There are many different challenges in taking on the best of the best in FFPC. There are a couple of rules that differ from many fantasy football formats. There is the 2 flex position option which you could choose to use either RB/WR/TE as well with the 1.5 PPR for tight ends. This makes the tight end position of much bigger importance in this format. This position can’t be forgotten in this format as it can have a significant impact on your chances of taking home the big money. I am going to take a look at some strategies on how to handle the tight end position in the FFPC.
The biggest question to start where does a guy like Jimmy Graham go in the draft because at this point he is the clear cut number #1 option at the tight end position. It appears very likely that he could be a mid-first round pick in quite a few drafts. I would still like to avoid going that direction as there are some sleepers in the later rounds that I will like. With the injury to Rob Gronkowski, Graham will be the clear cut leader in TD’s for the tight ends but you should be looking for guys who can rack up the receptions in this format. While everything does change year to year with coaches and players, there were 6 tight ends in the Top 30 in receptions last season which should not be ignored. This is a big awakening to me in how to handle tight ends in my upcoming FFPC draft.
While a guy like Jason Witten has always been someone I usually pass on, you can’t ignore the 111 catches that he hauled in last season. There is not much that has changed with Dallas this season so seeing Witten hitting those receptions this year is not that unlikely. Witten and Tony Gonzalez are likely to be 3rd round picks in most FFPC leagues. I think the position is really deep this season with plenty of candidates to emerge as sleepers so I will not be going that early on my tight ends but it is a position to address earlier than you would in most drafts. It is not a league where you just draft one and if things don’t work out you can just pluck them off the waiver wire as the season goes. With the ability to use them in the 2 flex spots, there is no reason why taking 3 of them is not a bad idea. My target for them would be taking them around the 6th, 11th and 17th. The third tight end is optional depending on what you feel is left on the draft board and what you have already picked up.
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Here is a list some of my sleeper tight ends:
Jordan Cameron – Norv Turner and Rod Chudzinski have always had success with tight ends in their offense with the like Antonio Gates, Kellen Winslow and Greg Olsen just name a few. Cameron will be climbing draft boards with his early pre-season success.
Rob Housler – Carson Palmer does not challenge downfield as much and fell in love with Brandon Myers last year on that short little dump off. Arizona will struggle to run the ball and with Bruce Arians as the new coach will throw the ball a ton this season.
Brandon Pettigrew - Matt Stafford has very other options at the wide receiver positions not named Calvin Johnson. Pettigrew has struggled with drops at times but also was dealing with some injuries last season. No team threw more than the Lions last season and I don’t expect things to change all that much this season.
Zach Sudfield – With the uncertainty of Rob Gronkowski and the off field issues of Aaron Hernandez, this could be the starting tight end for the first 6 weeks of the season for New England. Sudfield is highly skilled and could even be involved after Gronk returns with the unproven young wide receivers.
David Ausberry- the Oakland Raiders are on the worst teams in football but will have to throw a ton. Matt Flynn lacks the arm strength to throw the ball downfield and Ausberry is a huge athletic target. He did suffer a shoulder injury which could be significant in the pre-season game vs. the Saints so his status needs to be monitored.
If you are participating any of the FFPC drafts, it would not be wise move to ignore the tight end position as if you pick the right guys like Brandon Myers, Heath Miller and Jermaine Gresham of 2012 you could get some real surprises to help you win your share of the prize money. This format requires a quality contributor from the tight end position otherwise you will playing from a short-handed position.