When constructing your fantasy football team, the toughest position to call has got to be tight end. Some weeks, a player will be the red zone target, other he will not. It makes things nerve racking not knowing whether or not your player will produce.
This is why experts are saying to go ahead and draft the stud tight ends early, pretty much treating them like they're wide receivers. What we see in this instance is Jimmy Graham going in the second and third rounds of many drafts. It brings us to the question, is it a smart pick?
For Graham, it's a yes. For others, not so much. We know we'll hear complaints about how Rob Gronkowski should be up there as well, but is he as valuable as Graham? Not really. Where Gronk excels is in the end zone. He receives plenty of red zone targets, and usually comes down with them. However, it's so difficult to predict touchdowns in a given season, that targets are the more telling stat for a tight end.
Graham, was targeted often last year, and he may be called upon even more this year because of Robert Meachem's departure. Last season, Graham ranked first for tight ends, and fifth in the league with 149 targets. He finished third in receptions and seventh in yards, and oh by the way, he was second in the league in red zone targets as well.
Jimmy Graham is a wide receiver in a tight end's body, and he should be treated as such on draft day. As for the rest of your tight ends, wait. There is no reason to reach for a tight end as they all get about the same points per week. For example, Vernon Davis has been going around round six in many mocks to date. Maybe people are still hungover from his post season performance from a year ago, but keep in mind how much he struggled during the regular season.
He ranked 10th last season in targets for tight ends, and only had two games where he scored more than five points where he didn't have a touchdown. What that tells us is that Davis won't pile up the yards, and relies heavily on touchdowns, which don't always come, for fantasy points.
Moral of the story, take Jimmy Graham early, Gronk not much after. However, with the rest of the tight ends, waiting until double digit rounds won't make more than about a point or two per week difference.
As for your wide receivers, that player crop is crazy deep. You can find value no matter where you take a wide receiver, except the first round. This year, only one wide receiver should be a first round pick and that's Calvin Johnson. After him, wait. Larry Fitzgerald is a great wide receiver, but should go in the second or third. As for the rest of the wide receiver pool, you will be very surprised to find where many other 'stud' wide receivers are going in drafts.
After Harvin, you have the likes of Jeremy Maclin, Stevie Johnson, Antonio Brown and many more. These are quality wide receivers, who deserve the No. 2 spot on many fantasy teams, that are outside of the top-20 wideouts.
When it comes to wide receiver, there are always play makers that will be available so there is no need to reach for a guy, when you can get someone equal in value a round or two later.
Tune in next week for the final segment of our fantasy football preview when we go over defense and special teams (why, I don't know). It should be short and sweet, while providing some laughs as we all prepare for our fantasy football drafts in the coming weeks.
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