2016 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends 1.0

The tight end position is evolving immensley in recent years, especially for Fantasy Football owners. If you don’t have a viable pass catcher lining up on your offensive line, you’re behind the curve in today’s NFL.

The prototypical #1 tight end in the league today causes absurd matchup problems for opposing defenses. They are too fast for most linebackers and too tall for most safeties to cover. After some movement in the offseason, let’s take a look at the landscape and how you should prioritize the position in your upcoming draft. The fact a tight end is on this year’s Madden cover is more than enough evidence you should take it seriously.

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 7.25.23 PM

The #1 may be an obvious choice, but there are plenty of big bad weapons who can be big difference makers for your fantasy team this Fall.

 

1. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.36.23 PM

Over 6 seasons in the league, Rob Gronkowski has taken the position that Tony Gonzalez redefined and elevated it for all to stare in awe. In the 5 seasons Gronk played near full schedules and mostly healthy, he scored 10+ touchdowns. He has 65 total over his career and that’s almost 30 more than Gonzalez did (37) at this point. For more perspective, Antonio Brown has played as many seasons and 9 more games and only has 38 touchdowns.

2. Jordan Reed, Washington

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.38.37 PM

If you were wondering why Kirk Cousins was so hot in different stretches last season, look no further than Jordan Reed. Over two separate 3-game spans (Weeks 5-7 & Week 11-13), Reed caught 5 touchdowns. 10 touchdowns in 6 games isn’t just a flash but potential for powerhouse status. As Cousins looks capitalize during his franchise-tenured season, expect him to do so with Reed in the end zone.

3. Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.40.26 PM

Since joining the Titans in 2013, Delanie Walker has become more and more trusted as an offensive weapon. At the of 31, Walker led all tight ends in targets (133) and receptions (94) over 15 games for 1,088 yards and 6 touchdowns. It may be hard to expect that kind of production in his 11th season, but he is the go-to guy for budding sophomore star Marcus Mariota.

4. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.37.58 PM

While the touchdown numbers weren’t particularly gaudy, Greg Olsen enjoyed one of his best seasons playing pitch and catch with Cam Newton in 2015. Olsen accomplished career highs in targets (124) and yardage (1,104) with 77 catches and 6 touchdowns. With Kelvin Benjamin returning to the reigning NFC Champs, Olsen should get even more open in the red zone as attention should float the WR’s way.

5. Gary Barnidge, Cleveland Browns

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.41.33 PM

Gary Barnidge was one of my favorite story’s in the NFL last season. He caught exactly as many passes (79) as times he was targeted over the previous 5 seasons. Add 1,043 yards and 9 touchdowns, and the lowly Browns find themselves a Pro Bowl diamond in the rough. The Browns are obviously committed to the soon-to-be 31-year-old tight end, as they extended him for 3 years last December. He has strong chemistry with Josh McCown, could be key in Robert Griffin III’s comeback, and has a new head coach (Hue Jackson) who loves throwing to the tight end in the end zone (see Tyler Eifert next).

6. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.42.22 PM

Tyler Eifert was a monster in the red zone in 2015, scoring 13 touchdowns in 13 games. He had a huge 3rd season, recording 4 multi-touchdown games and being named to his first Pro Bowl. Unfortunately, Eifert left the Pro Bowl with an ankle injury that he had to get surgery for at the end of May. The risk in drafting Eifert is to anticipate that he’ll miss the start of the season and could be fragile, having missed his entire sophomore season to injury. Plan to have a solid backup ready to draft a few rounds later or handcuff Eifert to high-ceiling Bengals prospect C.J. Uzomah.

7. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.45.18 PM

Travis Kelce touchdown dances are a thing of sports entertainment beauty. Although he was named for his first Pro Bowl in 2015, he didn’t find the end zone enough to do more than 5 dances. Kelce has Gronkowski’s measurables (nearly the same height and weight) and is as athletic as anyone. After promoting former Vikings head coach Brad Childress to offensive coordinator, the Chiefs would be smart to further utilize Kelce’s size and athleticism.

8. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.46.02 PM

As former Chiefs OC Doug Pederson takes over as HC in Philadelphia, Zach Ertz may be his most reliable receiving weapon. While the Eagles work on developing 2nd overall pick Carson Wentz, Sam Bradford will be managing the offense again and should be depending heavily on Ertz to get down the field. In his final 4 games of the 2015 season, Ertz averaged 8.75 catches and 112.5 yards for momentum going into this year.

9. Ladarius Green, Pittsburgh Steelers

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.51.33 PM

Chargers fans (and some Fantasy experts) wished, hoped and waited for Ladarius Green to become the heir apparent to Antonio Gates. During Gates’ 4-game suspension to start 2015, Green caught 19 passes for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was serviceable, but not wowing. Signing with Pittsburgh may have been the biggest boost to his potential, as Ben Roethlisberger will be looking to fill the void that always-reliable Heath Miller leaves. Expect him to be targeted plenty with Antonio Brown demanding double-coverage and Martavis Bryant serving a year-long suspension.

10. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.53.20 PM

Antonio Gates awarded those who stashed him after their 2015 Fantasy drafts with 9 catches and 90+ yards in back-to-back games, plus 2 touchdowns, following his suspension. The Chargers offense was plagued terribly by injuries though after that point and nobody after Danny Woodhead could manage to produce much. The Chargers are very committed to Gates after giving him a 2-year deal this past Spring. At 36-years old, he’s still as dangerous a red zone weapon as anyone in the high-octane, pass-happy Chargers offense. Better drafted as a late TE1/early-backup but the 12 touchdowns he recorded in 2014 aren’t out of the question in 2016.

11. Zach Miller, Chicago Bears

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.55.40 PM

Like Gary Barnidge, Zach Miller was another feel good story last season…maybe even more so. He’s been in the league since 2009, but only has 4 official seasons in that span. Miller is an impressive athlete. He converted from playing quarterback after his college career ended at Nebraska-Omaha and impressed scouts enough to be drafted in the 6th round by Jacksonville. Unfortunately, injuries have kept him off the field, and out of the league at times, until the Bears gave him a shot in 2015…

Miller broke out after his brilliant one-handed touchdown catch in San Diego and followed it up with a 5 catch, 107 yard and 2 touchdown performance in St Louis (*skypoint St. Louis professional football*). He also became Jay Cutler’s most trusted target as his starting receivers fell further and further back in the depth chart. If he stays healthy and the Jeffery/White combo stretches out defenses, Miller could be a solid producer in 2016.

12. Coby Fleener, New Orleans Saints

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.56.31 PM

Coby Fleener showed a lot of promise in 2014, scoring 8 touchdowns on top of 774 yards off 54 catches. He didn’t overcome the adversity at the quarterback position in 2015, taking steps back in all statistical categories. Joining Drew Brees in New Orleans could be the best thing for the fast and athletic tight end. Sean Payton’s pass-happy offense raises the ceiling on Fleener’s potential for targets and yardage.

13. Julius Thomas, Jacksonville Jaguars

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.57.29 PM

After scoring 12 touchdowns in each of the 2 seasons prior, 2015 was a bit of a letdown for Julius Thomas. Battling injuries and getting used to a new team, Thomas caught just 46 passes for 455 yards and 5 touchdowns in 12 games. Thomas has never played an entire season, but his body of work shows he can get into the end zone. As #BorttlesKombat improves in his young career, so should his chemistry with Thomas.

14. Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.58.35 PM

Which Jimmy Graham should fantasy players expect to see in 2016? The one that recorded 10+ touchdowns in 3 of the previous 4 years before joining Seattle, and 2 seasons of 1,200+ yards…or the one who disappeared from stat columns, scoring just 2 touchdowns in 11 games? Hopefully another offseason practicing me with Russell Wilson will help remind Graham of the force he used to be.

