By M. Britt Hayes
I’ll just go ahead and say it. Tight End is the most aggravating position in the Fantasy Football universe. The good news is that most leagues only require you to start one. Now breathe a sigh of relief and take a moment to pray for those unlucky souls in two TE leagues. Because it is notoriously thin of talent, the point productivity of the Tight End position is more inconsistent than Katy Perry’s hair color. Unless you have Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham on your roster, then you likely spend every week in front of your laptop scouring the Waiver Wire for a TE to squeeze into the upcoming week’s lineup. Most of the time its easiest to just hang the names of the top 5 prospects on your wall and throw a dart. Then, when it lands on Dennis Pitta, tell yourself its the best “two out of three” and throw it again.
What we do know is that the TE position involves the most difficult adjustment from the college to pro level of any skill position in football. Therefore, the transitional period to actually being functional and relevant takes longer, usually about an entire season. After all, it wasn’t until Gronk and Graham’s sophomore campaigns that they became the studs we all know and fight to get out hands on come draft time. As a whole, rookie TE’s over the last 10 years have averaged 2.89 fantasy points per game, while averaging 4.64 the following season. That’s only an increase of 1.75 points you say, but I say that’s a 60% rise in productivity. Wouldn’t you love to get 60% more production out of everything you own after 1 year? I’m looking at you iPhone. Anyway, I’m aware that it’s not very many points, but such is the way of the position. So without further ado, I present this year’s notable Tight Ends entering the promised land of year 2.
Ebron came out of UNC with all of the hype in the world. Detroit drafted him 10th overall and he was expected by many to contribute immediately in a pass heavy offense. To say he kind of disappointed is like saying Bill Gates is kind of successful. Even when Calvin Johnson went down with injury, Eric never managed to step up. Instead he stepped aside and gave way to Golden Tate. He failed to show the pass catching ability that netted him 62 catches for 973 yards in his final year as a Tarheel, but those stats stand to prove that he can do it. He has a 6’4″ 265 lbs. frame that is molded for red zone targets, and he should get them considering he played 50% of the offensive snaps last season. This means they plan to use him, and with the Lions front office repeatedly talking him up, I see no signs of them giving up on their 1st round talent. He should see even more on field action in the coming year, and a healthy Calvin Johnson could warrant enough attention from the defense to allow for many more targets in Ebron’s direction. The rookie season was simply a learning experience for a player who chose to forego his senior year. Season two should solidify Double E as top 5 TE going forward.
In just his first 2 years at Washington, ASJ set school records for receptions (110), yards (1390), and touchdowns (13) at the TE role. If Seferian-Jenkins can come into this season without the back and ankle injuries that gimped him a year ago, then there could be a new Greg Olson on our hands. With rookie QB Jamies Winston in town, the situation is very reminiscent of Cam Newton and Olson’s relationship. Winston may be a reliable QB but he’s young and immobile, needing a nice security blanket to cover him up when the going gets tough. What better than a 6’5″ 265 lbs. teddy bear in the form of ASJ to make a rookie feel right at home. Like a baby in a crib. Seferian-Jenkins should be there in the middle just waiting for dump passes while Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson drag the defense downfield. On top of that, Tampa Bay has shown confidence in their young prospect, by not adding any competition at the position even though his injuries limited him to a meager 21 catches last year. Health could be the only thing standing between ASJ and top 5 TE destiny, but it could be a major cause for concern considering surgery for a broken pinkie made him miss the start of his final college season, to go along with his most recent ailments.
Amaro racked up 106 catches for 1,352 yards in his final year on a pass happy Texas Tech offense. This must be what grabbed the attention of the Jets, causing them to draft him 49th overall. Rex Ryan has a habit of gathering “air it out” talent just to run the ball, and so Amaro ended his rookie campaign with 38 catches for 345 yards. But have no fear, Sexy Rexy has moved on to ruin the Bills offense and there is a new pilot flying the Jets offense by the name of Chan Gailey. He is the offensive mastermind that made CJ Spiller run up draft boards after his 2012 season by getting him in space. That is what Gailey does with players, and that seems to be what Amaro excels in doing. There are a lot of mouths to feed in New York now with addition of Brandon Marshall, so temper expectations, but a top 10 finish is not out of the question for Jace. I’d say a mid level TE2 is more realistic though.
Richard Rodgers went to California. Aaron Rodgers also went to California. They have the same last name. Sounds like a QB to TE match made in fantasy heaven. I mean, instant bros right? Wrong, Aaron Rodgers hates TE’s. Well, I don’t know if he hates them, he just doesn’t use them. Rodgers had an average career at Cal, Richard that is, but nothing that jumps out other than his stellar blocking ability, and that is exactly what he was drafted to do. He is 6’4″ which would be a great red zone asset, but again Aaron doesn’t exactly lean toward TE’s even inside the 20 yard line. With Richard having to share time with Andrew Quarless I wouldn’t recommend owning him even as a dynasty sleeper due to Green Bay’s tendency to be WR dependent.
Well, Dennis Pitta has a bad hip and Owen Daniels followed his BFF Gary Kubiak to Denver. This would mean that Gilmore is the man in Baltimore, if it were not for the fact that they went out and drafted stud TE Maxx Williams. Now don’t kick him off of your roster like he was John Wall on an airplane just yet. There is still the new hope of an offseason competition young jedi. The Ravens did not use a top 100 pick on Crockett to wash uniforms. He may be a good roster hold until preseason to see how this unfolds, but in all likelihood its Maxx’s job and Gilmore will become unemployable in the dynasty world.