2016 Tight End Preview

     Well here’s my take on the tight end position and it’s not exactly earth shattering news- it’s Gronk and basically everyone else is a roll of the dice.  The thing that baffles me are the adp’s.  Here are a few:  Jordan Reed is at 38, Travis Kelce is at 61, Coby Fleener is at 73.  Drafting is like buying stock- the goal is to buy low and sell high.  My general strategy is to draft guys with upside- to hit home runs.  The best chance I have of doing that is with running backs, wide receivers, and even quarterbacks- NOT tight ends.

     Let me ask you a question.  Do you think Jordan Reed has even a remote chance of being worth a 1st or 2nd round pick next year?  How about Travis Kelce?  Okay, how about Coby Fleener?  Are any of them in the same ballpark of a healthy LeVeon Bell, Adrian Peterson, Jordy Nelson, and Dez Bryant?  If they aren’t, then you shouldn’t be picking them until the end of the draft.  My argument is this, if I take Andrew Luck,  DeAngelo Williams, Arian Foster, Christine Michael, Tevin Coleman, Devante Parker, Dorial Green-Beckham, etc.- I at least have a shot at hitting a home run.  Keep in mind I said shot not guarantee.  If I don’t take them, I risk losing those guys to my opponents.  I want as many home run swings with my sleepers as I can get.  Luck is not a sleeper, but he is undervalued in my estimation. If the Colts can just protect him, he’ll put up monster numbers.  Foster has been a feature back before, who was given up for dead by experts, and came back to burn them.  Green-Beckham has physical talent similar to Julio Jones on a team that will get a lot of garbage yards late in games.  Marshall can probably be had much later in my example, but he was ahead of Todd Gurley on the depth chart at Georgia before being injured.

      Now, if I draft a tight end instead of my sleeper- I essentially have no chance of hitting a home run with that pick.  None of those three guys (Reed, Kelce, Fleener) or anyone for that matter outside of Gronk is going to be a game changer for my team.  The best I can hope for is that they’ll have the same season they had last year and that I’ll get my money back so to speak with whenever I drafted them.  However, by waiting on tight ends, I can take a shot at Luck being #1 overall quarterback who could pass for 5,000 yards and get 45-50 tds.  Or I could take a shot with Devante Parker who could turn into a #1 wide receiver like DeAndre Hopkins, which is what NFL scouts say Parker’s ceiling is.  What if LeVeon Bell’s knee gives out again? It vaults DeAngelo Williams into a #1 running back.  Also, by waiting, the cost of when I do pick my tight end is so low that anything I get from them is gravy.  To me guys like Dwayne Allen, Clive Walford, Jared Cook, and Martellus Bennett are just as good and could easily vault past some of those guys mentioned earlier.  In addition, if I hit with some of my sleepers, it’s a game changer.  I either have another star in my lineup or valuable trade bait to strengthen my team into a powerhouse.  Still don’t believe me? Let’s take a closer look.  For example, would you trade Allen Robinson for Travis Kelce, today on August 12, 2016?  How about Todd Gurley for Travis Kelce?  Why not?  Where was Kelce taken last year in your draft?  Where was Robinson taken?  Where was Gurley taken?  Robinson’s and Gurley’s stock grew over time because they were home runs- Kelce’s stock did not despite the fact that he still had a decent year. Now keep in mind, all sleepers don’t turn into home runs, but my point is by drafting Kelce or any tight end (outside of Gronk) earlier than the 13th round you essentially gave yourself one less chance to hit one.  Kelce actually did okay last year.  I mean he wasn’t even a bust, well, for a tight end that is, but that doesn’t matter if your opponent connects with a home run like Gurley.

     This might sound like blasphemy, but even Gronk seems a little rich for me. Without Tom Brady for four weeks his numbers will take a hit. Add a bye week and now that’s essentially five weeks you’ll be without your 1st or 2nd round pick.  Five weeks is a long time to wait to start getting wins.  By the time Brady and Gronk are back together your playoff chances might be over. My advice is to wait on tight ends until late, like the 13th round in a 15 round draft, and take as many Kris Bryant home runs swings as you can in the meantime.  Sooner or later you’ll connect and when you do- you’re golden.

 

Mark Bonadonna

Senior Fantasy Analyst