15. Austin Serafin-JenkinsScreen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.59.32 PM

Austin Serafin-Jenkins has the size and athleticism of red zone monster, but he needs to stay healthy for more than half the season to show it. The 2 touchdowns he scored in the last 3 games of the season were a glimpse at his potential. Hopefully Jameis Winston can unlock more of it in 2016.

16. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 1.01.06 PM

When Norv Turner joined the Vikings staff 2 seasons ago, the hope was that Kyle Rudolph’s numbers would just explode because of the OC’s success with other tight end’s like Antonio Gates and Jordan Cameron. That hasn’t been the case yet, as Rudolph only scored 7 touchdowns in that span. The Vikings bolstered their offensive line and added arguably the best wide receiver in the draft which should improve Rudolph’s opportunities in 2016.

17. Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 2.48.11 PM

Like Fleener, Dwayne Allen’s numbers were victim to turmoil under center for the Colts and health as well. He went from scoring 8 touchdowns in 2014 to only 1 a season ago. The Colts are all in on Andrew Luck, after extending him for 6 years and $140 million, and that means they expect more seasons like 2014…which should bode well for Allen.

18. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 1.03.23 PM

Calvin Johnson’s retirement means more opportunities for the rest of the Lions offense to step up, and that includes Eric Ebron. Ebron was targeted 7+ times in just 3 games while still improving on all his numbers in his sophomore season. If the Lions are going to improve on the offensive momentum they had from Week 7 and beyond in 2015, they will want to utilize their uber-athletic tight end.

19. Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 1.05.28 PM

The Patriots got a lot more dangerous in the red zone by adding Martellus Bennett. He can block, jump, catch and weird you out in any given interview. Bennett proved he has Pro Bowl potential, catching 90 passes for 916 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2014, but wore out his welcome in Chicago by complaining about his contract situation (with 2 years left on it) and dropping too many key balls.

Bennett should be a heck of a weapon in 2 TE situations and backing up Gronk. Hopefully Belichick doesn’t get sick of him.

20. Jared Cook, Green Bay Packers

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 1.06.22 PM

If Richard Rodgers could catch 8 touchdowns with Aaron Rodgers throwing in 2015, imagine what Jared Cook’s ceiling could be in Green Bay…

21. Jordan Cameron, Miami Dolphins

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 1.08.26 PM

Jordan Cameron should like new head coach Adam Gase’s offense, which is aggressively dependent on play-action and using the tight end. Gase’s offense helped Julius Thomas score 24 touchdowns in 2 years and brought Zach Miller’s career to life after the age of 30.

22. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 1.09.04 PM

Jason Witten could be more valuable than where he is ranked here, but that’s dependent on both he and Tony Romo staying healthy. Even with Brandon Weedon in the mix at quarterback, Witten’s targets were up from 90 to 104 in 2015. Most of the Cowboys’ offensive optimism is based on the success of 1st round draft pick RB Ezekiel Elliott and how he’ll open the offense for everyone. That logic makes Witten worth a late round flyer, plus the lack of competition and Gavin Escobar returning from an achilles injury.

23. Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 1.09.39 PM

If Coby Fleener does his disappearing act, as he’s been known to do, Drew Brees has a soft landing spot in Benjamin Watson. The 6 touchdowns Watson caught last season tied the most of his 12-year career, but he also recorded career highs in targets (110), receptions (74), and yards (825).

24. Charles Clay, Buffalo Bills

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 1.11.16 PM

Charles Clay’s numbers have been sliding since his 2013 breakout, notably after leaving Miami for Buffalo. There was some promise shown in Clay’s first quarter of the season, and hopefully a healthier and more experience Tyrod Taylor can help that in 2016.

25. Clive Walford, Oakland Raiders

Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 1.11.59 PM

The Raiders offense is on its way toward juggernaut status with a great offensive line, a star quarterback, an extremely athletic running back and a pair of top-end wide receiver. Enter potential Year 2 Tight End breakout Clive Walford. His targets rose in the 2nd half of his rookie season and he should see plenty more as Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree command attention in 2016.

