Tight Ends Free Agency Edition

Scott Chandler

Teams and your Tight Ends

Shortly after the NFL Combine, the new NFL league year opens. The start of a new year can mean a new start for many players and teams. The flurry of Free Agency is an extremely exciting time, when hopeful fans praise or criticize the moves made or not made by their home team. Fantasy players need to stay up to date with this craziness. If you’re not caught up with the latest moves, you’re playing catchup on draft day. You don’t want to play catch up on draft day. Likewise for dynasty owners, this FA period is important, because who the teams lose or gain, will affect who the teams will draft. If you’re not aware of who got signed where you might unknowingly accept a trade that at first sign seemed favorable to you, but you just come to find out that previously projected starter is now depth fodder for another team.  Here at FakePigSkin we will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you as we organize the information for you, and give you our quick thoughts so you can stay informed.

In this article, I will address the Tight End position. Tight ends as a position in itself is quite difficult to project, because their fantasy values are tied to their receiving ability, but NFL teams don’t always use them as receivers. How they fit the offensive scheme is more important for this position than WR or RB.

*UPDATE*

Jared Cook (ex-Rams), cut by the team which leaves the better and under the radar Lance Kendricks being the only TE weapon in LA. The Rams is not a team loaded with special receiving options, and perhaps Hekker has received his fair share of TD, however, I have been monitoring Lance Kendricks for a while, and I’m going out on a limb and say that this is his “breakout year”, but breakout for Rams may not mean much. Picked up by the Green Bay Packers: To my shock, the Packers actually picked up this athletic bust. He does come with a fairly cuttable contract. But one has to wonder if ARodgers will be the one to unlock his potential. I remain pessimistic that Jared Cook ever does anything great…then again Martellus Bennett flourished with his 3rd team right?

Coby Fleener –> New Orleans (new team). This signing was quite the surprise for many, who had expected Luck’s college buddy to stay in Indy with Andrew. However, the team chose to go a different direction, and Fleener chose to go to a team where they would pay him. There is considerable debate (to put it mildly) on twitterverse about this signing. Fleener has always been known as that unathletic pedestrian TE who has stone hands and is inconsistent. On the otherhand, when he was the guy, he put up stats despite his pedestrian talent. Now, he goes to a team where the system and Brees, the QB, loves throwing to the TE. The Saints made use of their TE a lot for as long as Brees is the QB. I expect this to continue with Fleener. You don’t have to take Coby as your TE1, but he is on the short list of TE streamer that your team can use and may need.

Dwayne Allen -> Indianapolis Colts (old team). While everyone thought Coby would stay in Indy, most had thought that Dwayne would be the one run out of town. I, on my tiny island, was very excited about this re-signing. When Allen is healthy, he was more useful than Fleener and was borderline top 8 TE. The only caveat that indy at least try to improve the OL. Dwayne Allen is an above average blocker, and may sometimes be wasted on blocking duties. At the same time, his snap count will be higher and therefore should translate to more opportunities, even as a hot route/bail out receiving option for the frenetic Luck. For now treat Allen as a high-end TE2 with upside.

Ladarius Green -> Pittsburgh Steelers (New team). I did not see this coming at all. Lad Green was supposed to be the heir to Gates in SDC. Letting him walk uncontested and resigning their old guy, SDC may feel disillusioned about Green. Nevertheless, Lad Green is now the big target for Big Ben. While incapable of blocking (those roles go to Jesse James and Matt Spaeth), Green is a BIG target in the red zone, and flashed plenty of athleticism in the games he did start. Consider Lad Green a risk/reward guy, I’m more prone to project he’s the 4th target behind AB, Martavis, and Le’Veon

Antonio Gates -> San Diego Chargers (old team). Well, this is a weird development. Last offseason, the buzz was strong that 2015 would be Gates’ last hurrah. Instead, he signed a new lease with the Super Chargers and is ready to be Rivers’ best target once more. On film and statistically though, Gates has lost at least 2 steps, with the possibility that he continues to decline. It would not be smart for dynasty owners to invest much if anything on Gates. Redrafters should be ready to cut Gates in favor of a better streamer at any moment’s notice. With that said, Rivers still loves this guy.

Ben Watson -> Baltimore Ravens (new team). Watson has a really decorated career. Going from New England, to Cleveland, to Saints, and now to Baltimore. This move has less to do with Watson and more to do with how he affects Maxx Williams and Crockett Gilmore. It’s an extremely crowded TE situation, and that means a cap on their snaps. This creates quite some unpleasantness as an owner of Gilmore and Maxx. My suggestion would be to acquire Maxx on the cheap now. Owners probably don’t have any stats to hang on to, and with such a crowded situation, Maxx’s price tag shouldn’t be too high. Maxx is a fantastic dynasty stash for me. Now, returning my attention to Watson, ignore him or treat him as a spot start if Flacco starts throwing to him.

Garrett Celek -> San Francisco (old team). Both Celek brother’s got an extension this off season. For SFO to make Celek a priority, I wonder what it means. Vance McDonald has been the primary receiving back, but he had issues staying healthy. I can only assume that SFO sees something in Celek that’s worthy of extending. Let’s just pray its not for his blocking prowess. He’s a name to monitor and see who rises out of the crop of TEs in SFO.

Zach Ertz -> Philadelphia Eagles (old team). Ertz was quickly given a contract extension shortly after the new regime arrived. With the FA opening up, there was a purge of Chip Kelly’s players, yet Ertz was retained despite being handpicked by Kelly. The excitement was short lived, as fellow Brent “the target vulture” Celek was also given an extension. For the foreseeable future, these two TEs will split snap. Ertz is a low-end TE1, who finished last season on a high note, but also have to be wary that 50% of his production came in the last 4 games of the year, when most teams were eliminated from fantasy contention.

Brent Celek – see Ertz

As more signings happen, I will continue to update this article as needed.

 

Shocking trade!

Shocking trade!

He just loves Gary Kubiak!

He just loves Gary Kubiak!

 

 

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