Rookie Report – TE’s

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the performance of the 2013 rookie QBs and used their stats to try and give an insight into how they may progress next year. This time it’s the tight ends in my sights and with ten of them there is plenty to discuss so I will waste no more time and dive right into it!

Jordan Reed (Washington Redskins) 7.74 points per game

Reed got off to a relatively slow start in 2013 with no more than 5 receptions in the first three games and then he missed the fourth game with an injury. He came back after the bye week with a 5 point performance against Dallas followed by a 19 against Chicago and 9 vs Denver. Two weeks later he had another double digit

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Reed just needs to stay on the field to succeed. Photo credit: John McDonnell, Washington Post

Reed just needs to stay on the field to succeed.
Photo credit: John McDonnell, Washington Post

game with 12 points against Minnesota and seemed to be in a real groove with this offense before his injury in week 11 ended his season. He was 8th overall in PPG among players who played 7 or more games and was the highest scorer among the rookies. If he can stay healthy next year he could be a massive weapon for both the Redskins and your fantasy team. He’ll be worth drafting in all standard leagues if healthy and will almost certainly be a top 10 fantasy tight end if he can play 14+ games.

Zach Ertz (Philadelphia Eagles) 4.44 points per game

Ertz was actually the highest scorer of the rookie tight ends in 2013 with 71 fantasy points, however, he never put together a string of 2 good games in a row or even three out of four. The good news is that from Week 9 onwards he had 48 of his 71 points. The flip side is that 39 of them came in three games against Oakland, Arizona and Minnesota. Over the course of the season he had 4 games with zero points and in the remaining 9 games his highest score was 9. What I’m really trying to say here is Ertz was terribly inconsistent in 2013 and a big part of this was the presence of Brent Celek as the #1 tight end for the team. If he can earn that spot in 2014 he has the potential to be a top 10 tight end just like Reed. Unless it is clear entering the season he is the #1 option in Philly, he would be a TE2 for me.  If he does earn that starting spot though, I’d take him as an upside player who could become a stud.

Joseph Fauria (Detroit Lions) 4.06 points per game

The first thing to point out with Fauria is that of his 65 points, 42 (yes forty two!) came from touchdowns. In one week alone he scored 21 points with 18 of them being three touchdown receptions. Three touchdowns in one game raise another concern for a touchdown dependent guy: the rest of the year he only got four touchdowns. In the weeks he didn’t get touchdowns he totalled a measly 12 points in 11 games and in week 16 against the Giants (no TD week) he scored 6 of those. That means 6 points in the other 10 weeks with 6 blanks. Fauria is essentially the same story as Ertz with huge fantasy potential hidden in extreme inconsistency. Then again the whole tight end field is very inconsistent week to week outside of the elite guys. If Fauria nails down the number 1 tight end spot in 2014 he has the potential to be the Lions version of Gronk and Graham with his height and pass catching ability. For now add Fauria to your tight end sleeper list and monitor the Lions situation. If they don’t sign anyone then consider Fauria as a late tight end pick with potential Graham upside.

If Brandon Pettigrew leaves as a FA, Fauria may be in for a big year. Photo credit: Mike Mulholland,

If Brandon Pettigrew leaves as a FA, Fauria may be in for a big year.
Photo credit: Mike Mulholland,

Mychal Rivera (Oakland Raiders) 4.06 points per game

Surprisingly Rivera was one of the more consistent fantasy performers among the rookie tight ends but the issue was he was consistently around 2 or 3 fantasy points rather than 5 or 6. He had two double digit games against Washington (10) and Houston (11) and only two zero point games. Mixed in among low scoring games he also had an 8 and a 9 point game. So the good news is we have finally found a relatively consistent tight end but the bad news is that consistently low numbers doesn’t help anyone. Rivera was the #1 tight end in the Raiders’ offense for most of the year but what he needs is a consistent reliable QB and that is something you have to feel Oakland is in for this year. If they get that rookie QB then chances are he will need a safety blanket and Rivera knows the offense so he should get this nod. It’s unlikely you will be drafting Rivera but keep your eyes peeled early in the season for his targets and fantasy points to see if he is a hot pick up.