More Position Rankings:

Running Backs (2.0)

Quarterbacks (2.0)

Wide Receivers (2.0)

Follow for more and ask questions on Facebook and Twitter

Advertisements

All The Super Bowl 50 Storylines, So Far…

Conference Championship Sunday featured the #1 seeds from both the AFC and NFC showing exactly how they got to where they are now. The Broncos defense beat the crap of Tom Brady, hitting him more than any other quarterback was all season, and their quarterback did enough to pull off the win. While the Panthers were also stellar on defense, their offense continued to shred another opposing top defense. Cam Newton became the 3rd quarterback to rush for 2 touchdowns and throw 2 as well in the playoffs (after Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick).

For the next two weeks, we’re going to wait way too long for what can be very good game…or an absolute blowout (I believe it will be the former). What you can expect is a plethora of storylines because both these teams aren’t lacking at all for them. You may get a new one every 12 hours until kickoff.

Here are ALL the storylines I could think of so far.

 

1. Cam’s Arrival

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 12.03.02 PM

Cam Newton has fun. After yesterday’s 49-15 decimation of the Arizona Cardinals, Newton had compiled 50 total touchdowns for 2015-16 (regular season and post season combined). Newton has a patented pointing mechanic on first downs, dances after touchdowns, and hands the ball to a kid in the stands when he’s done. You may not like it, but you’re going to have to get used to it. The league has become his video game and everyone else looks like they’re on “Easy Mode” for him.

Newton came into the league as a Heisman Trophy winner with a bad rap. He was arrested at Florida for stealing a laptop. His time at Auburn was scrutinized due to an investigation into his recruitment, which the NCAA came away with nothing. He was still drafted #1 overall and now has a chance to win a Super Bowl after 5 seasons, very likely with an MVP trophy on his mantle as well. What’s scary is that he’s done it without his #1 receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, all season.

Football fans without a stick up their asses are loving it. Others will choose to be miserable, and you’ll hear plenty from them for the next 2 weeks.

Some people just can’t have nice things, and that’s fine. Newton fans, on the other hand, can keep enjoying the best player in the league right now. In his last 10 games, Newton has scored 31 touchdowns (24 passing, 7 rushing). Who else from Newton’s “generation” comes even close to his level of play? Maybe Russell Wilson, but that’s it.

2. Peyton’s Last Stand

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 12.05.03 PM

Of the 4 quarterbacks facing off on Championship Sunday, Peyton Manning had the most on the line in terms of legacy. A win would help change his narrative that he’s just the best “regular season” quarterback. Now he’s won more games against 4-time champion Tom Brady than lost (3-2), and could join an elite group of only 11 quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl rings.

While the Broncos didn’t necessarily win because of Manning (we’ll get to that in a minute), they weren’t going to lose because of him either. When the running game couldn’t get going, Manning made key 3rd down conversions with both his arm and even his legs.

Manning run

When Peyton Manning is successfully running boot plays on your defense, you might not deserve to go to the Super Bowl. In his 4th trip, Manning can do something that the president of the Denver Broncos, John Elway, accomplished before retiring…go out on top.

3. Defense Wins Championships

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 12.07.39 PM

Super Bowl 50 is going to feature the league’s 2 best defenses who clearly proved that on Championship Sunday. The Broncos halted the #1 passing team in the NFL (New England) and the Panthers did the same with the #2 passing team (Arizona).

As mentioned earlier, the Broncos defense just manhandled Tom Brady and Von Miller led the way with 2.5 sacks and an interception. Miller’s presence was the certainly felt but so Derek Wolfe and DeMarcus Ware’s, only allowing Brady to finish 7/23 for 73 yards and a passer rating of 37.0 when pressured. The most impressive part of the Broncos defense dominating a fully healthy Patriots offense was that they were able to do so blitzing Brady a season low 17.2% of the time.

