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Buffalo Bills Dynasty/Fantasy Changing Moves for Zach Ertz and Steven Nelson (?)

July 9, 2021 10:31 AM
July 9, 2021 10:30 AM

(reprint/posted to Draft Guide Subscribers last week)

Buffalo Bills Dynasty/Fantasy Changing Moves for Zach Ertz and Steven Nelson (?)


The Buffalo Bills appear ready to make one, possibly two moves that would impact their chase to take down the Kansas City Chiefs…and impact Fantasy Football 2021. Let’s consider the potential moves, and the FF-impacts…

#1) The Bills trading for Zach Ertz.

This move has been rumored for weeks/months, so I’m going to assume it is true. It’s been rumored so much that if other teams were interested, they would have snuck in ahead of the Bills to make the move.

The Eagles are definitely trading him, for sure, 100%...somewhere. The Eagles are also going to eat some of Ertz’s excessive pay slated for 2021, which Philly is used to swallowing the 2021 pain of horrible deals they’ve made (see: the nightmare business dealings that was the Wentz deal/contract and trade). The Eagles, much like the Steelers, are destroying themselves from within.

I’m guessing some of the hang up on the Ertz trade is two-fold:

(1) The Eagles will try to push as much of the contract/money as they can to the Bills, so they’ll be haggling about money (but not that much wiggle room really here)…as well as the draft pick compensation level (because every NFL trade is for a draft pick, never a prospect).

(2) I’m guessing the Bills (or any receiving team) would like to do an extended/new deal with Ertz to spread some money out and to keep him for more than just 2021 – but Ertz’s agent team probably wants franchise TE money…and Ertz is not a franchise TE.

In a way, Ertz has some leverage on where he goes – if signing Ertz to a 2-3 year deal is a desire of any trade partner. Ertz would have to be willing to go to said team and sign said contract. If the Eagles traded Ertz as a one-year mercenary, then they’d get very little in return. The Eagles have to hope a team wants Ertz for longer, and Ertz is hoping that would be going to a place to get a top deal.

If the Bills acquire Ertz, then he is obviously the main starter at TE…and probably gives rise to more two-TE sets for Buffalo with Ertz acting as a 3rd receiver. And Dawson Knox falls from deep sleeper to mostly a FF-nobody. With the Bills being so close to the title shot – a short term (not a long term) Ertz deal for the title run hopes makes sense.

Once (if) Ertz lands in Buffalo, Dallas Goedert jumps a spot or two in mainstream rankings…and Ertz, as I predicted a month ago (on our Undervalued Draft Guide report) will leap from outside the top 20 TEs to closer to a TE1, eventually inside the top 12 by August end – the combination of Ertz starting + working with Josh Allen, it looks great on paper. We already have Ertz inside the top 10 TEs, in anticipation of some deal for 2021.

Allen hasn’t ‘made’ Knox a TE1, but Ertz is a different animal so it may be apples and oranges to compare. The bottom line with FF TEs is: You want the ones working with the elite passers, things usually work out decently+ for main target TEs in a great passing game. And Ertz + Allen would look very much like that formula.


#2) The Bills are rumored to potentially sign former Steelers CB Steven Nelson.

No one is really thinking about CB Steven Nelson, he’s not an FF-household name, but just to pick at this a bit…

Nelson was a 3rd-round pick of the Chiefs in 2015. A guy people liked, and then saw him battle at the Senior Bowl -- and the ‘like’ started moving to love for some analysts/scouts.

He didn’t play much as a rookie, then started 15 games for KC in 2016…for a (12-4) Chiefs team with a #7 overall defense (on a PPG allowed basis).

2017, missed half the season hurt but was a starter otherwise.

2018, started all 16 games for the KC team that made it to the AFC Finals, and lost to New England short of the Super Bowl.

2019, Nelson signs a 3-year, $25M free agent deal with Pittsburgh. For context, his overall deal would have been a top 4 among CBs in 2021 offseason, and #7th best for guaranteed money ($7.5m) among 2021 guys. 2019 season (PIT debut), Nelson held opposing WRs to 50% completion rate and gave up zero TDs.

2020 season, Nelson held opposing receivers under 60% completion rate but allowed 7 TDs and fell down in their eyes. In the 2021 season, the Steelers signed JuJu late in the process and decided to axe Nelson to make cap space savings for it – which is beyond inexplicable.

Nelson has been a very solid NFL corner since 2016, and the Steelers cooling on him shouldn’t hurt his value – it should boost it, because no team is managing their franchise worse than the Steelers right now.

It’s not a burning need for Buffalo, but if they somehow land him it would be a boost of depth at a critical position. Nelson likely wants bigger money and a place to start right away, so my guess is he will not land in Buffalo unless he’d be willing to do a one-year deal to help boost his profile for 2022 free agency and a shot to win a Super Bowl, perhaps?

An already stout-looking/performing Buffalo DST would get a nudge better with Nelson in the fold.

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

Learn more about RC and the Fantasy Football Metrics system >>