Monday, August 10, 2015

2015 NFL Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings & Discussion

Time for the Tight Ends. Anybody who knows football knows this position is the most top heavy in the league. You’ve got Rob Gronkowski, and you’ve got Jimmy Graham. Things are going to be a little different for both of these guys though... 

Gronk has to deal with his star QB being suspended for the first four games. While that may hinder his performance early, he’s still the best option they have so he’ll be getting a lot of targets. Graham on the other hand switched teams. He’s leaving a pass happy New Orleans squad with Drew Brees to a run first team with Russell Wilson at the helm. We still fully expect him to put up huge numbers being Wilson’s #1 target, especially in the red zone. Last year’s Super Bowl might have gone differently had they been passing to him. When I sat down with the Fantasy JoneZ team I asked them about the best of the rest. Here’s what they believe…

JoneZ Average
1. Rob Gronkowski
1. Rob Gronkowski
1. Rob Gronkowski
1. Rob Gronkowski
2. Jimmy Graham
2. Jimmy Graham
2. Jimmy Graham
2. Jimmy Graham
3. Travis Kelce
3. Travis Kelce
3. Greg Olsen
3. Travis Kelce
4. Greg Olsen
4. Greg Olsen
4. Travis Kelce
4. Greg Olsen
5. Owen Daniels
5. Martellus Bennett
5. Martellus Bennett
5. Martellus Bennett
6. Martellus Bennett
6. Julius Thomas
6. Zach Ertz
6. Zach Ertz
7. Josh Hill
7. Zach Ertz
7. Jason Witten
7. Jason Witten
8. Delanie Walker
8. Jordan Cameron
8. Delanie Walker
8. Delanie Walker
9. Zach Ertz
9. Jason Witten
9. Jordan Cameron
9. Julius Thomas
10. Jason Witten
10. Antonio Gates
10. Julius Thomas
10. Jordan Cameron
11. Coby Fleener
11. Dwayne Allen
11. Kyle Rudolph
11. Dwayne Allen
12. Larry Donnell
12. Delanie Walker
12. Antonio Gates
12. Owen Daniels
13. Dwayne Allen
13. Owen Daniels
13. Dwayne Allen
13. Josh Hill
14. Heath Miller
14. Larry Donnell
14. Owen Daniels
14. Antonio Gates
15. Austin Seferian-Jenkins
15. Kyle Rudolph
15. Josh Hill
15. Larry Donnell

We’re talking TE’s today gentleman. It’s obvious Gronk and Jimmy Graham are #1 and #2. We’ll get into the strategy on where to draft them, but I want to start out with you guys telling me someone who you like in that next group of players.

Alex – Owen Daniels. He’s Peyton Manning’s new #1 TE target. He’s familiar with head coach Gary Kubiak, and they’ll be running two TE sets since Kubiak said they’ll be run heavy. Peyton Manning threw 15 TD’s to his TE’s last year. 15! 12 of them went to Julius Thomas, but Thomas had less yards than Owen last year who only had four TD’s. I like him as a TD machine in Denver.

Mike – A guy I like, which I think you guys do too, is Travis Kelce. A lot of production last year. A lot of yardage, not so many TD’s. They didn’t throw for many TD’s in Kansas City last year. That should change a little this year. He steadily getting 60, 70, 80 yards a week, throw a TD in there every other week and that’s a real good TE. I think he’s got a chance to be up there, pretty close to Graham. He’s got Jeremy Maclin there now too, which will help. Dwayne Bowe is a bum. Kelce is a young player with a lot of upside.

Mason – I think Greg Olsen. This is the year he makes that leap into the top tier. This is the year he takes over. He gets a lot of target. He’s great in the red zone, and Cam is only getting more accurate. I see double digit TD’s this year.

Mike – Couple that with what I said about Kelvin Benjamin falling off a little this year.

Mason – Yea, Kelvin came to camp out of shape.

Alex – That bodes well for Olsen. He was top 3 in receptions among TE’s last year already.

Mason – This is the year he cements himself with Jimmy Graham and Gronkowski.

