Rookie tight ends are not the most reliable of fantasy football players, but the position is so hot and cold you have to take a look at everyone.
And before we get too cute, let’s look at Jimmy Graham’s rookie season:
31 receptions, 356 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns - total of 65.6 fantasy points in standard scoring.
Take note: with a total of 65.6 points Jimmy would have been the 20th highest scoring fantasy tight end in 2013. Also, he only started 5 games his rookie season - so image how amazing he was as a plug and play.
More than with any other position we really mean “watch.” Do not draft these rookie tight ends, but keep an eye out for them and consider each of them for a bye week fill-in. Also, if you play dynasty, you may want to bank on one of these guys later in the draft. It’s a smart move. And here is why:
Jace Amaro (New York Jets): He wasn’t the first tight end taken off the board, but in my opinion, he has the greatest potential for early production. The New York Jets picked up a stud wide receiver (Eric Decker) and a stud running back (Chris Johnson) in the off season so you knew they were looking for a stud tight end to round out the pack. Amaro is 6’5″, 260 pounds and Texas Tech mostly used him as an inside receiver which is exactly what he’ll do in MetLife Stadium. He started 10 of 13 games in 2013 and amassed 106 catches for 1.352 yards and seven touchdowns. He set the FBS record for receiving yards by a tight end. In 2012 he was arrested for a credit card fraud charge, but later the charges were dropped and he was ejected from the Mieneke Car Care Bowl for throwing a punch (irony). He’s spunky, the perfect Jet and his tape was phenomenal.
Troy Niklas (Arizona Cardinals): The Cardinals are getting sneaky good, and drafting Niklas from Notre Dame at pick 20 in the second round of the draft was just another step in their mastermind plan to come out and surprise people. Well, I’m calling it now,. Niklas will be a nice red zone target and he should be on your radar. Now. This guy started at Notre Dame as a true freshman as a linebacker. In 2012 he converted to tight end and backed up Tyler Eifert (now a Cincinnati Bengal) and in 2013 he started all 13 games and caught 32 passes for 498 yards and five touchdowns… all while being 6’6″ and 270 pounds and blocking like a champ. He’s athletic, huge, can catch the ball and he’s already pretty darn good after only two years at the position. Arizona needs him and he will play. He will be a fantastic fantasy start in match-ups weak against tight ends. P.S. I’m loving the Bruce Arians hats.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): Her Fantasy Football analyst Courtney Kirby will love this guy’s name. More than that, he’s 6’5″, 262 pounds and the ideal red zone target. The Buccaneers are so different this year, so it’s hard to know exactly whether or not he will play a role, and how soon. Fellow tight end Tim Wright also shows promise so we might not see a lot of Seferian-Jenkins this year. He’s also a bit of a wild card. Austin was arrested in March of 2013 for driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.18, pleaded guilty and served minimal time and paid a $695 fine. He also was suspended for the season opener against Boise State. If he can keep his nose clean and dedicate himself to blocking as well as catching the ball he could be very successful.
Eric Ebron (Detroit Lions): Don’t get me wrong, I love the Ebron and think he should have been the first tight end taken off the boards at the 2014 NFL Draft. I also loved that he proposed to his fiance on top of the Empire State Building on draft day. That’s big time. Maybe I’ve been burned by Detroit Lions’ tight ends too many times. Maybe I’m hesitant to buy into a tight end on a team with two other fantasy relevant tight ends (Joseph Fauria and Brandon Pettigrew). Ebron has AMAZING athleticism and broke Vernon Danis’ ACC conference record for receiving yards last year. He’s huge, he’s fast, he’s fun, and if I were in a dynasty league he would be one of my top targets this year. If I’m playing single year fantasy then you need to make the Lions prove they have a plan before you buy into Ebron’s 2014 fantasy appeal.
C.J. Fiedorowicz (Houston Texans): C.J. stands for Colton John. I needed to get that out of the way. Fiedorowicz was the best blocking tight end in the class. He and the Texans keep saying he has great ball skills and I don’t doubt them. In 2013 he caught 30 passes for 299 yards and 6 touchdowns at Iowa. He’s 6’5″, 265 pounds and can help protect the quarterback. He’s perfect for Houston, but may not be the guy for your fantasy team. However, keep you eye out for red zone targets. He feels like a Heath Miller to me. The Texans also still have Garrett Graham, Ryan Griffin and Zach Potter on the roster so don’t look for the team to push C.J. out there if he’s not ready.
So, would you draft one of these guys? Anyone you just love?