It’s time to talk about the big boy receivers, affectionately known as the tight ends. Now normally I might have included the Chiefs Travis Kelce, but we all got a good look at him Thursday; tremendous size and its apparent head coach Andy Reid is going to get him the ball. Kelce could be another Gronk this season. Now here are few names of players that are not like Gronk, but will have fantasy impact.
Fantasy Tight Ends
There’s little conversation going on about Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, at least I am not hearing much, but there should be talk. Last season with first year in Minnesota quarterback Sam Bradford, Rudolph turned in a stat line of 83-840-7. I have to be honest, that was the quietest stat line I remember from last season and it was good enough for the No.3 fantasy tight end. The Vikings biggest problem last season was their O-line and lack of running game; two things they addressed in the offseason. Any improvements in these areas will likely reflect with improvement in the pass game and Rudolph’s numbers. He may not have been drafted top five at his position in your draft, but there’s a good chance he finishes there.
Yes, the Chargers still have the future Hall-of-fame tight end Antonio Gates, but no doubt tight end Hunter Henry is a name on the rise. In his rookie campaign he started 10 games for the Chargers and finished as the league’s No.11 fantasy tight end (standard leagues). His 2016 numbers were touchdown dependent, but this season he should carve out a larger role in the offense and greatly improve on his 19th ranking in PPR last season. He’s a starting TE1 in 12-team leagues (bottom half) for me this season.
With the prospect of quarterback Andrew Luck throwing passes to him again this season, I believe Doyle can pick up right where he left off in 2016. A season ago Doyle finished as the No.13 fantasy tight end (PPR) with 59 receptions, 584 yards receiving, and 5 touchdowns. Doyle is probably going to be slow out of the gate with Luck sidelined the first couple of weeks, but he could be a strong sneaky play in the second half of the season. He’s got great fantasy value coming late off the draft boards.
After two productive seasons in Denver, the Dolphins tight end Julius Thomas has not been very fantasy relevant since; last season in standard leagues he was the 29th ranked fantasy tight end. Thomas arrived in Miami this offseason, enter head coach Adam Gase (Thomas’ old OC in Denver) and new quarterback Jay Cutler. Thomas is a big body tight end the team believes could finish with double figure touchdowns; add the Gase-Cutler factor. In 2015 when these two (Cutler & Gaes) were paired in Chicago, Cutler targeted his tight ends 127 times, for 88 receptions, and 8 touchdowns. Thomas is a sleeper tight end this season, with potential huge upside if he stays healthy!
That’s My Take. ~David Ortega