At the start of the season there was tremendous love for Jimmy Graham as he rarely fell out of the top-20 in any draft. After that there were a handful of vets – guys like Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten, Vernon Davis and Rob Gronkowski – that many folks targeted at the tight end position. After that it was a rough free for all amongst proven but boring guys and youngster with a lot of talent as people often tried to fill the tight end position in the middle rounds. Through six weeks of the NFL season who were we right on at tight end and who did we miss on? I'll discuss that plus I'll throw out some observations from Week 6 as I take a look around the tight end position.
ADP Numbers – Were We Right?
Here are some ADP numbers from The National Fantasy Football Championship (12 team, PPR setup --- 99 drafts surveyed). How have the players performed relative to their draft day cost?
|#1||Jimmy Graham (TE, NO)||17.33|
|#2||Rob Gronkowski (TE, NE)||46.47|
|#3||Jason Witten (TE, Dal)||52.96|
|#4||Tony Gonzalez (TE, Atl)||62.98|
|#5||Vernon Davis (TE, SF)||74.33|
|#6||Greg Olsen (TE, Car)||98.14|
|#7||Jermichael Finley (TE, GB)||100.89|
|#8||Aaron Hernandez (TE, NE)||106.42|
|#9||Kyle Rudolph (TE, Min)||108.65|
|#10||Jared Cook (TE, StL)||108.66|
|#11||Antonio Gates (TE, SD)||119.77|
|#12||Brandon Myers (TE, NYG)||126.17|
|#13||Owen Daniels (TE, Hou)||126.63|
|#14||Martellus Bennett (TE, Chi)||130.52|
|#15||Brandon Pettigrew (TE, Det)||132.28|
|#16||Jordan Cameron (TE, Cle)||134.28|
|#17||Jermaine Gresham (TE, Cin)||150.47|
|#18||Dennis Pitta (TE, Bal)||155.69|
|#19||Fred Davis (TE, Was)||156.55|
|#20||Rob Housler (TE, Ari)||163.38|
|#21||Dustin Keller (TE, Mia)||164.77|
|#22||Coby Fleener (TE, Ind)||174.4|
|#23||Tyler Eifert (TE, Cin)||187.38|
|#24||Heath Miller (TE, Pit)||190.59|
|#25||Dwayne Allen (TE, Ind)||193.88|
|#31||Julius Thomas (TE, Den)||266.97|
|#45||Dallas Clark (TE, Bal)||334.99|
|#46||Garrett Graham (TE, Hou)||337.87|
|#47||Charles Clay (TE, Mia)||340.32|
|#60||Jordan Reed (TE, Was)||368.91|
Jimmy Graham leads the position in fantasy points, but after tying an NFL record with 4-straight 100 yard games as a tight end he was held without a reception in Week 6. Truly shocking. His lack of points in Week 6 cost people weekly matchups, no way around that fact. He injured his foot in Week 6, so keep an eye on reports.
Vernon Davis had a historically good game on his way to a whopping 38 points in a PPR setup. Davis, the only option than Colin Kapernick really seems to have a connection with anymore, caught eight balls for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He had 171 receiving yards in the first half, the most since Andre Johnson went for 184 yards in a game in 2009. He's pretty much a top-5 option every week.
Greg Olsen had a great matchup with the Vikings, a defense that had allowed the most touchdowns to the tight end coming into Week 6. Dealing with an ankle issue, Olsen was held to a mere two receptions for 19 yards as he failed to separate from defenders. He's right outside of the top-10 at the position in points, but there's plenty of time for him to reach his ADP level.
Jermichael Finley was having an awful game in Week 6 until a late 50+ yard play allowed him to end the game with three receptions for 75 yards. Shockingly, sarcasm included, he's failed to live up to his draft day cost as he's barely inside the top-15 at the position. With James Jones and Randall Cobb dealing with injury though, it would be a surprise if Finely doesn't pick up his production at least in the short-term.
Kyle Rudolph has been one of the biggest disappointments at the position. He had a Bye in Week 5, but through four games he had totaled 28.3 fantasy points (PPR). He had been held to two or three receptions in three of four games, and he had only gone for 30 yards once (42 yards in Week 2). So of course you dumped him to the waiver-wire, or at the very least didn't have him active in Week 6, right? As it usually goes, that's just when he decided to remind everyone why he was drafted as a TE1 this season. Rudolph caught his second TD of the season in the effort among his nine receptions that went for 97 yards. He produced 24.7 points in Week 6 nearly matching his point total from his first four games. There's no way you can trust him, and it's hard to know what will happen moving forward given that it seems likely that Josh Freeman might be under center for the Vikings next game.
