As we all know, fantasy football can be somewhat predictable and also unpredictable at the same time. The tight end position is not one for the faint of heart. For example, in fantasy leagues last year, it was basically Gronk, Kelce, Ertz and then everyone else. The waiver wire was unbelievably thin for tight ends because the talent just wasn’t there. With the roster moves so far in the 2018 off-season, I have a feeling things are going to be much different as we look forward to the new season this summer.
I am going to look at the top five free agent tight ends going into the 2018 season, who and where they signed and whether they could be next seasons Gronk, Kelce or Ertz. Let’s take a look at who could strike big or who could be a total bust with their new team.
Recently signed with the Green Bay Packers, Jimmy G is the latest addition to an already stout offense led by Aaron Rodgers. Obviously there was no shortage of talent at the WR position for Green Bay last season, but with the loss of Jordy Nelson, Graham could become a huge part of the packer offense and become the reliable fantasy stud as he was a few years back with the New Orleans Saints. Last season, Graham recorded 57 receptions for 520 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Seahawks and I could
see him easily adding a few more yards and touchdowns this season. In recent years, Aaron Rodgers hasn’t had a reliable go to tight end to find in the end zone, with the last being Jermichael Finley who left as a free agent in 2013. Could the signing of one of the leagues most prolific pass catching tight ends of all time prove to be a positive new dimension for Green Bay to explore? If it is, fantasy owners will be able to reap the benefits without having to spend a high draft pick on him.
Although he played a limited role last season behind Zach Ertz- when Ertz went down due to injury, Burton stepped right up and played a huge part in leading the Eagles on
their historic super bowl winning run. He recently signed with the Chicago Bears on a 4 year contract worth 32 million dollars. The former Florida Gators product showed he can be versatile as well as a good all round tight end when he threw a touchdown pass to his QB Nick Foles in the Superbowl versus New England. Burton hauled in 23 receptions for 238 yards and 5 touchdowns last season with the Eagles and now finds himself among a young, improving offensive corps in Chicago with last years’ 2nd overall pick, Mitch Trubisky under center.
Despite being plagued with injuries over his short career as a Bengal, they re-signed him to a one year contract worth 5.5 million in a ‘prove you can stay healthy deal’. He hauled in 4 catches for 46 yards and 0 touchdowns last season after missing the majority of the season due to injury. If healthy, Eifert should be able to return to elite TE1 status this upcoming season, but keeping healthy is the problem. Should he play in the majority of games next season, we could see him replicate his impressive 2015 campaign where he had 70.3% catch success and went for 615 yards with a staggering 13 touchdowns. That was enough to see him finish as the 6th best TE in both standard and PPR scoring leagues.
ASJ only spent a short amount of time in New York for the Jets after he was released by Tampa Bay due to off-field incidents. After not doing much for the Jets in 2017 with an unimpressive stat line of 50 receptions for 357 yards and 3 TD’s finishing just 20th in PPR scoring for fantasy owners- he has since signed a contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars for 2 years worth 10 million dollars. With his size and downfield threat capability, I believe he could be a serious weapon for Blake Bortles and that improving Jags’ offense. Look out for ASJ this season and if you’re having reservations of drafting him in
your league, think again. He could have a breakout year in Jacksonville in 2018 and will likely be available with one of your last picks in your drafts as a bench guy with a ton of upside.
Although inconsistent, Ebron has shown the ability to be able to be a game-changer for an offense at times. After being released by the Lions, he was quickly picked up by the Indianapolis Colts. Ebron conjured up 574 yards on 53 receptions and 4 touchdowns in 2017 and was a top 15 tight end across all formats in fantasy football. While he likely won’t hit those numbers again this season, he will however be in a battle with Jack Doyle for that TE1 position. Maybe a bit of stiff competition is what he needs to take a step to the next level providing he can learn to hold on to the targets he receives after a season of being famed for dropping catches. Look for Ebron to make a sneaky comeback with his new change in scenery, especially with Andrew Luck throwing him the ball as we all know that he loves throwing to his tight ends… providing he’s actually back this time.
Thank you for reading my article- make sure you look out for more articles here on the acorssthefantasypond.com as we wrap up the free agency period and draft season.
By Jason Worley – @JW8605