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Three’s Company: Fantasy TEs

The Three TE Studs, Stay-Aways & Sleepers in 2017:

Ben Heisler
August 31, 2017 - 6:05 pm

We are less than two weeks away from the start of real football! All throughout the week, we’ll take a look at each fantasy football position: QB, RB, WR & TE and break down each of them into three categories.

The Studs: These are the players at this position that you don’t need to think twice about because you’re guaranteed to have them deliver at their ADP (average draft position)

The Stay-Aways: The players that I’m not going to touch this year or the players that are being drafted far too early despite their likely contributions.

The Sleepers: The players that are going anywhere from mid-to-late rounds in fantasy drafts, including some that may not be drafted at all!

Today we continue our Three’s Company series with the TE breakdown. And don’t forget to listen to “Fantasy Football Sunday” with me every Sunday morning starting at 9am!

STUDS:

ROB GRONKOWSKI - New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski averages 21.6 yards per catch… PER CATCH! In a full point PPR league, that’s 3.6 points EVERY TIME HE CATCHES THE FOOTBALL! There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the unequivocal top tight end in fantasy and as long as he plays the majority of the season he’ll be a guaranteed Top-5 option, which he’s been in the last four near to full seasons. So what about the health? Gronk has been a full participant since OTAs and this is the most healthy he’s been entering a season in years. Take into consideration that Julian Edelman is gone and that leaves Gronk as by far and away their most valuable weapon down the field.

TRAVIS KELCE - Kansas City Chiefs

Kelce has a remarkable ability being the 1B in this top tier of Tight-Ends… he’s Alex Smith-proof. Baby Gronk finished 2016 tops amongst TEs in catches and yards and had six 100+ receiving yard games in 2016. The Chiefs also decided to move on from Maclin, so besides Tyreek Hill, who else  is Alex going to target in this prove-it year? If you’re not frightened by upside, Gronk is your guy. Kelce provides a remarkable safe floor for a top Tight End.

JIMMY GRAHAM, Seattle Seahawks

In my piece featuring WRs, I told you all about “Jordy Nelson Syndrome” -- a classic example of when fantasy football players remember the one time a player screwed them due to injury/letdown year and can’t channel their inner-frozen and let it go. It’s the same with Graham. People seem to remember his brutal 2015 and forget about his terrific 2016 campaign where he tripled his touchdowns from the previous season. Don’t think he can hold it together consistently? The Seahawks don’t face a defense that ranks higher than 20th vs Tight Ends until Week 5 of the season, so he could finish the quarter-season mark as the Top TE in fantasy.

STAY-AWAYS:

JORDAN REED, The Washington Football Team

Reed is a terrific tight end but the missed time plays a major factor here. He’s missed a total of 18 games in his last four seasons which totals to just over a quarter of the season each year. He dealt with a shoulder injury a season ago and has also gone through THREE concussions during his time in Washington. They also don’t have to force him to be the guy anymore with the addition of a Top 8-10 WR in Terrelle Pryor, plus Jamison Crowder in the slot and another year of development for Josh Doctson and Reed doesn’t need to be the man.

GREG OLSEN, Carolina Panthers

Olsen used to be the top dog in Carolina and that led to him being a consistent Top-5 TE for the last several years. This year there’s going to be regression simply because Cam’s got too many mouths to feed in that offense. In addition to Olsen, he’s got Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess & Curtis Samuel, new first round toy Christian McCaffrey, and Jonathan Stewart is still in the mix to take away goal line opportunities. We also saw a dip in touchdowns for Olsen last year, the lowest since his rookie year in Chicago.

TYLER EIFERT, Cincinnati Bengals

If Jordan Reed’s injury history makes you uneasy, Tyler Eifert’s should downright scare you silly. According to Rotowire, Eifert has only appeared in 58% of games since the Bengals drafted him in 2013. That averages out to missing seven games a season and he’s going in the Top 5-7 of TE ADPs! He’s a touchdown monster when he’s on the field, but it’s not worth it if it’s only going to be half the time.

SLEEPERS:

MARTELLUS BENNETT, Green Bay Packers

Martellus Bennett, AKA Marty B, AKA The Orange Dino, AKA The Black Unicorn has found a perfect opportunity in Green Bay. He’s by far and away the best tight end that Aaron Rodgers has ever played with. But as our guy Paul Charchian of Fanball.com pointed out, nobody on Green Bay has been targeted more inside the five than… wait for it… wait for it… Richard Rodgers. Rodgers can look to add on his league leading 40 touchdowns from a season ago with a legit red zone threat in Marty B. This is a beautiful match.

JULIUS THOMAS, Miami Dolphins

Another late round value match that just makes sense. During Jay’s time in Chicago, he never shied away from targeting the Tight End position and a healthy Julius Thomas provides a great red-zone threat in the middle of the field. Thomas has averaged a touchdown per every 5.6 catches and is the perfect throw up and catch it guy for Jay in Miami. He’s going anywhere between TE 12-17.

AUSTIN HOOPER, Atlanta Falcons

Last year, Jacob Tamme got 11 red zone targets from Matt Ryan and scored six touchdowns on them. That was good, the bad was Tamme didn’t do much else which is why Hooper is now the top TE in the Falcons high octane offense. Hooper is as athletic as they come who provides more versatility than Tamme for Atlanta and can be another steal in that TE 13-16 range.

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