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Welcome to my fourth, and last installment of my fantasy football rookie sleepers.

So far, I’ve covered the first-year quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers who could sneak up on owners this year and are worth drafting in fantasy leagues.  These are “sleeper picks”, so you won’t see the Lions’ Eric Ebron on this list.

Not all players suggested stand to have an immediate impact, but they will be relevant in dynasty leagues for years to come.

Today I will be focusing on the young tight ends (roll porno credits here) in the NFL.  Traditionally, rookie tight ends don’t shift the fantasy football landscape, but there are a few recent draftees that have fallen into favorable situations and warrant your attention.

(Players aren’t listed in any specific order; college attended in parentheses)

Jace Amaro, Jets (Texas Tech): Amaro’s landing spot is quite good.  The Jets lack great production from their tight ends and with wide receiver-like qualities, the 6’5″, 265-pound former Red Raider should immediately become a featured asset in the offense.  The Jets’ WR corps is a small, inexperienced one, so whether it’s Michael Vick or Geno Smith lining up behind center, Amaro’s size and strength will quickly make him a favorite target in the red zone.  Jeff Cumberland and Zach Sudfeld should pose no real threat during training camp, making Jace Amaro one of the few rookie tight ends worth snagging in redraft leagues.

Colt Lyerla, Packers (Oregon): After a much-publicized spree of criminal antics, Lyerla’s draft stock pretty much became non-existent.  To put it lightly, Lyerla had a series of somewhat psychotic episodes while at the University of Oregon — eluding campus police, posting conspiracy-laced tirades on Twitter, and cocaine possession, just to name a few.  His future was in doubt after he left school in October.  Unsurprisingly, he was passed over during this year’s draft.

The Packers decided to take a chance on him, though, signing the undrafted free agent to a deal on Monday.  The signing comes with its risks, namely off-the-field ones, but if they can corral him, it could be one of the biggest payoffs of the offseason.

Mental issues aside, Lyerla is one of the most physically gifted young players to declare for the draft.  He finished the rookie combines with a 4.61 40-yard dash (third-best) and had the best vertical jump and tied for the best broad jump among all tight ends.  Like the aforementioned Amaro, Lyerla doesn’t have much competition at the position.  Andrew Quarless is the incumbent, but he’s really more of a blocking tight end, and Brandon Bostick failed to impress in his sophomore year.  Rookie Richard Rodgers will compete with Lyerla for reps, but the former Ducks’ sheer athleticism should vault him ahead of his teammates.

The talent is there with Colt Lyerla, and if he can find regular reps in the Packers’ pass-first offense, he should be a legitimate fantasy asset in all formats.

Other TE sleepers to keep an eye on: Troy Niklas - Cardinals (Notre Dame), Austin Seferian-Jenkins - Buccaneers (Washington), C.J. Fiedorowicz - Texans (Iowa), Richard Rodgers - Packers (Cal)

 

Follow SethDaSportsMan on Twitter at, you guessed it, @SethDaSportsMan, for quality fantasy sports advice and the deepest veneration of all things Nicolas Cage

From Around The Web

  1. Doug says:
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    Jace Amaro has a lot of potential. It’ll be interesting to see how he shakes out during camp/pre-season.

  2. Frank D. says:
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    Off the TE topic but how much do u like Stacy and Morris as RBs this season?

    • Fantasy with Dase or Days

      Fantasy with Dase or Days says:
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      @Frank D.: Good morning! I hope you don’t mind but I am going to throw my two cents in this.

      When it comes to Stacy (non-PPR), I view him as a solid RB1 option. He scored 8 touchdowns in his final 10 games. Plus, Jeff Fisher has said he views Stacy as a player that can handle 70% of the teams carries. It seems on the surface that we are not going to find to many other RBs get more carries then him in 2014. I did a little write up on his past year for the site —>http://football.razzball.com/final-fantasy-zac-stacy

      When it comes to Morris in standard (Non-PPR) scoring, I would have viewed him as a RB1 had he be coming back to the same offensive scheme. That is not the case and instead he has a coach that has a reputation of wanting to throw the football and even one of his players (Andre Roberts) has said they are going to throw a lot. I bring this up because his all of carries is not going to be made up in the passing game. In his first two years, he only has 20 catches. I think his workload is going to put him in that RB2 tier for 2014.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Fantasy with Dase or Days: @Frank D.: I agree with Dase’s take on Stacy. To me he is a RB1. There are a bunch of RB in StL but most have proven to be a little uninspiring. I think Cunningham could get a decent workload but Mason probably isn’t ready QUITE yet.

