Fantasy Football

2016 Fantasy Football Tight End Busts: Walk The Walker


2016 Fantasy Football Tight End Busts

Credit: Navin 75

As I stated in my sleepers article, the tight end can be one of the most frustrating positions on a fantasy football team, and they can also be the most hit and miss. That is why I wait on drafting them.

The risk that comes with drafting a tight end that isn’t Rob Gronkowski early is large enough that I avoid it altogether until the later rounds of the draft.

It is difficult to predict the position with the amount of turnover and uncertainty that it can lead to, but there are some players who I believe are ranked just a little too high to draft. That isn’t to say that their 2016 won’t be successful, but their asking price comes with more risk than I am willing to put up with.

2016 Fantasy Football Tight End Busts

Delanie Walker (ADP: 66, TE 5)

Delanie Walker had a breakout year in 2015. No one can take that away from him, nor will I try, but this is a much different Titans team taking the field in 2016.

The receiving core in Tennessee has drastically improved from last season.

Dorial Green-Beckham is one of the most athletic receivers in the NFL. He showed flashes last season. If he can put it all together, Delanie Walker will have a serious threat to take targets away.

The Titans also added Rishard Matthews in free agency as well as Tajae Sharpe through the draft. The pieces around him are much better. Last season one of the biggest reasons why he broke out was because the other pass-catchers on the field were not great, leaving Marcus Mariota only one solid option to throw the ball to. That is not the case anymore.

On top of that, the Titans added a running game. DeMarco Murray will try to revive his career after a disappointing season in Philadelphia. Derrick Henry will try to prove that he can be the guy the Titans can turn to for the long haul.

Compare that to David Cobb, Antonio Andrews, and Dexter McCluster who were the main backs for Tennessee last season and you will notice the talent difference. Mariota didn’t have anyone reliable who he could hand the ball off to. Not anymore.

Walker is a player with undeniable talent. He proved that last year. However, on a team such as the Titans, there are only so many targets to go around. Walker will get less opportunities than he had last year. That can only result in less of an impact on the fantasy scoreboard. He can still be a reliable fantasy option, but a seventh round draft price is a little too steep for me to pay come draft day.

Tyler Eifert (ADP: 60, TE 7)

Despite being ranked as the seventh best tight end by fantasypros, Eifert comes in being drafted six spots higher on average than Delanie Walker. That should be a red flag right there.

Another red flag can be seen in Eifert’s injury history. He is not a guarantee to be on the field during Week One this season, or even for the first month for that matter. While unlikely, that has me worried. I don’t want to spend a late fifth to early sixth rounder on someone that might miss a quarter of the season.

It is true that the Bengals lost Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones this offseason, but they still have A.J. Green and one of the most talented runningback committees in the NFL. On top of that they gained Brandon LaFell in free agency as well as Tyler Boyd through the draft.

Boyd could be a threat in the red zone with his large frame. That was Eifert’s bread and butter last year as he 25 percent of his passes for touchdowns last season. He caught 13 touchdowns but only racked up 615 receiving yards. That will be almost impossible to maintain. This just doesn’t seem like a winning formula for Eifert in fantasy football this season, especially if he can’t stay healthy.

Jimmy Graham (ADP: 109, TE 15)

I am not a believer in Jimmy Graham anymore. He went from one of the most productive fantasy tight ends in recent memory, to someone who I try to get out of my memories. As talented as he is, the system just isn’t right for him to flourish. Maybe no Marshawn Lynch will help, and maybe Russell Wilson will look for him more often. I just don’t think he is worth the risk.

Yes his ADP puts him in the later rounds, but Graham is someone that I don’t even want to draft. There are much better targets behind him. Jason Witten is one of the most consistent players in the NFL. Zach Miller took strides last season and is poised for a breakout season. Jared Cook and Martellus Bennett are in much friendlier offenses for their type of play. Jimmy Graham is not someone I would trust this season.

Graham had his worst statistical season since his rookie year last season. I wouldn’t expect that to drastically change, especially with Graham struggling to stay healthy. He only played 11 games last season, his first time playing less than 15 in his career and his two touchdowns were a career low.

He is someone with name value and that is understandable. However, there are options with higher upsides behind him in the draft. If you do decide to draft him, make sure you have someone else that you trust on your roster. Because Graham alone could make for a very frustrating season on the waiver wire.

About Eric Robinson

Eric is a writer for Fantasy Six Pack who has grown up studying nothing but sports. Follow him on twitter at @ERob_F6P.

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