2014 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

Fantasy Football TE Preview

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Tight End has become a much more important part of fantasy teams in the last few years, thanks some at the position scoring like some of the top wide outs do. No more are the days that the top tight ends are going in round 6 or later, now they are going as early as the first round. I don’t necessarily agree with this strategy, but understand why you would do it. The difference between the top tight end last season, Jimmy Graham, and the next best was almost 60 points. That was even with Graham missing a game last season. Having that kind of advantage over everybody else in your league at one position is huge. I would just rather have that top flight running back or wide receiver early in drafts and take my chances at tight end later. Just think of the guys you could have gotten late in drafts last season: Julius Thomas and Jordan Cameron are just two examples. I even won a league last season getting zero points from my tight end position throughout the playoffs. Proof that you don’t need that elite tight end to win.

1. Now that it appears Rob Gronkowski is going to be healthy to start the season, where should he be drafted?
Gronk is an elite tight end, that we all know. In just five and a half weeks (injured again the sixth game) last season he scored enough points to be the 14th ranked tight end for the season in standard leagues. If he was coming into this year after a full season of playing and performing well, it is possible that he would be drafted in the first round along with Graham. The fact is he is not coming in with zero concerns. He has had back, forearm and knee surgery all in the last two years, and can’t seem to stay on the field. He is talented enough to return first round value, but the injury risk drops him to at least round three.

2. Is Jimmy Graham actually worth drafting in the first round?
Jimmy Graham (NO)Even though I won’t be drafting a tight end in the first round, Graham is actually worth drafting there. Last season, in standard leagues he was ranked 9th out of all the running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. Get rid of Josh Gordon and Knowshon Moreno, who both finished ahead of him, and he is worth somewhere around the 7th or 8th pick. If you decide to do this, you absolutely have to wait on your quarterback as long as possible. If you take a quarterback in the next couple of rounds you really hurt your chances by missing out on even more running backs and wide receivers. Take Graham and wait for a Kaepernick or Romo to be your starting quarterback and you should be just fine.


3. Jordan Cameron’s production dropped off last season. With the probably loss of Josh Gordon, does Cameron return to having the success he had early in 2013?
Cameron started out last season on a tare, scoring 65 points in the first four weeks. Then Gordon returned, defenses adjusted, and Cameron scored just 69 points the rest of the season. If Gordon does in fact get suspended the entire season, then I believe Cameron can get back to performing closer to his pace during the first four games than the other 12. I say closer, not back to the pace, because he was on a ridiculous 260 total points pace, but also because he is lost tight end friendly coaches Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner.

Under-Valued
Kyle Rudolph (MIN) – A pretty major bust last season, even before he got injured in Week 9, Rudolph ss a tight end I’m definitely looking to draft, especially given his current ADP of 93. If Cameron loses some value due to a coaching change, Rudolph gains value because of it. He gets Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator this year. This mixed with not so impressive quarterbacks in Minnesota, who will likely need to check down to a tight end, have me liking Rudolph a lot this year.

Jordan Reed (WAS) – Reed was having a good season, and was starting to break out between weeks 7 and 10, only to get knocked out the rest of the year with a concussion. Him and RGIII, were starting to click and if he can stay healthy I believe he can be a top 5 tight end this season. Only risk is his concussion history, he has had at least four, including two in college. Concussions are more likely to happen the more you get them, so there is some concern for him to get another one, but I’m willing to take that risk at ADP 83.

Over-Valued
Vernon David (SF)Vernon Davis (SF) – Last year Davis was a touchdown machine, tieing a career high 13. Davis had been on the decline for three consecutive years seeing his touchdowns go from 13 in 2009 to seven in 2010 to six and give in 2011 and 2012. Last season Kaepernick was without his primary target, Michael Crabtree , until December, and it took until the playoffs to really get on the same page again. Crabtree, in addition to Steve Johnson being another weapon for Kaepernick, has me thinking Davis will go right back to his disappointing 2012 numbers.

Jason Witten (DAL) – Witten looks like he is on the decline in his career. Last year he had a nice eight touchdowns, but a low in yardage and catches since 2006 have me worried. Not only is Tony Romo’s back a concern, but Dez Bryant is getting more redzone targets and Terrance Williams became a viable threat for the Cowboys. I will not be drafting him at his current ADP of 63.

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About Joe Bond

Not just another "Average Joe" when it comes to Fantasy Sports, he is the fantasy brain trust behind the FantasySixPack.net website. Joe is one of the Experts included in the FantasyPros Consensus Rankings for Football, Baseball and Basketball and finished well each year. You can find him on Twitter, @F6P_Joe, where he is waiting by the keyboard for your question.

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