Zach Ertz Player Props for Saints vs Cardinals: Expert Fading Veteran Tight End
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Ertz.
Zach Ertz Longest Reception
|Zach Ertz Longest Reception — Under 17.5
|Saints vs. Cardinals
|Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Coming into Thursday Night Football, the Cardinals' pass-catching corps will look significantly different. Marquise Brown, Arizona’s leading receiver, is out with a potentially season-ending foot injury. However, DeAndre Hopkins, fresh off his suspension, and the newly acquired Robby Anderson will be suiting up for the Cardinals.
The one mainstay is tight end Zach Ertz, and I’m looking to fade him on his longest reception prop.
First, let’s look at the matchup.
The Saints rank first in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric against opposing tight ends, while grading 22nd or worse against all wide receivers. They’ve only allowed one completion of more than 18 yards to a tight end this season, while giving up the fourth-fewest yards and catches and eighth-fewest yards per completion to the position (8.9).
Ertz only has two catches on the season of at least 18 yards, and one was by virtue of yards after the catch. Only four of his 51 targets have traveled at least 18 air yards. Three of those did come last week against the Seahawks, but I see that as an anomaly more than a trend, especially coming into this matchup.
The Saints don’t generate much pressure on the quarterback, with both the fourth-lowest pressure rate (18.2%) and blitz rate (15.9%). Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray’s average depth of target is actually much lower when he’s kept clean (6.1 yards) as opposed to when he’s pressured (11.3 yards). Deep shots will be at a premium tonight, and when Murray does let it fly, it’s likely to Hopkins or Anderson.
Against the likes of Saints linebacker Demario Davis and safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye, all of whom have a speed advantage on Ertz, I don’t see the burly tight end breaking off a long reception.
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