2015 Fantasy Football Tight End Preseason Rankings
Who can't wait for fantasy football? This guy! The fantasy football season isn't here yet, but it's getting close. When developing your draft strategy don't forget about creating a plan to draft a top-tier tight end. You can normally only start one tight end in your lineup, so make sure you draft a player that will average double digit fantasy points. I learned the hard way by drafting Vernon Davis two seasons ago. I had weeks where I received a big fat goose egg for points. Last season I was lucky and drafted Greg Olsen. Playing fantasy football is like Forest Gump’s famous saying, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” It’s true because you never know how well the player will perform or if they will get hurt. I recommend drafting two quality tight ends for your fantasy team. This year there is a lot of talent at the position, so don't mess it up with a poor draft strategy.
Who are my top five fantasy football tight ends?
1. Rob Gronkowsi – Gronk smash! Rob Gronkowski is the number one tight end in the NFL. I have looked at several preseason fantasy football rankings and everyone has Gronkowski listed as the number one tight end in the league. Gronk had the most yards (1124), touchdowns (12), and targets (130) for tight ends last season. The Patriots number one receiver is Rob Gronkowski because Tom Brady doesn't have any other offensive weapons. Is he really going to throw to Brandon LaFell in the red zone? I don't think so.
2. Greg Olsen – This spot is normally reserved for Jimmy Graham, but he was traded to the run-heavy Seattle Seahawks. Greg Olsen is one of the most underrated players in the NFL. When he is off the field his name isn't mentioned, but when he's on the field you hear his name, and touchdown yelled simultaneously. Greg Olsen finished last season with 131 fantasy points, and that was ranked fourth overall for fantasy tight ends. Olsen was targeted a total of 122 times, and 23 of those were in the red zone. Cam Newton and Olsen have great chemistry, and is one of Newton's favorite targets. As the Panthers' offense improves, so should Olsen's numbers.
3. Martellus Bennett – This was a hard pick for me because Jay Cutler is his quarterback. Cutler threw 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 2014. John Fox is the new head coach of the Chicago Bears and I just wonder how long he will put up with Cutler's bad habits. This reminds of the Jake Delhomme situation. Regardless of the quarterback I think Bennett will have another big season. Martellus Bennett was the second most targeted tight end in the league last season with 129 targets, second only to Rob Gronkowski who had 130 targets. Bennett finished the 2014 season with 916 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Bennett was targeted 32 times in the red zone which means that his touchdown numbers should increase next season.
4. Antonio Gates – Antonio Gates was 33 years old last season but still performed at a high level. Gates was tied for first in touchdowns (12) with Gronkowski and Julius Thomas in 2014. This was the first time since he reached double digit scores since 2010. Do I see this happening again in 2015? Yes I do, because as of right now Phillip Rivers is the quarterback, and Gates is his go to guy. He led the San Diego Chargers with 99 targets and 12 touchdowns in 2014.
5. Coby Fleener – Yes I have Coby Fleener ranked as my number five fantasy tight end. This is risky because of his health, and fellow tight end Dwayne Allen. But I think Fleener is worth the risk. Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener have a strong relationship that goes all the way back to Stanford. Fleener is the starting tight end and is an important part of the Indianapolis Colts offense. Yes Fleener may seem lost at times but he still finished the 2014 season with 774 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns. If he stays healthy, this could be a big year for Fleener.
Bust: Jimmy Graham
Jimmy Graham is still one of the best tight ends and one of the most athletic players in the league. But do not draft a player only because of his name. Graham was traded to the Seattle Seahawks who rely heavily on the run and play-action passing. I think Head Coach Pete Carroll learned his lesson from the big Super Bowl fail, and Marshawn Lynch should get the majority of touches in the red zone. The Seahawks are a run first and pass second team. Because of this their starting tight Luke Willson only had 40 targets last season. Willson finished the year with only 22 receptions for 362 receiving yards, and three touchdowns. Do I see Jimmy Graham’s numbers being this low? No. But don’t expect Graham to average 10 points every week.
Sleeper: Eric Ebron
Eric Ebron was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Coming out of college he was seen as an outstanding athlete and was often compared to Vernon Davis. Ebron didn’t have a lot of production in his first season or seem to impact plays. But this is his second season and he now has a year under his belt. He should feel more comfortable with the system and now have chemistry with starting quarterback Matthew Stafford. Eric Ebron should be open more often because the defense already has to worry about Megatron and Golden Tate. He could possibly be a threat in the red zone and get more looks this coming season.
Who are you going to draft this season?
By, Justin Raymond
Follow Me On Twitter @JayRay19