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Tyler Eifert (Cincinnati Bengals) 3.80 points per game

With Eifert we go back to wild inconsistency after the relative consistency of Rivera. Tyler had 8 games where he posted less than two points. Of those other 7 games (he did not play in week 17 against Baltimore) he once scored double digits (10 against Detroit in week 7) and just missed out once (9 against Pittsburgh in Week 15) and they were both games he scored touchdowns in. He failed to score a touchdown in any of the other 15 games he played and that led to 5 games where he scored between 3 and 6 fantasy points. 2013 showed us is that there is the potential for solid fantasy production but only if he is given the number 1 tight end job and that largely depends on what the Bengals do with Jermaine Gresham. If Eifert, much like Ertz and Fauria, nails down the #1 job then he could easily be a top 5 tight end in 2014 as the second option in that offence after Green.

Ryan Griffin (Houston Texans) 1.80 points per game

This is where this article gets a lot briefer as any player that averages less than 2 points is likely not much use in fantasy. For the first 5 weeks he was active but didn’t catch a pass and then recorded another three blanks in weeks 7, 9 and 13. In weeks 10, 15 and 16 he put up a season high 6 points (a touchdown in week 10 being the only one of the year) with a combined 12 receptions across the three weeks. In the other four weeks he was active he put up one point twice, three in week 12 and four in week 17. He saw more playing time once the injuries really hit the other Texan tight ends but it’s unlikely he will have the starting job in 2014. The only thing to watch out for is they will more than likely have a rookie QB next year who will need a safety net.

Gavin Escobar (Dallas Cowboys) 1.31 points per game

Escobar was active in all 16 games the Cowboys played in 2013 but put up blanks 11 times. In those other 5 weeks he scored a total of 21 points with 15 coming in two games against St. Louis and Philadelphia with touchdowns in both of those games. As for 2014, Witten will continue to be the number 1 for Dallas so realistically, Escobar has no shot of being drafted for your fantasy teams.

Vance McDonald (San Francisco 49ers) 0.53 points per game

McDonald never scored more than 2 points in any of the 15 games he played and never caught more than one pass (on 7 occasions he didn’t even catch a pass). He will not be San Francisco’s #1 tight end next year (barring a Davis injury) so he is a name you can likely ignore in drafts. If Davis goes down either in preseason or early in the year then put him on your sleeper list and watch out for his targets in games to try and spot a pattern.

Dion Sims (Miami Dolphins) 0.40 points per game

Sims was active for 15 games in 2013 and scored 6 points in total and they came in one game against Atlanta where he scored a touchdown. Clay is likely to be the team’s number 1 next year and Dustin Keller should be healthy after missing all last season. You shouldn’t even be considering Sims right now.

Zach Sudfeld (New York Jets) 0.36 points per game

Sudfeld’s ADP last year was 145 (15th round in a ten team league) and that shows you  just how high he was drafted by some. He came into the year as New England’s next big thing at tight end and was then off the team by week 6 with no receptions (he was inactive twice). He signed for the Jets and scored 5 points over weeks 8 & 9 and that was it for the season. He will likely not even feature on your cheat sheets this year.

So there you go. That was the class of 2013 rookie tight ends and its really a 50:50 split in terms of relevance going into next year with Reed, Ertz, Fauria, Rivera and Eifert all having chances to be solid producers if the situation lands right. As for the other 5; Griffin, Escobar and McDonald could end up being relevant if things fall their way but it will take a few things but Sudfeld and Sims will probably be free agents in 2014 and you won’t even remember their names come draft day.

Next up will be the first half of my running backs with 21 to cover I will be splitting it across two articles so watch out for them in the coming month or so!

If you have anything you’d like to ask or talk to Ben about, feel free to leave a comment below or hit up on Twitter @brolfe1507


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