Early ADP Musings: Tight Ends
July 31, 2016 | Ian Goldsmith
A quality tight end can clearly help your team, but the nature of the game dictates that there is a smaller pool of fantasy-relevant players than other positions. As such, this look at the position will be shorter than previous looks at running back and wide receiver ADP. I’ll only cover five tight end risers and fallers as opposed to the ten covered in previous weeks. Like the RBs and WRs, the TE risers generally are due to increased opportunity for touches, while many of their counterparts seem to be falling largely due to lack of respect for one reason or another (injury, more competition for touches, etc.). Remember, the changes seen in the right columns below represent how this years ADP relates to each players 2015 rank in terms of average points per game, not overall points.
As Pericles said to the Athenians, “Where do I draft the Fleener?” Yes, opportunity knocks for the tight ends mentioned here. Touches will increase, fake points will be scored, and there will be much rejoicing. Whether it is because of a change of scenery (Fleener, Cook, and Green), decreased competition (Allen), or hopes of a sophomore step forward (Kroft and Walford), these tight ends, as a whole, are poised to better their fantasy output.
Dwayne Allen has perhaps benefited the most this offseason. He is finally without competition for TE touches in Indianapolis now that Coby has taken his talents to the Superdome. It is showing in his ADP, where he is currently going 18th in standard leagues and 16th in PPR, a rise of over 40 spots from his average per game scoring in 2015, not that it was necessarily hard to rise from a year that comprised of 16 catches for 109 yards and 1 TD over 13 games. Yikes. Anyways, Chud says that Allen will have an increased role, and there is no reason to think otherwise at this point. There is no reason that he can’t flirt with 40-50 catches, 500-600 yards and 4-5 TDs, a line that would put him clearly in high TE2 territory.
Allen’s former teammate, Coby Fleener, seems to clearly have the most upside of the players above given his new team. Brees and Co. make an afterthought like Ben Watson into a fantasy star last year; think of what that system can do with a younger, more athletic player. When thinking about his potential performance this year, I look at Fleener’s 2014 stats as a floor, a year in which he finished with a 51/774/8 line, which was good for 6th and 7th in standard and PPR, respectively. After taking that into account, I look at Ben Watson’s numbers from last year and notice that they are better than Fleener’s career season. This makes me giddy. He is currently being drafted 7th in both standard and PPR leagues, according to FantasyPros consensus ADP; I’m more optimistic and have him 4th and 3rd.
Ladarius Green offers an intriguing option for Big Ben now that he’s in Pittsburgh. On the one hand, Ben has never had a TE nearly as athletic as Green; on the other hand, is athleticism as exciting to have as a reliable TE option like Heath Miller, who had sticky fingers and rarely missed a game in his career? I’m not so sure. Green opened Steelers camp on the PUP list, and still cannot cut properly following January ankle surgery. Still, even if he only plays in 13 games like he did last season, there is no reason to think that Green will do anything less than set new career highs in nearly every offensive category. If you thought you may have gotten a deal on him in drafts, his ADP says otherwise; he is currently being taken as a low-end TE1. He certainly has the upside. If he stays healthy, there is little doubt in my mind that he will reach those lofty goals.
I’m moving onto fallers here, but I just have to make one more note…Tyler Kroft is being taken 26th in PPR. That is…interesting, to say the least. If Eifert starts the season on the PUP list, then this could make some sense. Otherwise, I don’t see how he’ll hit that lofty ranking. The expert consensus as it stands has Kroft currently going 47th in PPR.
Richard Rodgers’ ADP discrepancy befuddles me. He is currently being picked as the consensus 19th TE in standard drafts (likely too high), yet 33rd in PPR leagues (in my opinion, too low). In each of his two years in the NFL, Rodgers’ standard and PPR finishes have been within two spots of one another. This is reflected in expert consensus rankings, where is he going 28th and 30th currently. Perhaps this is just one of those early quirks that are so common when lineups are not yet settled. Rodgers’ PPR ADP has fallen dramatically from where he finished last season. In fact, you could easily say that he’s the least respected TE out there at the moment. I’m certainly guilty of it currently, as I have him ranked 28th at the moment. However, the more I think about it, the less sure I am that Rodgers is going to fall from grace. Though they added Jared Cook this offseason, there is nothing set in stone as to who the starter is going to be in Green Bay. He lost nearly 20 pounds in the offseason, and certainly knows the system better than Cook. Add in the fact that Cook is currently on the PUP list, and Rodgers may be able to yet hold onto his starting spot.
The other guy that is being drafted much lower than his per-game averages dictate is Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who is currently being drafted as the 16th and 19th TE in standard and PPR drafts, respectively. Frankly, his injury history in his first two seasons is reason enough for this difference; he’s played a total of 16 games during that time. If he can stay healthy, however, he is in a position to do some major damage on a burgeoning offense. Sometimes in fantasy, you have to win by taking risks on players whom others won’t touch. ASJ represents that type of risk. At his best, he is a top-10 fantasy TE that can make a big difference on your team. At his worst, he might get injured or have a hissy fit and be supplanted by Cameron Brate.
What are your thoughts on where tight ends are being drafted? Leave me a note below or connect with me @ianrgold on Twitter.