Mike – I actually think Graham loses some value going over to Seattle. He doesn’t have Drew Brees anymore. He’s not in Sean Payton’s offense.

Alex – The coach just came out and said he will be blocking 75% of the time.

Mike – Well I don’t buy that at all.

Mason – You think they’re going to trade for Jimmy Graham to have him block like that? That isn’t what he does.

Let’s jump out of the Top 5. If you miss one of those guys, the top five or six on your list. Where do you go TE at that point?

Mason – I wait for Jordan Cameron to come around. We’re talking later in the draft though. If you don’t get one of the top guys you wait to draft one. Once you get down to about #8 you’re looking at a couple point difference a week. You can find a guy on the waiver wire at that point, which I’ll be able to help you with during the season. After Cameron there isn’t much difference at all.

Well, you’ve got Julius Thomas ranked lower than him…

Mason – The thing about Julius Thomas is, he isn’t a football player. This is what a lot of Broncos were saying when he left. He’s not rugged, he can’t take the hits. He was injured a lot. It’s real easy to score on a 2 yard out and scream this is so easy when Peyton Manning is throwing you the ball, but you’re in Jacksonville now.

Mike – You gotta be dirty. This isn’t finesse ball. I’ve got it just like you with the drop off after #5. I’ve got Thomas at #6 because of his athleticism, but he’ll be inconsistent. I look at all the guys from 6-15 and they all look like the same guys to me. I would just wait until late and snag up two of those players. Play match-ups. Take Antonio Gates later because of his suspension, and pair him with a Dwayne Allen. Just like I said on the FANTASY 101 post, don’t follow trends. If the Top 5 get snagged up early, don’t feel like you need to take a TE right then.

Alex – I think it’s actually Top 4. Gronk and Graham probably go in the top two or three rounds then you have a couple rounds after that to grab Kelce or Olsen. After that, like Mike said, get two of them later and play match-ups. I do like Bennett though, I wouldn’t reach for him or Daniels though. Shouldn’t have to either. They’re going from the 8th round and later.

Mike – With Bennett, he doesn’t have Marshall there anymore. We don’t really know if Alshon Jeffery can handle #1 WR attention. We know Bennett is a good player. He’ll have a good season.

When it comes to the Top 2 guys. Alex you said you think they’ll go in the top two or three rounds. What is a good strategy when drafting these two guys. Are they worth drafting that high Mike?

Mike – I’ve never been a draft a TE in the first round kind of guy. If it was anyone it’d be Gronk, but I think you handcuff yourself so much with RB’s and WR’s when you do that. You have to remember, Gronkowski’s had a lot of injuries over his career. He plays so rough and rugged. If he plays 16 games the numbers are going to be outrageous, but will he play 16 games?

Mason – You have to keep in mind Gronk is going to have a back-up QB for the first four games.  You can’t really get much of a gauge of how Week 1 will be like by limited preseason time. Who’s their back up, Jimmy Garoppolo? Point is, if you take Gronk you have to be prepared that the first four weeks may not be what you’d expect.

Mike – So you can’t use a 1st round pick on him right?

Mason – That’s the thing about draft strategy. It depends on your view on TE’s. If you want Jimmy Graham and he’s there in the 2nd round you take him. Changes everything. Maybe not in the first round.

Alex – If you pick early in the 1st round you may be able to get him in the beginning of the 3rd, but Gronk… If it’s a 12 man league or higher, Gronk  is well worth a 1st round pick. I think your strategy then is to wait on a QB. Now you’ll put an emphasis on RB and WR. If you were to take a QB in the 2nd after taking Gronk then you’ll be scrambling to stack backs and receivers. You may not get a RB1.

What if you pick 10th in a 10 Man League and you can get Gronk and Rodgers?

Mike – If you’re to do that then you can basically throw your QB and TE sheets over your shoulder because you’re drafting RB’s and WR’s until the last 2 rounds. You’re going to need to get some steals and hit on a sleeper or two, but that could be fun.  I’ve never drafted that way so I don’t know how well you’d do, but it could be a blast.

Good luck to everyone! I hope this helps with your draft, and you see a successful season. Make sure you SHARE this on FACEBOOK for your fellow players!