Throwing to Rob Growkowski against the Broncos, Brady was 8/15 for 144 and 1 touchdown. Throwing to everyone else, he was 19/41, 166 yards and 0 TDs. Heads up, Greg Olsen.

The Panthers ranked 2nd in defensive efficiency in 2015 (according to ESPN), just behind Denver. While the Broncos pressure the quarterback like crazy, the Panthers defense is racking up points off turnovers. On top Newton’s insane scoring rate, the Panthers have added 9.5 points per game to their net margin of victory as a result of takeaways, 1.7 points more than anyone else. They forced 7 turnovers, 6 from Carson Palmer, on Sunday.

 

4. Coaches Have A Lot In Common

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 12.11.19 PM

Both Ron Rivera and Gary Kubiak played on teams that went to the Super Bowl. Rivera won as a linebacker with the 1985 Chicago Bears. Kubiak went to 3, all as backup quarterback to John Elway, and lost them too.

Both Rivera and Kubiak went to the Super Bowl as coordinators. Rivera was the Bears’ defensive coordinator in 2006-07, losing to Peyton Manning’s Colts. Kubiak won three after his playing career, once as an assistant for the 49ers (1994) and twice more as Broncos offensive coordinator (1997 & 1998).

Now both Rivera and Kubiak will be standing on opposite sidelines of the sport’s biggest stage. They were also both successors for current Bears head coach John Fox.

5. Poor John Fox

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 12.14.11 PM

Actually, good new Bears fans!

John Fox went to the Super Bowl in each of his second seasons with the Panthers and Broncos. He didn’t win, but going is a nice improvement.

 

6. Other Bears Connections

Screen Shot 2016-01-25 at 12.15.16 PM

A few more former Bears you can root for in the Super Bowl, if you feel so inclined:

1. Greg, Son of Olsen.

Greg son of Olsen

2. Jared Allen (meh)

3. Charles “Peanut” Tillman (although on IR, but still a great dude)

Panthers Tillman

 

7. Unsung Heroes

Broncos Bench

The Broncos “Other” Defensive Linemen (above)

While Miller, Ware and Wolfe get all the sack glory, defensive ends Malik Jackson and Antonio Smith and nose tackle Sylvester Williams are teeing them up and destroying opposing running backs.

Ted Ginn Jr.

I love that Ted Ginn Jr. went from being the guy who drops everything to a 10 touchdown WR. A lot of that may be thanks to his quarterback, but somebody has to take the top off defenses and burn opposing safeties like Ginn has.

Emmanuel Sanders

Something I may have left out of Peyton Manning’s storyline was how Emmanuel Sanders made some of the BIGGEST plays on 3rd down for his quarterback. While Damaryius Thomas was off and on during the season, Sanders had 4 games of 8+ receptions. With Manning throwing more underneath and Josh Norman covering Thomas, Sanders will be a huge key against the Broncos nickel coverage.

 

The Panthers Team Picture Game

Exhibit A

Stay Tuned For More Super Bowl 50 Coverage on MichaelPiff.com. There will be more on the Halftime Show, Commercials, Media Day, and the annual “Everything But Football” piece as well. Follow along on Facebook and Twitter

 

NFL Week 8 Fantasy Mailbag

What happens when you fire Joe Philbin, play the Titans and Texans in back-to-back weeks, and hand Lamar Miller the ball?

(The “Hard Knocks” Texans seem so long ago don’t they?)

In just two weeks, the Miami Dolphins look like the team their roster suggested they would be before the season even started. Miller had just 37 carries over the first 4 weeks of the season for 131 yards and no touchdowns. He has more than doubled that production in his last 2 games with 288 rush yards and 2 touchdowns on 33 carries (plus 61 yards and another touchdown receiving). The Dolphins also became the first team since at least 1940 to score 4 touchdowns of 50+ yards in the first half against Texans. Not a shabby start to the head coaching career for Dan Campbell.

The Dolphins head to New England tonight for what could be a shootout with Tom Brady and the Patriots. Don’t slow your roll yet on Miller as the Patriots are allowing 110 yards per game rushing. Now proceed to point and laugh at whoever dropped him in your fantasy league.

