What’s going on everyone, and welcome to another edition of my Sleepers, Breakouts and Busts series, where today, I’ll be taking a look at the Tight End position.

Like I’ve said numerous times over the course of the off-season, the Tight End position is very top-heavy, with the big 3 of Gronk, Kelce and Ertz. However, there are still a lot of excellent value picks well into the middle and later rounds, so let’s cover all of those options.

Let’s get to it!

*Note* – ADP data corresponds with 10-team leagues

Sleepers

O.J. Howard (ADP: 14.01)

While Howard ended his 2017 on a down note with his placement on the Bucs’ IR, but his rookie season had some strong points. Howard finished the season with 26 total catches for 432 yards and 6 TD’s, with an incredible 16.6 yards per catch. His highlight came in Week 6 against the Bills in which he caught all 6 targets for 98 yards and 2 TD’s.

Heading into the 2018 offseason, it appeared that Howard did all but secure his duties as the main TE for Tampa Bay. However, the Bucs decided to bring back Cameron Brate for the 2018 season. Unfortunately, this could lower Howard’s overall ceiling. However, this will still be a pass-first offense, and Howard should earn a bigger role in this offense. A lot of fantasy analysts believe in many rookie running backs this year, even in crowded backfields, and their arguments are that “talent wins out”, and I think for Howard’s case, talent wins out, and Howard should have an increased role when it’s all said and done. With an ADP price in the 14th-round, Howard is a high-upside TE2 target.

Eric Ebron (ADP: 15.04)

I’ve put my heart and soul into Eric Ebron in many years past, and it seems like he always finds new ways to let me down. And even though my expectations are low for Ebron heading into the 2018 season, I believe that he could pay off his ADP price pretty damn easily.

While he got off to a pretty horrible start to the 2017 season, he ended up finishing as the TE5 in the last 6 weeks of the fantasy season, racking in 34 fcatches for 370 yards and 3 TD’s over that span. However, he didn’t smash his ceiling (or reach his floor for that matter) in Detroit due to how crowded the receiving corps got.

Heading into 2018, he now finds himself in Indianapolis playing with Andrew Luck and Co, and is in the perfect spot. When Luck is healthy, the Colts run a bunch of 2TE-sets, and when Frank Reich is ever the coach of a team, they tend to run a bunch of 2TE-sets as well. This is great for Ebron, who will find himself battling for targets with Jack Doyle. However, when compared to Doyle, Ebron is arguably the better route runner, and might also be the better red-zone weapon.

Luck loves throwing to his Tight Ends, and Ebron is a perfect option for the last pick of your fantasy team if you completely punt the position, or if you play in deep leagues.

Vernon Davis (ADP: 22.09)

Chances are, you’re not going to take Vernon Davis unless you’re playing in a deeper league, or a MFL10 Best-Ball league. However, I believe that Vernon Davis has the upside to finish inside the Top-12 in Tight Ends this year, which would drastically pay off his ADP price-tag.

When looking at the Redskins offensive weapons heading into the 2018 season, it’s clear that this group isn’t a great one for new QB Alex Smith. Josh Doctson hasn’t proved himself, and can’t be trusted with his physical health, Paul Richardson steps into a new environment, and might not be able to replicate his WR2/3 status in Seattle,Jordan Reed is constantly finds himself off the field due to a plethora of reasons, Derrius Guice is out for the year, and Samaje Perine might be hurt as well . In fact, the only big-time threats to Vernon Davis would be Jamison Crowder and Chris Thompson out of the backfield, although Thompson himself stated that he might not be 100% for a few months.

Just ask Travis Kelce; it’s no secret that Alex Smith likes to target his tight ends, so we could expect some increased usage this season with Jordan Reed and/or Vernon Davis. And Reed hasn’t played a full season in a while, so I’m expecting Davis to get his looks. It also helps that Davis and Smith already have a built-in connection from their time together in San Francisco.

A 22nd-round price tag is dirt cheap, and Davis could be one of Alex Smith’s favorite targets in 2018.

Breakouts

Trey Burton (ADP: 10.06)

In 2017, when he played in Philadelphia (under Doug Pederson, so this Bear’s offense shouldn’t be too tough to learn), Burton finished the season with a total of 23 catches for 248 yards and 5 TD’s. Nothing too special, but the thing that really stands out for me when looking at Burton’s numbers from last year, were his totals when Zach Ertz didn’t play. During the two weeks in which Ertz was injured, Week 9 and Week 14, Burton finished as the TE7 and TE1 in fantasy. It’s clear that if Ertz wasn’t in the picture, Burton would have a pretty big role in the offense.