Jared Cook has been a disappointment. After a huge Week 1 effort (7-141-2), Cook has failed to record 10 fantasy points in any game (he was at 33.1 in Week 1). He hauled in only two passes for 45 yards in Week 6 and had to suffer the indignity of having fellow tight ends Lance Kendricks and Corey Harkey score in Week 6. I mean, seriously Rams? Come on Sam Bradford. You gotta do better than that. Cook's still a TE1 option, but he's been disappointing.
Brandon Myers has seen his point totals tumble into a free-fall. Check it: 19.6, 13.4, 6.2, zero, 5.50 and zero. He cannot be started in any league at the moment as he's no even in the top-20 in fantasy points at the position.
Martellus Bennett has played six games and only once has he failed to record 10 points. He's also caught at least five passes in four of his last five outings, an over the last three weeks he's averaged six receptions for 71 yards. That obviously plays every week, but after scoring three times in his first two games he's been held out of the end zone since.
Jordan Cameron is a beast, and depending on when you had your draft you very easily could have drafted him well outside the top-10 at the position as the ADP information shows above. He's been everything that was advertised, and then some to be honest. Averaging a whopping 19 points a week, he's gone for 14 or more points in four of six games (in five of six games he's gone for at least 64 yards, and he's caught at least five balls in five of six games as well). He had a 'down” effort in Week 6 and went for five and 64. Do that over 16 games and you have 80 receptions for 1,024 yards... and Week 6 was a “down” effort, that's how good he has been. He's a top-5 option ever week.
Heath Miller started out slowly, predictably coming back from his knee injury, but he's picked up the pace of late. The last two weeks he's hauled in six passes in both games, seen 15 targets, and gone for 154 yards. He still yet to get into the end zone in three games, but that will come. He's a nice security blanket for Big Ben and his return has eaten into the targets of Emmanuel Sanders.
Julius Thomas have a season. If he were to break his leg in the next games he would still be looked at as an unequivocal success. Thomas wasn't even drafted in a ton of leagues this season but he announced his presence with authority in Week 1 as he caught five balls for 110 yards and two scores. He's barely slowed since. A weekly threat to score, and there's no hyperbole there, the athletic tight end from Portland State has scored seven times in six games, the most scores of any tight end in football. In fact, the only player in football who has scored more is teammate Wes Welker who has scored eight times. One down note for Thomas... though he has two 100-yard games on the year the other four times he's taken the field he's failed to get even 50 yards.
Dallas Clark is old, slow, and has shown a disturbing propensity to drop passes that are right in his mitts. Still, the Ravens really don't have many pass catching options so there seems to be a role for Clark every week. The last three games he's had 22 passes thrown his way, hauled in four balls in each of the games, and averaged 54 yards a game. Wait, that's not quite right. Those are the last three games that he's caught a pass since he didn't haul in one ball in Week 1. He also had that Week 2 effort in which he caught one ball for eight yards. He's a Bye week an injury fill-in since he's very hard to trust week-to-week.
Garrett Graham had been running as the Texans second fiddle at tight end to Owen Daniels. With Daniels out 4-5 weeks with a leg injury, Graham was the hot waiver-wire add of last week at the tight end position. Made sense too since Matt Schaub loves to dump off to his tight ends, especially near the goaline. It also made sense since Graham had seen at least five targets in four of five games with Daniels on the field. So what happened when Graham was unleashed in Week 6? He had four targets, caught two balls and went for 25 yards. Ugh. Don't give up on him, there should still be positive vibes with Graham, but this was an awfully disappointing outing.
Charles Clay is a top-10 tight end in PPR right now. Top-10. In his five games he saw at least six targets each time out as he's functioned as Ryan Tannehill's security blanket. He's caught 23 balls in five games putting him on pace for 74 receptions (pretty impressive for a guy who wasn't drafted in any leagues wouldn't you say?). He's also scored in his last two trips to the field. Not an elite option by any means but solid as solid does.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Thursday at 7 PM EDT & Friday's at 9 PM EDT. For more of Ray's analysis you can check out BaseballGuys.com or the BaseballGuys' Twitter account where he tirelessly answers everyone's questions.
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