Quick Hits

  • The Cardinals running back situation seems pretty clear now with Zombie Chris Johnson ranked second in the league in rushing. Okay he’s more of a “Dawn of the Dead” zombie that runs. Fast…If you took my advice last week, you played Todd Gurley in DFS against the worst run defense in the league. The Browns have allowed more than 1,000 yards rushing on the season (132 more than the Chargers), and Zombie Chris Johnson should eat.

Chris Johnson

  • While the Chargers seem to have nearly given up on running the ball, the biggest benefactor of that trend has been Keenan Allen. Allen now leads the league in receptions with 62. Allen owners know that his point production is a little inconsistent, but he gets 12 targets per game. When Philip Rivers locks in on Allen, oh does he lock in…3 times this season, Allen has recorded 130+ yards and averages 13 catches in those games. His matchup against the Ravens smells like one of those games as Baltimore allows 214 yards and 1.6 to wide receivers each week.

Keenan Allen

  • While the sexiest tight end name in the game is Gronk, Greg Olsen is no slouch either. Olsen has 65+ yards and/or a touchdown in 5 of his 6 games this season. He’s gone for 130+ yards twice this season, and was targeted by Cam Newton 11 times in both of those games. I expect Newton to bounce back from a 3 interception game and to make Olsen a priority in order to do so. Olsen has already accounted for 21% of the targets each week and only trails Gronk for the most plays of 20+ yards this year.

Olsen

Mail Time!

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 10.11.35 AM

WR – I really like Jeremy Maclin this week against the Lions in London. Detroit is allowing 206 yards and 1 touchdown per game to wide receivers and Maclin is the only reliable receiver in Kansas City. In 3 of his last 4 games, Maclin averaged 7.5 catches and 106 yards.

RB – The guy I’m not picking of your group is James Starks. Ronnie Hillman is finally getting a majority of the first team reps in practice and THE DUKE is the back to have out of Cleveland. Johnson Jr. is the pass catching back and you have to expect the Browns to be playing from behind against Arizona…which means they’ll be passing. Starks is also banged up, a backup, and going against the best defense in football.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 10.12.57 AM

A very close call. As much as I like Martavis Bryant with Ben Roethlisberger coming back, I like Stefon Diggs more against the Bears secondary. In 3 games played, Diggs has more targets, caches and twice as many yards as Mike Wallace. Go with the clear #1 WR the Vikings has as the Bears will be doing whatever they can to keep Adrian Peterson in check.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 10.13.20 AM

I’m going to let this slide this week, but this^ is too many questions. Try to limit it to 2 going forward. Love ya, Emmet. 

Trade: Hard to pick a winner without knowing the needs of each team involved, but I am going with whoever received Tannehill in the deal. Tannehill is trending way up with Philbin off his back, and Eddie Lacy is losing more and more touches to Starks. This weekend will be the most telling on what Lacy is this season with Starks hurting. If Starks gets more work than Lacy again, I feel bad for anyone who picked the former Bama back way too high this year.

Flex 1: The Duke for for the reasons I gave Bucy. Tavon is boom or bust regardless of the matchup as Gurley is now the entire offense and Nick Foles sucks.

Flex 2: Not a great week for Jeremy Hill going against the Steelers. Pacing will probably make Gio Bernard the better option for the Bengals, but at least you know Hill will get touches. He also has the most touchdowns from within the 5 yard line. Moncrief has a bad matchup against the Carolina secondary.

(See, I’ve already answered 3 questions for you and there are 2 left. I’ve got shit to do, homie)

QB: Roethlisberger. Ed Werder of ESPN has him going and so should you with ALL of his scoring options available.