When looking at the offenses of Pederson and Nagy in the past, it’s clear how big of a role Tight Ends have in their respective offenses. Maybe the successes of Travis Kelce were mostly due to Alex Smith’s ability to target his TE’s, but I don’t think we should overlook how important the position was in their offenses in year’s past.

Burton currently has an ADP in the 10th round, but I could see him going a lot later in casual drafts. If you’re not going after Gronk, Kelce, or Ertz, and want to wait a few more rounds, Burton is the perfect pick, and should do wonders in this new-look offense.

David Njoku (ADP: 12.07)

Tight Ends usually struggle during their rookie seasons, and it was a year to forget for Njoku last season. Although it doesn’t help that the team as a whole went 0-16. But in his first season, Njoku did put up 32 catches for 386 yards and 4 TD’s, with a great 12.1 yards per reception. The issue for Njoku, however, was his lack of playing time, as he didn’t see the field as much as we would like.

While the Browns added Jarvis Landry in the offseason, and the return (for now) of Josh Gordon, Njoku should still get his. With a massive upgrade at QB with the likes of Baker Mayfield/Tyrod Taylor over DeShone Kizer, in addition to his super-affordable price tag and pure athleticism (that we saw in the first week of the preseason), Njoku carries some serious upside as a TE2.

Busts

Travis Kelce (ADP: 3.03)

I’ll keep the “Busts” section short because I’ve talked a lot about both these Tight End targets, but simply put, I don’t see myself targeting Kelce or Engram. Let’s talk about Kelce first.

It’s no secret that Kelce is a talented Tight End, but he may not be worth it in fantasy. Like I’ve stated before, Alex Smith is a great QB for our fantasy TE targets, and Kelce could see an decreased target share with the arrivals of Patrick Mahomes, but more importantly, Sammy Watkins. Watkins has gotten some serious high praise out of camp, and seems to have already build a nice relationship with Patrick Mahomes. Factor in an already-established run-game, and Kelce might not be worth a 2nd or 3rd-round price tag.

Evan Engram (ADP: 6.07)

Engram is a very talented Tight End, and it was great that he did as well as he did in his rookie season, but I don’t have high hopes that he can repeat his successes in Year 2. First off, all of his highlight games in 2017 came with the injuries and vacancies of OBJ, Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard, and the lack of a competent run-game. Well, heading into 2018, both Shepard and Odell are fully healthy, and the Giants invested a ton of draft capital into 2nd-overall pick Saquon Barkley.

There are a bunch of mouths to feed in New York, and I’m not sure Engram will keep up his target share in what should be a crowded receiving corps for the New York Football Giants in 2018.

 

Alright guys, that is all my time for today. I will be back next week for the same version of this article, but for RB’s and WR’s, so stay tuned! And as always, if you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to leave one below!

 

You Can Follow Zach on Twitter @razzball_zach

  1. Alex says:
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    Could u critique my team please….its a 12 team league 1 point ppr other than that just regular scoring….my team is …..
    Luck
    Mixon
    Cook
    Baldwin
    Obj
    Lamar miller
    Oj howard………my bench is…
    Mahomes
    Nyheim hines
    Kerryon Johnson
    Funchess
    Robby anderson
    Hogan and last but not least Corey Davis
    Somebody wants my Beckham and he offered McCaffery and another player….only other players he has that I like is Hilton but I doubt he does both hilton and CMJ….anyways…your thoughts on my team….

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Alex: Hey Alex, thanks for the question!

      You’ve got yourself a damn good team homie! Your starting lineup is pretty great, and while I’m not in love with your bench depth, I do really love Davis and Hogan, which means you’re probably just great with your starting RBs.

      I would also stay put on the trade. As a general rule I don’t really trade before the games start.

      Let me know if you have any questions!

  2. Alex says:
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    Can u critique my team please…
    Luck
    Mixon
    Cook
    Obj
    Baldwin
    Lamar Miller
    Oj howard
    BENCH…….
    mahomes
    Funchess
    Hogan
    Corey Davis
    Robby Anderson
    Hines
    Kerryon Johnson

    Alot of players coming back from injury…..is there anybody droppable?

