Fantasy Sports Fix: Football Draft Special Part 3 — Tight ends
Welcome to the third installment of my fantasy football draft special. In this one, I will be focusing on the tight end position.
When it comes to tight ends, it seems like it’s just Rob Gronkowski in his own stratosphere, and then there’s everyone else. It goes deeper than that though, and there are some other players worth checking out.
Antonio Gates, San Diego ChargersAntonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Quarterback Phillip Rivers and Gates have connected on a total of 77 touchdowns in their careers, the most of any quarterback-tight end combination in NFL history. Not only that, but Gates continues to produce at a solid level as he ages, but his overall average draft position doesn’t really reflect that, so have at this tight end bargain.
Julius Thomas, Jacksonville JaguarsJulius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars
Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars
You can blame Thomas’ uninspiring 2015 campaign on a hand injury that he suffered in the pre-season that lingered all year. Early reports out of Jaguars camp is that Thomas looks unstoppable and is really building a good rapport with quarterback Blake Bortles.
Martellus Bennett, New England PatriotsMartellus Bennett, New England Patriots
Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots
I see Bennett as having a decent season alongside Gronkowski in New England’s two tight end sets. I think his floor is very high for a tight end this year and the minimum he will get you is 55 receptions along with 600 yards and maybe five touchdowns. He’s not even being drafted in most drafts so far this year.
Coby Fleener, New Orleans SaintsCoby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints
Fleener heads to the Saints, where the offense can make stars out of the tight end position. I think Fleener could actually surpass what he did in Indianapolis in his 2014 season where he had 774 yards and eight touchdowns. People are betting on a breakout season for him so he is going somewhat early as the sixth tight end off the board.
Eric Ebron, Detroit LionsEric Ebron, Detroit Lions
Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
He made big strides in 2015 and doubled his receiving yards and added four more touchdowns than the previous year. With Calvin Johnson out of the picture, Ebron figures much more prominently into the Lions offense this year and 800 yards and seven or eight touchdowns seems like a realistic projection.
Clive Walford, Oakland RaidersClive Walford, Oakland Raiders
Clive Walford, Oakland Raiders
He could easily improve on his 28 receptions from last year as Oakland’s offense is looking very good right now. He’s big, he’s talented, and he could be one of Derek Carr’s favorite targets this season due to his innate ability to create space between him and his defender. He’s currently being taken in the 15th round of most drafts, but his upside hints that he could be a top 10 tight end.
Zach Miller, Chicago BearsZach Miller, Chicago Bears
Zach Miller, Chicago Bears
He managed to net 439 receiving yards with only 34 catches last year. Imagine what he could do with 50 or 60 receptions from Jay Cutler this year. He also converted five of those receptions into touchdowns last year, which is a pretty decent rate.
Jared Cook, Green Bay PackersJared Cook, Green Bay Packers
Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers loves to target the tight end in the red zone. In all likelihood, Cook will beat out Richard Rodgers for the starting gig, so you can expect Cook to beat his career highs in receiving yards, receptions and maybe even touchdowns.
Jordan Cameron, Miami DolphinsJordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins
Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins
Cameron will be playing under head coach Adam Gase this year. Gase has been known to put the tight end position to work as evidenced by other tight ends at stops in Denver and Chicago. Cameron should be a good fit for Gase’s offense and will see a good amount of targets this year while improving on his overall stats.
Jimmy Graham, Seattle SeahawksJimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks
Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks
Don’t believe any of the comeback stories you might hear about him. His patellar tendon injury is one of the worst injuries to come back from, and he has a very small chance to return to the player he was before. Don’t even waste a late round pick on him this year, he just won’t deliver.
Gary Barnidge, Cleveland BrownsGary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns
Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns
Although he set career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in 2015, I would avoid him this year. The quarterback situation in Cleveland is somewhat murky right now, and nobody knows exactly what to expect from this offense. He’s going as the ninth tight end off the board in most drafts right now, but I just wouldn’t trust him to repeat last year’s numbers at all.
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