Fantasy Football: Tight End Rankings
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Tier 6: Upside Longshots
As the name implies, these guys probably won’t be worthy of a spot on your fantasy roster, but if a few things break in their favor you may end up throwing a few waiver dollars their way.
Tim Wright, Patriots – The trade from the Bucs to New England gave Wright new life in fantasy circles. He was a WR in college and he just isn’t enough of a blocker for new Bucs HC Lovie Smith. In New England Wright will have a chance to take over the “move” TE role that Aaron Hernandez had so much success with. It may take Wright a few weeks to learn the playbook but by midseason he could be a solid back-end TE1 option.
Jacob Tamme, Broncos – With the recent Welker concussion, there are rumors that Tamme will be taking over Welker’s slot role. The extent of Tamme’s snaps in the slot will determine his value. Welker (10 TDs) was a frequent red zone target for Manning and if Tamme gets those target’s he could end up in the 6-8 TD range and creep into the top 12 TE rankings. If not, Tamme is waiver material. It’s a dice roll, but with enough upside that I wouldn’t knock using one of your last picks (dollars) on Tamme, but make sure he’s not your starting TE.
Coby Fleener, Colts – When both Dwayne Allen and Reggie Wayne went down early last season, many expected Fleener to become one of Andrew Luck’s main targets. It didn’t happen, Fleener’s numbers weren’t terrible (52, 608, 4) but they should have been much better. With Waybe and Allen back this year plus the signing of Hakeem Nicks, I think Fleener’s targets will go down significantly. The fact that the Colts spent two first round picks (T-Rich, Fleener was #33 overall) on guys who seem exceptionally average with no discernible skills is troubling.
Jared Cook, Rams – Don’t do it. Possibly the most frustrating TE in the league since Jermichael Finley isn’t currently rostered.
Mychal Rivera, Raiders – If Rivera would have played for a team that was remotely relevant in fantasy circles, his 38 catch, 407 yards, 4 TD rookie season might have gotten some attention. The Raiders have some talent at WR, but with Matt Schaub afraid to throw outside the hashes due to his pick-6 yips, the Raiders starting TE might put up decent stats this year. Currently Rivera is behind David Ausberry on the depth chart, but Rivera is a better receiving option and the Raiders offense needs all the help it can get. He’s a legitimate sleeper this year and if your bench is deep enough for a 2nd TE, Rivera is a high-upside option.
Levine Toilolo, Falcons – His ukelele skills are impressive and he has the size to be a red zone weapon (6’8, 260) but that’s about all I know about Toilolo. He has big shoes to fill taking over for Tony G and he won’t be the weapon in the slot that Tony G was, but he’s the best TE option on the roster so he should see plenty on snaps this year. Toilolo had 10 TDs in 2 seasons as a starter at Stanford so he may have some receiving skills. I think he will be more of a blocker than a receiver but 5-6 TDs aren’t out of the question.
Tier 7: Rookies
It’s rare that rookie tight ends have any fantasy impact, but last year’s draft was special at almost every position across the board and a few of this year’s rookies have a chance to make an impact. Keep in mind though that only 2 rookie TEs have had over 500 yards the last two seasons (Wright, Allen) and in the last 15 years only 2 rookie TEs have had over 5 TDs (Gronk, Hernandez).
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Eric Ebron, Lions – The potential is ridiculous with Megatron and Tate drawing the defenses attention and leaving the short-to-intermediate area wide open for Ebron. He has the speed and agility of a wide receiver and will be a matchup nightmare for LBs and Safeties. The problem is Ebron’s ability to concentrate and learn the offense. Ebron had drop issues at North Carolina and has in the preseason as well. He is so talented that his big play ability might make up for the occasional dropped ball. He is a classic dice roll; but has the talent to be high scoring fantasy TE but enough flaws that the Lions may not be comfortable playing him enough snaps to have any fantasy value.
Jace Amaro, Jets – Was a matchup problem in college with 106 catches last year. After struggling to adjust to the speed of the game early in the preseason, Amaro has shown flashes of fantasy potential the last two weeks, If Amaro had a decent QB he would be 10-15 spots higher in my rankings, but he doesn’t. Geno Smith is going to limit the fantasy ceiling of Amaro this year, but their lack off legitimate receiving options could lead to Amaro getting enough targets to be relevant in fantasy.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Bucs – Has the talent to be a top tier TE, but injury concerns, maturity issues, and not having a solid grasp of the offense make him a long shot to be worthy of a roster spot this season.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, Texans – Excellent blocker who is underrated as a receiver. Fiedorowicz has soft hands and can move better than he’s given credit for. He had by far the best short area quickness numbers at the combine of all tight ends in attendance. Texans HC Bill O’Brien likes to run two TE sets and Fiedorowicz should see the field often as a rookie.