We all know the names of Gonzalez, Witten and Gates, and you can make an argument to put Clark in this elite group also. But these 4 will require a 3rd or 4th round pick. How can you draft a solid, consistent producer at Tight End and wait until you get good value for him? In our Fantasy Football Sleepers series, we tackle Tight Ends next.
Chase Coffman caught 90 balls for almost 1,000 yards last year as a senior for Missouri. Those are huge numbers for any TE in college football, and going to Cincinnati means he can contribute immediately for a team without any solid offensive TE. Carson Palmer is healthy after being injured last season, and the Bengals have the 5th easiest schedule for Tight Ends. Their offensive line is not the greatest, and their backfield is not what you would call stellar, so look for a lot of dump-offs and a few red zone targets. I am looking for 53 catches, 590 yards and 5 scores. This is a guy you can draft extremely late, possibly the last round, and get mid-round value out of.
With a healthy Darren McFadden back at RB, and their inability to throw the ball down the field, Oakland will be able to feed Zach Miller the ball in Red Zone situations where the line will be stacked to stop the run. Miller had only one TD last year, but has averaged 600 yards and 50 catches the past 2 seasons. His Red Zone production should improve to 5 or 6 TDs this year, as Oakland is facing the easiest schedule in the league for Tight Ends. You know they will be trailing a lot this year, and their defensive backfield will give them several short field situations, with CB Nnamdi Asomugha and others picking the ball on D. For these two reasons, I think the short to middle pass will be a staple this year for them, and an area for Miller to shine.
If you are looking for 900 yards and 8 TDs from your TE, you have got to take one of the elite 3 or 4 guys in round 3 or 4. And if you feel comfortable drafting a less than 100% Dallas Clark or Antonio Gates, be my guest. But I just really hate spending that kind of money on a TE when you can lose only 2 fantasy points a game by taking someone in the 8th round or later. You more than make up for the difference with the RB, WR or QB differential by using that 3rd round pick at one of these 3 skill positions instead.
Patrick O’Neill is a Published Writer, 18 yr Fantasy Football Veteran, and Network Marketing Leader.