As fantasy football and fantasy baseball start to overlap, you can start to notice some similarities between the two.  You can wait on the quarterback position, just like you can wait on pitching.  Power is at a premium in baseball, as is a running back who has the job to himself.  But perhaps no comparison is as true as a tight end in football is just like a shortstop in baseball (well, kickers and catchers are pretty damn close). In fantasy baseball, shortstop is basically a fantasy wasteland.  You either have Troy Tulowitzki or Carlos Correa or you have nothing.  The same goes for tight end in football, too.  Last year, it was either Jimmy Graham (and his then-first-round tag), Julius Thomas, or Rob Gronkowski.  After that, there wasn’t much at all to get excited about.  Injuries plagued Graham and Thomas, leaving Gronkowski as the best option at the position, as he dominated the competition similar to the way that Tulo does when he’s healthy.

[findthebest id=”b31XXJKiCHP” title=”Rob Gronkowski Overview” width=”600″ height=”560″ url=”//www.findthebest.com/w/b31XXJKiCHP” link=”http://football-players.pointafter.com/l/7965/Rob-Gronkowski” link_text=”Rob Gronkowski Overview | PointAfter”]

This year, though, things have changed.  It’s Gronk and everyone else.  More than likely, if you want Gronk, you have to pay up for him in the first round or pray that he falls to you in the early second round.  After that, though, it’s up in the air, which is why tight end is the perfect position to stream.  It’s not really a strategy, but a necessity.

Gronk is fine in the first round, but we thought Graham would be last year, too.  Now Graham has moved on to Seattle, where reports say he will be prepared to block on 75 percent of the snaps.  He’ll still get his redzone looks, but it could be a career low for fantasy points for Graham in 2015.

As for Thomas, he left Peyton Manning for Blake Bortles as he took his talents south to Jacksonville.  OK, he cashed in, which I can’t blame him.  His ADP has dropped him behind the likes of Gronk, Graham, Travis Kelce, Martellus Bennett and Greg Olsen as the sixth tight end off the board.  Those who watch the Jags practice are excited about Thomas, expecting a big year out of him.  Rumor has it those who watch the Jags are also excited about a new product coming out called MySpace.  It’s a game-changer, y’all.

Chances are, I’m not going to land any of the names above.  I’d much rather spend my first- and second-round picks on running backs and wide receivers, depending on my draft position and the format of the league.  But one thing is for sure, if Gronk doesn’t fall to me in the second round, I’m going to wait until at least round 10 before I take a tight end, because they just aren’t worth it.

Some names that I have been targeting in standard mock drafts late have been Tyler Eifert, Owen Daniels, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Eric Ebron and Dwayne Allen.  One of them SHOULD hit, but if they don’t, I’ll just play tight end roulette throughout the season.

In PPR leagues, I like all of the above options, but tend to think less about Dwayne Allen as he is solely touchdown dependent.  Yes, most are, but he’s an extreme example.  I tend to look toward Delanie Walker in PPR mocks, despite his recent finger injury.

In auction drafts, my strategy is simple; Throw out Gronk, Thomas, Graham, Kelce early and let everyone go crazy on them just like quarterbacks.  I’ll sit back, wait until the end of the auction and pluck a guy or two that I like for $1 or $2.  It’s just not worth it when the point differential isn’t enough on a week-to-week basis.

One player who is in a unique situation this season is Antonio Gates.  Gates, the safety-net for Philip Rivers for so many years in San Diego, is suspended the first four games of the season.  While I’m more than certain his production last year is unsustainable, he’s a name and people love names.  When should you draft him, though?  Well, I’m not, but I’ll play along.  He’s a guy to target toward the end of your draft in Round 12 or 13 of a 15-round draft.  Pair him with a high-upside guy if you want or stream him until he returns.

What you could do, though, is pair Gates with an upper-tier tight end, if you decide to go against my advice, and trade one when Gates returns.  I’m not one for drafting players with the mindset of trading them, but almost everyone is looking for a tight end they can plug in each week.  Try to take advantage of your league.

Spend high on a quarterback if you want, but unless you get Gronkowski, do the right thing and wait on tight end.

 

 

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  1. Harrison Saunders says:
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    I had Tulo for several years. He was great when he played, but he sure was hurt a lot. Now I have Hanley Ramirez (shakes head sadly). And Puig. And Zimmerman. From now on, I’m not spending more than $5 on anyone.

    • @Harrison Saunders: Haha i like the strategy! Man, rough year for you. Of course, first time you don’t take Tulo he puts together a as-of-now healthy year.

  2. toppleprone says:
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    Kelce, Kelce, Kelce! Catch him in the 4th. He’s so fast LBs can’t cover him, he’s so big secondary can’t bring him down. Fasano is gone. He’s the only TE I’m targeting.

    • @toppleprone: Eh I mean I get it, and you’re not alone. I can’t justify taking him in the 4th or 5th. I’ll let you or the “you” in every draft who is in love with him have him haha. Stock up in PPR, though. I’ll take my chances in the final rounds and stream.

      • Toppleprone says:
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        @Michael Waterloo: I just think the TE is so shallow and unproven it makes sense to target a guy that has done it. The void created by the top guys is such an advantage over your other league managers is huge.

        As for Kelce, everything is pointing up for him. he wasn’t really used much in the first quarter of the season, admittedly played through injury, and Reid has said this yr will see more targets. It’s not out of the question to see him go 70/900/7 this year. That could unseat Grahm for #2 in PPR.

        You list 4-5 guys and one “should” hit but nobody is drafting several flyer TEs. ASJ is speculation, Walker has yet to stay healthy, Ebron failed terribly as a rookie in the role of pass catching TE. I do like Daniels as a high floor guy but id rather get my floor players in WR3 and take chances in shallower positions where the gain is much more over the rest of your league. Just my 2c though, good luck this season!

        • waterloo

          waterloo says:
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          @Toppleprone: It’s definitely too shallow. The shallowest position, no doubt. That’s where I was going with my Tulo comp. It’s worth grabbing the clear No. 1 early to separate yourself from your competition there each week. I think Kelce could unseat Graham, too, but I’m not taking him in 4th or 5th round. Not worth it to me. I’m only draft one tight end no matter what this year. If it’s an ASJ or Eifert and they bomb, I’ll just stream each week.

          Best of luck to you too!

  3. S.H says:
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    Mike my man, In a dynasty forever keeper , 12 team 32 player roster no cap and a ppr , who would you take A.Cooper,Gurley or Gordon.?

    • @S.H: Hey man. In dynasty, I’m almost always leaning WR, especially when the talent gap is as close as it is with those three. Give me Cooper, then I’m going Gordon then Gurley.

      • Toppleprone says:
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        @Michael Waterloo: just curious what it is you see about Gordon that has you keeping him over Gurley? Is it the knee?

        • waterloo

          waterloo says:
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          @Toppleprone: It’s the knee and I trust the role and opportunity that Gordon has more.

          • toppleprone says:
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            @waterloo: my biggest concern with Gurley is the defenses he will face, even next year. i do think he’s the better talent and a true 3 down back where gordon feels more like the guy he’s replacing in SD, ryan matthews. love the burst and explosion for gordon but i think gurley is the better suited back and projects to be the better star with his power/speed blend always looking to initiate contact. he’s also so flexible and fluid as a runner, makes great cuts in mid stride and runs much lower than his height. so exciting to see this crop of RBs bring the position back to draft prominence again.

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