2017 Fantasy Football Busts

2017 Fantasy Football Tight End Busts: Gone Tomorrow

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The tight end position once was solely the domain of one player, Rob Gronkowski. Now it has become a more diversified position in fantasy leagues. We got guys like Greg Olsen, Jordan Reed, and Travis Kelce all getting the love and dominance that may overcome taking Gronk off the board at number one.

Within every position are guys that get too much love or too much praise in the fantasy football world. Numbers can be misleading and I will help dive into a couple of tight ends that ranked as one of the best tight ends last year but may be in line for regression in 2017. It’s time to get down to some overrated tight ends for this upcoming fantasy season.

2017 Fantasy Football Tight End Busts

Granted, there aren’t a whole lot of tight ends out there that you count on every week to produce efficient numbers in fantasy. Not many tight ends fall into the middle to late rounds that’ll be a reliable start each week.

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Finding the tight ends that’ll produce effective numbers every week is a key to winning fantasy football weeks. It’s time to start identifying the tight ends that you may want to avoid over-drafting in fantasy drafts.

Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions

Drafted with the fourth pick in the 2014 NFL draft, expectations were always high for Eric Ebron. He hasn’t lived up to the hype in Detroit during his first three seasons. This past season was his best season yet, but it still hasn’t been what the team was expecting since drafting him. The 24-year old caught 61 passes for 711 yards and just one touchdown in 2016.

Efficiency was down from a year ago from the former Tar Heel. He dropped six passes and had a 71.8% catch rate. Both ranked in the bottom half in the respected categories regarding tight ends. Ebron failed to have one game with 100+ receiving yards all season in 2016. In fact, he was held to under 50 yards receiving in six games as well.

Currently listed at 6’4 245 pounds, Ebron has the size to be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenders. He seems unable to use his body to make the right plays, especially in the red zone. Ebron only saw six red zone targets all year long. This seemed to be a disappointment to what was a career year for Eric Ebron.

The Lions aren’t known to be a team that relies heavily on the tight end position. Only 16% of the total fantasy points scored by the Lions team came from tight ends. This ranks as the fourth lowest in the NFL behind the Cardinals, Falcons, and Jets.

There hasn’t been a whole lot of success from Lions tight ends in recent years. Ebron’s inefficiency, as well as his lackluster numbers in the red zone, draw some red flags when drafting him. Be cautious when drafting Ebron in fantasy drafts as you don’t want to be the guy who overdrafts him.

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

Zach Ertz had himself a pretty solid season last year. He may be over-drafted at his current ADP after showing signs of inconsistency and lack of production from a year ago. Of the 14 games Ertz played in last year, he recorded 50 or more receiving yards only five times. With the lack of weapons at the receiver position and being the team to throw the ball the sixth most in the league last year, that doesn’t sit well.

Touchdowns have been a real killer to Ertz and his fantasy value, and not just in 2016 either. In fact, since entering the league in 2013, Ertz ranks seventh in targets and 17th in touchdowns at the tight end position. It took him until week 8 in 2016 to score his first touchdown. Carson Wentz and the Eagles relied on Ertz a lot in 2016. Zach Ertz received nearly 20% of the targets thrown by Wentz last season. He was a guy used heavily in a high volume passing offense but failed to produce TE1 numbers most of the year.

With the additions of Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery to the Eagles receiving core, it’s going to be much harder for Zach Ertz to produce consistent numbers, even though he’s had a hard time doing so throughout his whole career so far. Being the big bodied tight end that he is, Ertz has been a shy guy when it relates to scoring some touchdowns.

It’s going to be tough to trust a guy in the Eagles offense that fails to show any promising signs as a red zone threat to opponents. The new looking Eagles offense will push Ertz and his fantasy value. He can be best regarded as a TE2 moving forward.

O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

O.J. Howard was the number one tight end taken in the 2016 NFL draft. He’s a good long time investment with Tampa Bay but the hype for him has been through the roof. Here we have a 6’6 242-pound athlete; gifted with some elite athletic traits. The sky is the limit for this kid, but he enters the NFL in a crowd.

Rookie tight ends usually don’t produce year one in the NFL. Hunter Henry drew a lot of hype in 2016 as a league leader in touchdowns by a tight end. Even with the massive intake in touchdowns, Henry still finished as TE18 in PPR leagues and TE11 in standard leagues. History is against Howard heading into the 2017 season.

O.J. Howard proved himself a very productive tight end at one of college footballs most high powered teams in the nation. His 6’6 frame is widely viewed as a nice red zone target, but scoring only seven touchdowns in his four-year career at Alabama is a bit concerning. It’ll also be tough for him to be the stand alone ‘go to’ guy in the red zone with guys like Mike Evans (6’5) and Cameron Brate (6’5).

The Buccaneers will look to use a two tight end set more moving forward now that they drafted Howard. Let’s not forget that Cameron Brate made his presence known this past season. Just because O.J. Howard is in town, doesn’t necessarily mean he takes the back seat to a rookie. Rookie tight ends aren’t that trustworthy to produce consistent numbers.

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It’s significantly more difficult for rookie tight ends to come in early and produce. So let 2017 be the learning year for the 22-year-old and don’t buy into the pre season hype.


2017 Fantasy Football Position Previews
QuarterbacksRunning BacksWide ReceiversTight Ends

For more F6P preseason coverage please visit our 2017 Draft Kit section.

About Michael Trivisonno

Michael is a big time NFL and sports fan who has been competing in fantasy football for years now. He goes in depth with stats and numbers to make his audience understand more not just about fantasy football, but about overall teams and players in the game. You can learn more about him by following him on twitter @Mike_Triv

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