? Perhaps, but anyone drafting Goedert at his current ADP is banking on this as a sure thing. Each day Ertz is in camp getting reps is one less day Goedert is establishing a rapport with Jalen Hurts. Not exactly an ideal situation for a tight end most people are touting as a breakout candidate in 2021.

However, this is a debate so let’s assume for a minute that Ertz is eventually traded. Richard Rodgers is still on the roster, and new head coach Nick Sirianni directed an Indianapolis offense that spread the wealth among multiple tight ends the last two seasons. Unless you expect Goedert to become a target hog a la Eric Ebron in 2018, I find it hard to take him 2-3 rounds ahead of Noah Fant or Robert Tonyan. Honestly, in the tier Goeder’s in, you’re hoping his ceiling comes to fruition at his ADP, which is a tough way to construct your roster.

While I am on the other side from Matt as far as Jalen Hurts goes from a fantasy perspective, the fact is that there are some questions for the Eagles’ passing game. Despite posting QB1 numbers in three of his four starts to end the season, Hurts wasn’t especially accurate and thrived on volume. In the two games where he eclipsed 300-yards, he attempted 44 and 39 passes, respectively, and I would speculate that Sirianni would prefer not to see Hurts attempt 40+ passes in a game. In fact, I think the ideal situation here is for Hurts to settle in closer to 32-35 attempts per game which will cap Goedert’s market share considerably.

When we combine Ertz’s place on the current roster with the unknown of what the offense will look like with Hurts under center, Goedert feels more like a trap in the top-100 of any draft. If you miss out on the top-six at the tight end position, you’re probably better off waiting until the double-digit rounds of a draft to address the position.

I hear Jason’s point on Ertz, and while I do suspect he’ll be let go sometime in training camp, it’s not worth speculating on much further. Richard Rodgers did a nice job filling in when both Ertz and Goedert were out of action, but he’s 29 and doesn’t pose much of a threat when comparing his talent to Goedert’s.

I’m not expecting Philadelphia to throw the ball 40+ times a week, but that was never a factor in my projection of Goedert. The Eagles still lack playmaking talent outside of Smith and perhaps Jalen Reagor, who’s already being held out of camp practice with an injury. Without Ertz on the roster, Goedert is actually the most proven pass-catcher on the roster! And he should serve as an outstanding safety valve for Hurts. It wouldn’t surprise me if Goedert — assuming Ertz’s departure — leads this team in targets as Smith gets his feet wet in the NFL.

I truly believe talent and opportunity are about to mesh for Goedert. We need the Eagles to say goodbye to Ertz!

The Eagles drafted Devonta Smith, and they still have the perennially underrated Greg Ward in the slot. If Reagor takes any step forward, all of a sudden, Philadelphia has an above-average trio of wide receivers on the roster. When Sirianni was the OC in Indianapolis, the Colts used 11 personnel almost 64% of the time, which could spell trouble for Goedert’s breakout.

Even assuming Ertz is eventually traded, Goedert’s market share of targets was already 12th among tight ends at 16.7%. Matt assumes he would be a security blanket for Hurts, but Goedert actually ranked 6th among tight ends in average depth of target. To me, Ward would assume that role where Goedert would operate mostly on intermediate routes, with Reagor and Smith taking the top off the defense on the outside. A best-case scenario for Goedert would be that Hurts is markedly better efficiency-wise, and he catches 12-15 more passes while maintaining his yards per catch average from 2020. With Sirianni running three-receiver sets the majority of the time, I can’t see enough growth to push him into the late 7th Round of a draft.

Goedert will not find his way on to any of my rosters this year at his current ADP. If I miss on one of the top-3 at the position and can’t get Pitts or Hockenson at a slight discount, I will more than likely wait until the latter rounds to address the position. I feel you can get the same upside in doing that while not sacrificing much floor. While Goedert may end up popping this year, I am betting against him being a top-8 tight end.

The Analysts

Despite Zach Ertz on the roster and stealing tons of targets, Goedert has managed to rack up 1,131 yards and eight touchdowns over his last 26 games. Had Goedert played all 16 games in 2020, his pace would’ve been 762 yards and four touchdowns, which would’ve been good enough to finish as a top-10 tight end (again, with Ertz around). It seems like a foregone conclusion that Ertz will be off the team soon, which clears a path for Goedert to be among the league leaders in targets for a tight end. It’s a new offense, but Nick Sirianni comes from the Frank Reich tree, which has a history of producing tight end production. Goedert may not be a can’t-miss tight end, but if there’s someone who has top-five upside without being drafted there, it’s him.
– Mike Tagliere

Does Goedert have the talent to be a top-5 TE in fantasy football? Absolutely. Will he finish around that range if Ertz is still on this roster? Almost certainly not. Even if Ertz doesn’t bounce back to his former self, his presence on this roster puts a cap on what Goedert can do from a fantasy perspective. Until we see Ertz traded or released from the Eagles, it’s best to view Goedert as a high-end TE2.
– Kyle Yates

It’s hard to take away too much from Goedert’s 2020 season. He missed five games with an injury, and the Eagles’ passing offense was an outright disaster with Carson Wentz under center. But there’s a lot of room for optimism when it comes to Goedert’s 2021 season. Not only will Zach Ertz almost certainly not be on the roster, but Jalen Hurts, with whom Goedert has been working out this offseason, should ignite some much-needed explosiveness into the passing game with a full complement of preseason reps. Just 26 years old, Goedert could take a major step forward this year, and he should be drafted with confidence in all formats.
– Dan Harris

The Public

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