Have you joined a fantasy football league yet?! It’s that time of year.
Welcome to Love, Hate, and Sleepers. I will be covering every position (except kickers and defense). Here we will focus on tight ends, and I’ll tell you the tight ends I love and hate going into this fantasy season (not personally of course!), as well as some sleepers to consider. The Sleepers are players who could significantly exceed their expectations, or surpass their average draft position (ADP). The tight ends I love are ones who I think will have a really good fantasy year, and the tight ends I hate will be ones who could potentially be busts or who I really would not reach for or go out of my way to draft.
So, let’s start with the Love list, shall we?
Tight Ends I Love
I don’t think I have to explain why I love Travis Kelce in fantasy. He will be the best tight end in the NFL this year, and it won’t even be close. Gronk isn’t on this list anymore.
George Kittle could be the 2nd-best tight end in fantasy this year. Kittle had 88 receptions for 1,377 yards and 5 TDs last season. I think he will actually regress a little bit because the receiving corps is getting a little more crowded in San Francisco. But if there’s one thing I know about quarterbacks who inherently are not deep ball throwers and they’re coming off a serious injury, they love relying on their tight ends. So with that said, I do believe Kittle will have another big year.
When people ask me who I think the best receiver on the Eagles will be, I tell them it’s Zach Ertz. Seriously, I’m not kidding. I do believe he is the best “receiver” on the current Eagles roster. The Eagles do have DeSean Jackson, but Jackson is now 32 years old and is good for occasional deep plays. Ertz, on the other hand, will be Mr. Reliable for Carson Wentz this season.
I am all in on Big Dance Vance this season. With both Antonio Brown, Juju Smith-Schuster, and former fellow tight end Jesse James, McDonald still finished last season as the 10th-best tight end in fantasy.
This season, there is no AB, so I think the Steelers will spread the offense more and McDonald will get more involved in the offense; especially in the red zone. McDonald had 4 TDs last season. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he doubles his TDs and notches 8 this season. It may be a bit bold of a prediction, but I really do think McDonald is in for a big year and could potentially finish as a top-5 TE in fantasy.
Tight Ends I Hate
Cook had a nice season in Oakland last year. But in nine seasons with four different teams, Cook has never cracked the top-10 in fantasy points among tight ends.
The Saints haven’t really had a very good tight end since the days of Jimmy Graham. Benjamin Watson had one nice season with New Orleans, left, and then came back to the Saints for one season, but it didn’t quite pan out. Coby Fleener was once a nice tight end for the Colts. Then he went to New Orleans and became real quiet with not much production. It didn’t quite work out. By the way, this has got to be one of the better fantasy football team names I’ve seen this year…
I’m not so sure Jared Cook is really going to be lights out for New Orleans either, but I certainly could be wrong. Cook is someone I just wouldn’t reach for and I think he is projected higher than a few other tight ends who I personally would rather take in a draft.
I don’t really have as much of an issue with Walker himself, I just don’t trust the Titans this year. They can’t even figure out who their QB is right now. Marcus Mariota is struggling to win the starting role over RYAN TANNEHILL. Not to mention, Walker is coming off a serious ankle injury at age 35 and, unless your name is Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Antonio Gates, or Shannon Sharpe, that’s a really tough age to be productive at the tight end position.
Normally Walker would be a fine pick, but I would hold off on him this year unfortunately.
Ebron was sensational last year. But Jack Doyle comes back healthy and Andrew Luck is gone now, which means Ebron’s production drops off the table this year. Ebron has been fortunate to have received passes from two very good QBs throughout his career – Andrew Luck and Matthew Stafford. Jacoby Brissett will be the worst QB Ebron catches passes from.
Just like Delanie Walker, Olsen would normally be a fine pick. But nowadays at age 34, he just can’t seem to stay healthy. Pass on him and if you really feel inclined and he’s healthy, pick him up off waivers.
Don’t try and be the smart-aleck in the draft room. Witten is 37 years old coming out of a Monday Night Football booth and he hasn’t cracked the top 9 since 2013. Pass.
Redskins, Texans, Jets, and Seahawks Tight Ends
Just stay away.
Sleeper Tight Ends
Hooper always seems to fly under the radar. Believe it or not, he was the 6th-ranked TE in fantasy last season, and his 82% catch rate was the best among tight ends. He may not score much, but he does get targeted often and he could land somewhere in the top 5 or 6 in receptions among TEs. He had 71 last season.
In his rookie year last season he averaged (wait for it) 16.2 yards per reception. Insane.
I think Andrews could be in for a breakout year, and when you have a quarterback like Lamar Jackson who doesn’t throw very well downfield, I expect Andrews to get a lot of targets in the quick-and-short passing game. Andrews racked up 34 catches for 552 yards and 3 TDs while only playing 35% of the snaps.
Rudolph is like the Mike Evans of tight ends. He’s very talented, had a “down year” last season, but still put up good numbers. Rudolph had 64 receptions for 634 yards and 4 TDs. He still finished last season as the 7th-best TE in fantasy and the past three seasons he’s never finished worse than 8th. I think he’s in for a rebound year.
Love Count: 4
Hate Count: 5….9, 10??? Who Knows…well at least 5.
Sleeper Count: 3
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Calling all degenerates! Welcome to the life of turmoil and fading glory.
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