      As far as Morris, I’m not a huge fan. In PPR leagues he’s way off the map and in non-PPR I’d even have him as a RB2. He doesn’t get goal line carries and isn’t involved in the passing game. Even if its non-PPR, getting 300 or so yards receiving from a RB can still be valuable. Gruden will be implementing a pass-heavy attack. In PPR formats, I would actually rather draft Roy Helu in the later rounds than take Morris as a 2nd-3rd round pick

  3. Frank D. says:
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    Better yet…How do you like this team for a 10 Team H2H league.

    QB – RG3, Romo
    WR – Megatron, Cruz, Decker, Mike Evans and DeAndre Hopkins
    RB – Stacy, Morris, CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson
    TE – Reed, Clay
    DEF – St. Louis
    K – Dawson

    1 QB, 3WR, 2RB, 1TE, 1DEF and 1K.

    • Fantasy with Dase or Days

      Fantasy with Dase or Days says:
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      @Frank D.: The most glaring position that sticks out is you WR position. Being that it is a 10 team league and you have to start 3 of them. I don’t like your options after your first two. You lack qualit and depth at a position that any drafter should not have an issue doing this year.

      I am also not a fan of Spiller with Fred Jackson in the picture. Especially for the price I am assuming you had to pay for him (4th round?) I think you would have been better off drafting a WR in that round. One more note on the Buffalo Bills backfield. If I am going to invest in any of them it will be Jackson. They are a run heavy team and he will have the opportunity to get 200 carries and his price tag is double digits for drafts.

      I am a huge fan of your QBs! Both of them are proven quality QB1 options and have the scheme, offensive personal and ability to do that again. I believe Reed (if healthy), has the ability to be a top five at his position. I also did a little write up for his past year —> http://football.razzball.com/final-fantasy-jordan-reed

      Overall, I see flaws in this team (qualty/depth) but it’s very early in the process and more drafting will help you correct these.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Frank D.: I like the QBs and your first 2 WR are nice. I’m a little weary of having Evans (rookie) and Hopkins (bad QB situation) as your WR4/5. I like your RB situation but don’t think it’s necessary to have both Bills RB since they aren’t really “handcuffs”. I love Reed this year and StL is a sleeper defense of mine.

      I’d maybe try to trade Clay and either Evans or Hopkins for a better WR4 or another RB. There really is no need to roster 2 tight ends.

  4. Fantasy with Dase or Days

    Fantasy with Dase or Days says:
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    Good evening! Just a quick thought about the New York Jets and it’s tight end situation. I just wanted to shine some light on Jeff Cumberland. In 2013, he only had five games with at least four targets. In these games, he produced 3.2 catches, 50.8 yards for .6 touchdowns with 4.8 targets per game. Looking at this from a standard (ESPN; Non-PPR) scoring view, he gave you at least eight fantasy points in 60% of those games. Those are TE1 outputs in this scoring and even his five point performance is a high end TE2 output. When given the opportunity (very limited), he was productive for fantasy owners.

    • SethDaSportsMan

      SethDaSportsMan says:
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      @Fantasy with Dase or Days: I agree. He produced in limited snaps, but that playing time isn’t likely to increase, is it? I don’t see him taking the leap in that offense. If it didn’t happen last year when Geno Smith needed a tight end as a safety valve more than ever, I dont see him breaking out this year. That said, he could hold back Amaro a bit.

  5. Clint says:
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    Does anyone have suggestions for new fantasy roster formats to go with changes in the NFL? I decided to reduce mandatory RB’s to 1 and a QB/RB/WR/TE spot and do away with mandatory TE’s as well with another RB/WR/TE spot instead to name a few. There’s just not enough workhorse RB’s left in the passing NFL and only 5 or so real studs at TE to demand trotting out leftovers for the rest of owners at that spot. I’d eliminate team D/ST’s if Fantrax would let me too. More IDP spots seems more enjoyable.

  6. SethDaSportsMan

    SethDaSportsMan says:
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    IDP spots are fun.

    Here is the setting I have for the home league I commish:

    QB, WR, WR, WR, RB, RB, TE, FLEX, FLEX, D/ST, LB, DB, DL, IDP UTIL

    I eliminated the K spot (which is the worst thing to happen to to fantasy football) and added the additional FLEX, which is similar to your FLEX, but without a QB option there

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