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Zach Ertz start or sit: Week 1 fantasy football advice

We break down the fantasy football outlook of Zach Ertz ahead of the Cardinals Week 1 matchup against the Chiefs.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 13: Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals warms up against the Los Angeles Rams prior to an NFL game at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals face off against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1, setting up what is expected to be one of the highest-scoring affairs on the slate. That bodes well for fantasy players like tight end Zach Ertz, who should play a pivotal role in the passing game for the Cardinals. Though Ertz was held out of preseason action as he nursed a calf injury, the belief is that he should be good to suit up for Sunday’s matchup.

Fantasy Football analysis: Cardinals TE Zach Ertz

Ertz was able to get in some limited practice time in the week leading up to gameday, and his starting status should quell some doubts about his health status. He has a favorable matchup with the Chiefs, who should keep the Cardinals honest in playing catch-up on the scoreboard. In 2021, Kansas City’s defense surrendered the sixth-most passing yards per game (251.5). In fantasy, they also surrendered a solid 7.4 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends.

The true x-factor working in Ertz’s favor is the absence of Deandre Hopkins due to suspension. That takes away Kyler Murray’s number one target, opening the door for more looks going Ertz’s way. After being traded to Arizona in the middle of last season, he actually surpassed Hopkins in targets 81-to-64, despite them both appearing in the same number of games. With Hopkins out of the picture, Ertz is a viable candidate to be Murray’s go-to option against Kansas City.

Start or sit in Week 1?

The hesitations around Ertz’s calf injury are warranted, but if he’s able to start on the field Sunday then that should put some worries to rest. Kansas City’s high-scoring offense will only benefit the fantasy output of the Cardinals’ players as they look to match every point on the scoreboard. Hopkins’ absence is the kicker, and Ertz has a great shot of getting more targets in addition to red zone scoring opportunities. So long as Ertz is on the field, fire him up in your fantasy lineups.