Maybe pulling the trigger on Jordan Reed
or Travis Kelce in Round 4 isn't such a good idea.
I once won a fantasy league with Jim Kleinsasser as my tight
end. It was 2003.
Your most immediate reaction should be, “who?”
He was a completely forgettable tight end who played 13 almost-invisible
seasons for the Minnesota Vikings from 1999-2011. (Truth in journalism,
I did catch Kleinsasser’s “career” year –
What it means, however, is that a dominant tight end isn’t
needed to win your fantasy league. That should come in handy this
season, because in 2017, there are no dominant tight ends.
A few years ago, the tight end position had two fantasy studs
almost in a class by themselves, but if you check last season’s
tight end production, shown below in fantasy points per game from
2011-16, it should tell you all you need to know about drafting
tight ends in 2017.
Gronkowski hasn’t played a full season since 2011. Last
season he produced the lowest yards-per-game since his rookie
season (67.5 ypg) and posted just three touchdowns – a career-low.
A guy who averaged 68-1002-11 from 2011-2015 posted 25-540-3 in
OK, he only played eight games last year you say. Take this. His
yard per game production was down 14% per game from his previous
five-year average and his per game TD production dropped 52%.
Is it possible the wear and tear of seven seasons is starting
to catch up with him?
Some would argue that Martellus Bennett stole some of Gronk’s
thunder last season and now that Bennett has signed with Green
Bay, Gronkowski will return to his previous production levels,
but I’m not sold on that. The Patriots already replaced
Bennett by acquiring Dwayne Allen from the Indianapolis Colts.
Allen has been pretty good around the goal line (15 TDs last three
seasons) although he was clearly beaten out by Jack Doyle last
And then there is his off-the-field lifestyle.
As he put it in his own book, “It’s Good To Be Gronk,”
– “The good thing about the way me and my brothers
party is that we don't sit on our butts or just stand around with
drinks in our hands. We go hard! We don't do drugs; we don't need
to. We have so much energy and are so fired up just to party among
ourselves that whether there is alcohol or not, we jump at the
chance to get wild.”
Perhaps with all his success, fame and fortune he’s lost
that “edge.” It doesn’t take much to drop from
All-World to very good.
Meanwhile, Graham simply hasn’t been the same player since
he was traded to Seattle. The Seahawks don’t need him to
dominate downfield with Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Tyler Lockett at wideout. The former Miami Hurricanes tight end has
been targeted just 6.26 times per game in two seasons with Seattle
after seeing 8.75 targets from Drew Brees in New Orleans.
Further, over those same two seasons, Graham has caught only five
“red zone” touchdowns on 30 targets whereas in just
his final season in New Orleans he caught nine “red zone”
touchdowns on 23 targets.
In all, 13 tight ends, from “Gronk” at the top (9.0
FPts/G) to Bennett at No. 13 (7.1) averaged within two points
of each other.
That variance is similar to the difference between placekickers
(Matt Bryant 9.9 FPts/G to Adam Vinatieri 7.8 FPts/G) and you
never bother to pick a kicker until the last two rounds do you?
Why would you want to spend, what Fantasyfootballcalculator tells
us, must be a second-round pick on Gronkowski (ADP 22.2)? You
could just as easily use an end-of-the-fourth round selection
on Jordan Reed (44.8) or a seventh rounder on second-year tight
end Hunter Henry (86.8). Heck, if you are a real gambler take
talented Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ rookie O.J. Howard in the
ninth round (111.6). He’ll supplant Cameron Brate (57-660-8)
and likely produce similar numbers.
It would seem to me that it’s much more important for fantasy
owners to lock in their running back, quarterback and wide receivers
where the variances are far greater.