Flex 3: Woodhead

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 10.13.46 AM

You’ve got a solid matchup for Delanie Walker this week against the Texans defense. Whether it’s Mariota or Mettenberger under center, he’s their favorite target regardless. Watson has had a nice couple weeks, but Drew Brees has way more options to keep up with a tough Giants receiving corps.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 10.14.13 AM

Larry Donnell isn’t a great option, but at least he’s done something in the last 6 weeks. Jordan Cameron hasn’t recorded more than 30 yards since Week 2. I won’t trust him until I see him do better than that again.

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 10.14.36 AM

I think you answered your own question, Donald. Tyler Eifert is a big reason for Andy Dalton’s success this season and I don’t see him slowing down anytime soon. Eifert has as many red zone targets as AJ Green. Also, look at what Pittsburgh gave up to Gronk and Travis Kelce combined: 19 catches, 259 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Have more lineup questions? Feel free to ask on both Facebook and Twitter! Also, don’t hesitate to post any questions for next week’s Mailbag. Good luck this weekend! 

Fantasy Cheat Sheet 2015: Tight Ends

You have to love how the Tight End position has evolved over the years. Every since Tony Gonzalez hit the scene, former basketball players and big wide receivers have converted into heavy hitters in Fantasy Football. 

I wouldn’t take one in the first round, but here are my Top 20 and where you should look to take them.

1.Rob Gronkowski, NE

Gronk

2014: 1,124 rec yards, 82 catches, 12 TD

Regardless if it’s Brady throwing or if it’s Garoppolo, Gronk will smash. However, he’s not going to be 1st round worthy like he’s projected. Great player but he won’t carry your team enough to give up picking a high end point producing skilled player.

Pick 2nd Round

2. Jimmy Graham, SEA

Graham

2014: 889 rec yards, 85 catches, 10 TDs

Graham was a bit inconsistent last season, partially thanks to Drew Brees and being injured. He’s being downplayed in Seattle, but I think he’s a perfect fit with Russell Wilson. Could be a touchdown machine.

Pick 3rd Round

3. Martellus Bennett, CHI

Bears vs. Vikings

2014: 916 rec yards, 90 catches, 6 TDs

Martysaurus could do big things this season. “Denver-Julius Thomas” big things. He was spread out in the first preseason game like Thomas was in the Gase system, and that makes him dangerous around the end zone. He was targeted nearly as much as Gronk last season and that shouldn’t change.

Pick 4th or 5th Round

4. Greg Olsen, CAR

G-Reg

2014: 1008 rec yards, 84 catches, 6 TDs

Olsen and Benjamin are Cam’s best two offensive options again this year. Olsen seems to be more helpful in between the 20s and that helps for reception and yard points.

Pick 5th Round

5. Travis Kelce, KC

Kelce

2014: 862 rec yards, 67 catches, 5 TDs

Kelce is solid and seems more reliable for Alex Smith than his receivers are. The offense runs through Jamaal Charles but on 3rd down and in the red zone, Kelce is key.

Pick 5th or 6th Round

6. Jason Witten, DAL

Witten

2014: 704 rec yards, 64 catches, 5 TDs

The more unsure we get about the Cowboys running backs, the better I feel about Tony Romo throwing more to Bryant and Witten. Witten isn’t as athletic as he used to be, but he is gets the job done.

Pick 7th Round

7. Jordan Cameron, MIA

Cameron

2014: 424 rec yards, 24 catches, 2 TDs

Cameron dealt with a mess last year in Cleveland. I would expect him to bounce back pretty well with Tannehill at quarterback, who will benefit from having a bigger target in the red zone.

Pick 7th Round

8. Zach Ertz, PHI

Ertz

2014: 702 rec yards, 58 catches, 3 TDs

If the Eagles quarterbacks are going to be any good, they’re going to have to rely heavily on Ertz, who is the best pass catcher they have. He’ll also be valuable as a compliment to pounding the rock with Murray.

Pick 7th Round

9. Delanie Walker, TEN

Delanie

2014: 890 rec yards, 63 catches 4 TDs

A rookie quarterback’s best friend is his tight end, and Delanie Walker is a fast one. Walker missed the first preseason game because he was coming back from a thumb injury, but I expect him to help calm Mariota’s nerves in no time.

