The tight end position is a difficult position to play; you play o-line, you need to block, no need to catch passes and run exact routes. There are solid reasons to never pick a TE rookie for your fantasy teams, because it’s a position where the players need to mature.
Look for third or fourth year players that have matured and are ready to explode in fantasy points. Sometimes you can find bargains in players coming back from serious injuries.
There are also solid reasons to not over-invest in your TE-slot. Tight ends get injured even more than running backs, and the production is very uneven. To make matters worse the production is heavily dependent on the game plan, which is hard to predict for a TE as he is often the safety blanket for the QB.
But it’s an important position in DFS, because if you draft the right player you have a big advantage over your opponents who have either paid to much for the TE-slot or gets no production from their dud.
TE Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots, was by far the most expensive tight end the 2016 season. But given his injury history you had to be stupid (sorry, only word to accurately describe it) to pick him. It didn’t take long for him to break down. He produced well when he was healthy and on the field, but that was only five games.
TE Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints, has always been considered a talent (like so many other tight ends), but he had never produced (like so many other tight ends). He was ranked second because people thought that he would produce like Saints former TE stand out Jimmy Graham. I have no idea why, especially since Jimmy Graham was ranked 15th with the Seattle Seahawks offense.
TE Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins, is even more athletic than all the other athletic tight ends. He had always been injured, but was healthy coming in to the season and was catapulted to the third spot in the rankings. He looked good, but 4 injured games made him a fantasy disappointment.
3rd ranked TE Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers, 4th ranked TE Delaine Walker, Tennessee Titans, and 5th ranked Travis Kelche, Kansas City Chiefs all lived up to the expectations. They all have played on their teams several seasons, have proven QB’s and have produced good in fantasy football earlier seasons as well. Perhaps the blueprint to look for going forward?
TE Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles, had a very promising rookie season. But he was misused in the Chip Kelly-system last season, and yes, he was injured too. He was spectacular down the stretch and should be high on your wish list for 2017, he would’ve finished higher if he didn’t miss two games early in the season.
TE Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks, was considered on Gronk level three seasons ago. But injuries had made him almost forgotten. The reasoning was that he didn’t have any connection with his QB. But Russel Wilson is the one of the most intelligent QB’s in NFL. Surely they could make it work with time.
TE Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings, was yet another athletic talent with an injury history that hadn’t blossomed yet. He looked good preseason and was in a good system. His success was not a surprise to me as he was on most of my teams.
TE Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was not on my radar. An undrafted player that had been released by Buccs and then picked up again and never had produced, how could he have been? But Brate became the number one TE in a very good offense after the release of Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
TE fantasy studs Fantasy points ADP Place vs ADP
Cameron Brate 171 25 +18
Kyle Rudolph 209 17 +15
Jimmy Graham 189 15 +11
Zach Ertz 184 8 +2
TE fantasy duds Fantasy points ADP Place vs ADP
Rob Gronkowski 97 1 -25
Coby Fleener 137 2 -13
Jordan Reed 169 3 -6