5 Late Round Tight End Finds

Ravens Ben Watson

The key to being competitive and eventually winning your fantasy football leagues is finding players in second half of your draft. If you are avoiding Rob Gronkowski in the first round then waiting on tight end is something that can pay off. These five late round tight ends can be real difference makers that can challenge from a spot in the top 10 at the position.

*ADP numbers are at the tight end position

Ben Watson | ADP 27

I know it’s hard to get too excited about a 35 year old tight end but Ben Watson is one of my favorite tight ends entering 2016. He produced a season ago in New Orleans catching 74 of his 109 targets. He had 825 receiving yards and six touchdowns with those catches. He is a guy that has been averaged double-digit yards per catch throughout his career. He produced in his time with the Browns with 70 plus targets so assuming last year was a fluke is misguided. He left New Orleans this offseason which is not ideal but landing with Baltimore Ravens is great news for his 2016 outlook. He will play for Marc Trestman who loves to target tight ends. In each of the past three seasons the tight end position as a whole has been targeted over 100 times. Maxx Williams and Dennis Pitta will be there to take some of the targets in 2016 but Watson should be the leader in the clubhouse for the work. Pitta is returning from injury and how effective he can be is very much in question. Williams is entering his second season and is still developing. He understands he may not be guaranteed snaps. Via Pro Football Talk, Williams said, “What’s wrong with having the best tight end group in the NFL? We’re going to work to make each other better and then figure it out going into the season.” Tight end development is typically the slowest of the offensive skill positions. Expect to see a good amount of two tight end sets in Baltimore as well. All this sets up for a potentially big season for Watson. Especially if Joe Flacco has the career year @14teammocker expects him to have.

Antonio Gates | ADP 13

There is nothing sexy about Antonio Gates at this point in his career. The 36 year old tight end is on the back-end of his career and is coming off of playing only 11 games. The good part however is 4 of those games missed were due to a suspension and not injury. If you add in only the 4 games he missed due to suspension he would have had 76 catches good for 6th among tight ends. His prorated 114 targets would have been good enough to tie him with Jordan Reed for fifth. Gates should remain a major piece of this offense this year even with Keenan Allen returning and Travis Benjamin being added.

Zach Miller | ADP 25

The Chicago Bears sent Martellus Bennett to the New England Patriots during the off-season opening up a spot for someone to take. Zach Miller is the tight end to own for the Bears in 2016. Miller is a bit of late bloomer but that has less to do with talent and more to do with injuries and being buried on the depth chart. Just look to Gary Barnidge last year for a guy who took advantage of an opportunity as soon as he got one. Miller got a trial run as the feature guy for a 3 game run a season ago and he produced. He caught 10 of his 18 targets for 154 yards and three touchdowns. Miller also got a ton of work over the last three games of the season and showed his skills yet again. He caught 18 of his 20 targets for 211 yards and a score. Its Millers time to shine in Chicago and is absolutely worth a look late in drafts.

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Clive Walford | ADP 17

The Oakland Raiders are becoming an offense to target in for fantasy football. Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree became viable weekly fantasy starters. Clive Walford is the next piece to target if you’re looking to garner a piece of this passing attack. He had to earn a slot in this offense as the season went along in 2015. If you look at snap counts he seemingly did so. Starting Week 10 his counts were double the weekly totals from the first 9 games. He went from a guy that would be in the teens to a guy on the field for 30 to 40 snaps a game. His snap share went from below 30% to well over 60% in the final weeks of the season. All signs point to Walford being a part of this offense and the feature tight end in 2016.

Richard Rodgers | ADP 23

Richard Rodgers is entering his third season in the NFL. His second season was a marked improvement from his rookie season. He had 58 catches on 85 targets and became a guy Aaron Rodgers would target in the red zone catching 8 touchdowns. He was targeted 21% of the time inside the 10 which tied him with teammate Randall Cobb and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Touchdowns tend to fluctuate from season to season but getting that kind of work is a great sign for potential future production. Rodgers was 9th in fantasy points a season despite being drafted as the 21st tight end off the board. He is currently coming off of the board as tight end 23 and is primed to be in the top 10 to 12 tight end conversation again. The return of Jordy Nelson will have an impact on Rodgers value. Nelson was targeted an impressive 31% of the time inside the 10 in 2014.  Jared Cook was added during the off-season but he doesn’t worry me in the slightest. Cook has constantly underwhelmed during his time in the NFL. The often injured tight end is already dealing with foot problems and recently had surgery. He recently under The potential reward with Rodgers in 2016 is well worth the risk taking him as the 23rd tight end off the board.

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4 Comments

  1. Matt W.

    July 1, 2016 at 8:27 am

    How can you have a Richard Rodgers blurb about being undervalued, yet never mention the fact GB brought in Jared Cook this off season? There’s no shot he’s in that low-end TE1 conversation unless Cook doesn’t play a snap this year.

  2. Kyle Robert

    July 1, 2016 at 8:38 am

    As someone who has watched a ton of Jared Cook, I am not worried about him at all. He is all hype and will have little impact on Rodgers.

    • Matt W.

      July 1, 2016 at 8:44 am

      Not trying to bring ya down, but that sentence in reply is more important than everything that was written in the original post.

      • Kyle Robert

        July 1, 2016 at 9:07 am

        Appreciate the feedback. Added a note about Cook.

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