Pick 8th Round

10. Kyle Rudolph, MIN

Denver Broncos v Minnesota Vikings

2014: 231 rec yards, 24 catches, 2 TDs

I think Rudolph will be a steal in mid to late rounds because Vikings OC Norv Turner LOVES his tight ends. Rudolph was banged up a bit last season but should play well with a further developed Bridgewater at quarterback.

Has 8th Round Value but you’ll find him available 10th round

11. Julius Thomas, JAX

Julius

2014: 489 rec yards, 43 catches, 12 TDs

Thomas was successful because of Peyton Manning and the Adam Gase offense. Now he’s in Jacksonville where star players can’t stay healthy and longtime Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis is also there. Thomas won’t get as many looks but has a chance to prove that he’s better than just a system receiver.

Pick 8th Round

12. Dwayne Allen, IND

Dwayne

2014: 395 rec yards, 29 catches, 8 TDs

Coby Fleener is also in Indy, but Dwayne Allen is the better receiver in the end zone. Luck targeted Allen 50 times last season, and I expect that to go up with Gore established in the run game.

Pick 10th Round

13. Owen Daniels, DEN

Daniels

2014: 527 rec yards, 48 catches, 4 TDs

Broncos HC Gary Kubiak always brings his favorite TE along, “old reliable” Owen Daniels. Sometimes Daniels looked very good as a TD threat, and a lot of times he was nowhere to be found. Decent late round backup

Pick 11th Round

14. Larry Donnell, NYG

Donnell

2014: 623 rec yards, 64 catches, 6 TDs

Larry Donnell is dealing with tendonitis in his Achilles but the Giants don’t seem worried about him missing Week 1. He put together some of the best games for tight ends, and sometimes didn’t do much at all. Expect him to be much more consistent in year 2 of the new offensive system.

Pick 11th Round

15. Jordan Reed, WAS

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 8.06.06 PM

2014: 465 rec yards, 50 catches

With Niles Paul out for the season, Jordan Reed is the man for Washington. RG-III plays well with TEs, especially in the red zone, and Reed is an excellent weapon when healthy.

Pick 12th Round

16. Antonio Gates, SD

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 8.09.40 PM

2014: 821 rec yards, 69 catches, 12 TDs

Even though Gates is missing 4 games for suspension, you aren’t drafting to use him that early in the season anyway. Although Ladarius Green will be getting an audition to start the season, Gates is still one of the best ever at the position and will be an excellent weapon to have in your pocket

Pick Late Rounds

Tyler Eifert, CIN

Eifert

2014: 37 rec yards, 3 catches

Eifert didn’t do anything last year, literally. But now Jermaine Gresham is gone and Eifert is the #1 TE in Cincy, so you have to think production will only go up from here.

Pick Late Rounds

18. Ladarius Green, SD

Ladarius

2014: 226 rec yards, 19 catches

Green is getting a crack at showing he can take over when Antonio Gates is done or hurt (or suspended longer). If Philip Rivers can’t make him worth your while, nobody can.

Pick Late Rounds

19. Josh Hill, NO

Josh Hill

2014: 176 rec yards, 14 catches, 5 TDs

Jimmy Graham’s replacement caught a decent number of touchdowns last year, but is taking reps with the 2nd team so far this preseason. Decent fill in for a back up spot, or an easy drop when you want to add someone better.

Pick Late

20. Heath Miller, PIT

Green Bay Packers v Pittsburgh Steelers

2014: 761 rec yards, 66 catches, 3 TDs

Heath is usually a fill in guy when you need a spot start at TE or someone gets injured. Really it just helps to have him already because Roethlisberger will always have him as a security blanket when he needs one.

Pick Late

Do your rankings look different? Let me know on Facebook and Twitter

Also…

Quarterbacks Cheat Sheet

Running Backs Cheat Sheet

Wide Receivers Cheat Sheet

Defenses & Kickers Cheat Sheet