The tight end position is something akin to catchers in fantasy baseball. It creates a dilemma of whether to reach and lose overall draft value to lock in consistent fantasy production or lock in talent at other positions and hope to hit on a breakout later in the draft.
Just like I did with the Quarterback, Running back, and Wide Receiver position, this article will look at the current ADP for several Tight Ends for the 2017 and whether they are being overvalued or undervalued at the position.
Hunter Henry: Los Angeles Chargers (Overvalued)
Henry had an impressive rookie campaign, and that has caused a hefty asking price to roster him heading into his sophomore season. That price does not match well paired with the unsustainability of his performance last season and the Chargers’ offseason additions.
Volume was not on Henry’s side in 2016, as he finished with just 53 targets, ranking 27th in the league among tight ends. He finished 12th at the position thanks to eight touchdowns on 16 red-zone targets, something that shouldn’t be counted on again this year.
In addition, the Chargers retained Antonio Gates for yet another season. Even if Henry is able to surpass Gates as the starting tight end, the return of Keenan Allen and addition of Mike Williams will only make targets more scarce for Henry. Last year Henry relied on excellent efficiency on the way to his impressive rookie campaign, and as that regresses this season, the volume won’t be there to make up for it.
In the past few weeks, Henry’s ADP has dropped from 7.04 to 7.09 according to fantasyfootballcalculator.com. However, that is not nearly enough of a drop in price to make Henry a viable pick. Look elsewhere to the likes of Zach Ertz or Kyle Rudolph in the middle rounds of drafts this season.
Cameron Brate: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Overvalued)
Brate is a candidate almost too obvious to list. Unlike Henry, Brate’s viability as a fantasy option was directly indicted with Buccaneers first-round pick of O.J. Howard. He also had the poor offseason context of with the additions of DeSean Jackson and Chris Godwin.
Howard may not supplant Brate as the primary tight end target this season, butJameis Winston simply has too many passing options available to make Brate a fantasy option. Unsurprisingly, his ADP has plummeted since the draft, and it should continue to do so.
Eric Ebron: Detroit Lions (Undervalued)
We all know about the narrative that tight ends break out in their third season, and that season has come and gone for Eric Ebron. Apparently, that has caused fantasy owners to give up on him completely with the assumption that there is no upside left. This is reflected in his ADP as he is currently the 20th tight end off the board, behind all three of the top rookies from this year’s class.
When considering the progression that Ebron has made each season of his career, that doesn’t make much sense. Last season, Ebron finished as the 16th tight end in points per game, up from 18th in 2015 and 61st in 2014. Career progression isn’t necessarily linear, but it certainly appears to be for Ebron. His targets have gone up each season of his career, from 49 to 69 to 89 respectively from 2014-2016. Finally, his efficiency has increased from 51% to 68% and 71% over that same time period.
Even if there is no large step forward in those areas, there is upside left as he scored just one touchdown last season. Give that he finished as the 16th best tight end on a point-per-game basis, it’s difficult to imagine things getting worse for Ebron.
Zach Ertz: Philadelphia Eagles (Undervalued)
Young quarterbacks love their tight ends, and that was apparent for Zach Ertz with Carson Wentz at the helm. Ertz finished the season as the fifth most targeted tight end in football. The addition of Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith will almost certainly eat into that, however, even Trey Burton, the Eagles’ second tight end, garnered 60 targets last season. If some of those shift to Ertz, he should maintain much of his target share mark from last season.
A lack of touchdowns has held Ertz back from being an elite tight end, and given the aforementioned offseason additions, that is unlikely to change this year. Given the state of the position, however, there is no reason Ertz cannot finish as a top-10 tight end. As the current ADP dictates, that would only mean pushing him ahead of Cameron Brate, Martellus Bennett, and Hunter Henry. He is currently coming at a two-round discount from that point at his current ADP, which is something that should be taken advantage of.