Using one — or two — of your final few picks to draft a tight end, if you’re into that kind of thing, lays the groundwork for streaming the position throughout the 2013 fantasy football season.
I’m an advocate of this strategy, as I’ve said 737 times this offseason, so I’d like to offer a guide to streaming tight ends for those willing to give it a shot. I’m going to pen a streaming tight end column every week during the fast-approaching NFL season, offering a guide for how to exploit the best tight end matchups while your opponents stick to one mediocre option, week after week.
This column will be geared for those in traditional leagues; I don’t expect owners in 16-team leagues with 20-man rosters will be able to stream much of anything. All I’m doing here is posting the research I would’ve done on my own, so I’m happy to share it with you, my fellow streamer.
We should never enter a fantasy draft intent on streaming any position (besides defense and kicker); rather, we should keep our degenerate eyes peeled for elite quarterbacks and tight ends who inexplicably fall down the draft board, well below their average draft positions.
If a deal presents itself, seize it. It’s all part of remaining flexible in a game that demands it.
Every player has value at the right price — that’s perhaps the most important thing to remember as you enter the fantasy death chamber of draft day with your hated league mates, those abhorrent scoundrels.
Below I’ve created a little chart showing tight end ADPs and where I’d happily take them in a draft. Think of the second column as my recommended round in which to target each player. This is for standard leagues, though PPR wouldn’t be a whole lot different.
You might notice a certain Gronk is missing from the above table. I’ll add him once we have something resembling a definitive word on his early season availability. Remember though, Gronkowski finished as fantasy’s second highest scoring tight end in only 12 games last season.
His fifth round ADP is something of draft day robbery if he misses New England’s first few games.
- It’s fun and easy and fashionable to make Jermichael Finley jokes, especially this time of year, but I’m buying Finley stock everywhere I can once he dips into the mid-to-late ninth round. I’ve drafted him as late as the 11th round this month. Finley has put on the weight that made him such a maddening mismatch in 2009 and 2010, and he’s caught seven of the eight catchable balls thrown his way this preseason at a clip of 16.1 yards per reception, according to Pro Football Focus. Dismiss him at your own risk.
- Jared Cook has by far the softest schedule of any tight end in the NFL. I’ll get into that more in a couple days. Suffice it to say that Sam Bradford has looked Cook’s way often this summer, in training camp and preseason games. Cook is averaging 17.4 yards per catch on five receptions. I think it’s becoming clear he’s going to be a plug-and-play starter, and I’d draft him with gusto near the end of the ninth round.
- Philip Rivers propensity for dump off passes might serve Antonio Gates well at times this year. He very well could rack up PPR production as the Chargers become garbage time kings of fantasy. His current ADP is a tad nauseating, however, and I wouldn’t consider him an every week starter, no matter where I drafted him.
- Greg Olsen’s stagnant ADP is all at once perplexing and glorious. He’s a bargain in the ninth round, as he’s almost guaranteed 100 targets in an offense that hasn’t changed all that much from 2012, when he was fantasy’s sixth highest scoring tight end.
- I won’t quibble so much with Owen Daniels’ current ADP. The Texans could throw the ball more than we’re used to, with the Houston coaching staff concerned about the offensive line and their dinged-up running back duo of Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Daniels averaged seven targets per game last year, and if Matt Schaub throw somewhere around 580 passes — a distinct possibility — he should crack 100 targets after seeing 98 passes come his way last year. He’s not at all sexy, but very draftable.