  3. Allan says:
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    Hey Zach would you give up Baldwin and Ingram for Keenan Allen in a dynasty ppr? My other WR and RBs are Julio, Cooper, Kupp, David Johnson, Dalvin Cook, and Drake.

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Allan: Hey Allan! I would stay put on that trade. I like both Baldwin and Ingram, and your team is already pretty good without Allen.

  4. steve stevenson says:
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    Loving that I picked up Burton late last year in my dynasty. In this league I traded away Aaron Hernandez at just the right time and Jimmy Graham maybe a year early (but got decent return for him)–hoping I’m set for a bit with Burton.

    Anyway, how do you see Shaq Barkley vs Kareem Hunt in dynasty, std scoring?

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @steve stevenson: Hey Steve!

      I like Burton a lot as well. As for Barkley versus Hunt, it’s still really early for both of their career’s, but I think Barkley has more appeal in dynasty leagues.

  5. Paul Zone says:
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    10 team ppr. 6 pts for pas tds, 3 pt bonus for 100 rush/rec yds or 300 pass yds. Start 2 rb/wr and a Flex. What are your thoughts om team:

    Qb – Wilson
    Rb – David Johnson, Davonte Freeman, Lamar Miller, Jamaal Williams, Montgomery, Ware, Martin
    WR – Baldwin, Cobb, Edelman, Crowder, Mike Williams
    TE – Gronk

    Would you dump anyone for Taywan Taylor, Anthony Miller, Gore, Ginn, Perine, Enunwa or Rishard Matthews?

    Thanks!

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Paul Zone: Really like your team, and would stay put for right now. Really like the RB depth, and while I think you should be very active on the waiver wire for receivers, you’ve got a lot of high-upside options that could pan out. You’ve also got the best TE in the league, so that helps hahaha.

      Thanks for the question man!

      • Paul Zone says:
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        @Zach: Thanks for the advice! I will have to drop someone by week 1 to pick up a DST. Who would you part with?

        I have Stafford as a backup qb too.

  6. Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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    got a dynasty draft (2 QB half PPR 12 teamer) starting tomorrow, and i’m way behind (do plan to and will read/listen to all razzball info since SB here shortly), where is a good dynasty rankings list around here currently (or somewhere else if not here)? thanks. if no exact list yet exists here (odd if it didn’t though, this is about to be draft season) i could list roster. i’m aware that in 2 QB dynasties QB’s obv go up in value over a standard list, sometimes by a lot. my team in general is RB needy though so my 1st rounder this year will likely be a RB, also i have good QB depth (somewhat, they aren’t all starters), weak RB depth, esp if this burkhead injury is a large thing; a week or so ago it sure LOOKED like i had gained big value owning him still. it’s only a 3 round draft and i have all my picks in the first 34 (10th in each round).

    beep boop

    • Zach

      Zach says:
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      @Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo: Good luck man! Definitely check out the Dynasty rankings and podcast content here on the site from the Ditka and Sausage crew, especially the writings of B_Don! Both of them do great work on Dynasty talk.

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

      • Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo says:
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        @Zach: i’ve been following those guys for their baseball podcasts too already, good stuff. i can’t find though a dynasty ranking on the site. i will listen to all/any podcasts coming up here on football side. at this point i’ve only scanned the titles of all articles since SB and tried the rankings link at top of page. in past year(s) jay and/or others had a dynasty ranking by this time though. i could be wrong though and those might on purpose show up later in august (probably not much later of course). the main part is to rank the differing positions together (this might have been done in the podcast), how to value 1st year RB #5 vs WR #2 etc. i know to move up all QB’s for a QB league (although how much is an interesting wrinkle).

  7. Eli Man Penguin Boy says:
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    here’s one for ya, 14 team h2h PPR keep 2. i already have AB (round 4, have gotten 1, 1,3 in the 3 years after i joined this league exactly as AB was becoming completely elite) and get to pick one from this list. rosters are
    1 QB
    2 RB
    3 WR
    1 TE
    1 R/W/T flex
    1 K
    2 LB
    2 DB
    1 DL
    6 BN
    2 IR
    choices, 1 out of these:
    fitz (3, pick 40)
    ebron (11, pick 152)
    parker (21st, pick 292)
    goodwin (21st, pick 292)
    fuller (17th, 236)
    RW3 (SEA QB, 5th, pick 68)

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