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Fantasy College Football: Top Five New Starting Tight Ends/Kickers

The golden age of fantasy tight ends that we all experienced in the past several seasons with Jaylen Samuels, Adam Breneman, and Mark Andrews has come to an end. Kickers may not be as depleted as other years, but it’s important to establish the next men up at the position. Listed below are the top five new tight ends and kickers for the 2018 season.

Tight Ends

5. Ross Painter, Arkansas State

Arkansas State will have one of best passing offenses in 2018 with the return of Justice Hansen. Blake Mack finished third for the Red Wolves in receptions and receiving yards last season as a tight end with 618 yards on 48 receptions. Ross Painter spent last season playing for Northeast Mississippi Community College where he accounted for 300 yards on 25 receptions in six games. His production will surely increase in 2018 with Hansen at the helm and the reliance on a pass-catching tight end that the Red Wolf offense demands.

4. Michael Irvin II

The son of Dallas Cowboys and Miami Hurricane great Michael Irvin, Irvin II will take over for Chris Herndon, who has graduated and will enter the NFL Draft. Miami has produced legendary tight ends in the past, with Jeremy Shockey, Jimmy Graham, and Greg Olsen all coming from The U. Michael Irvin II will step in for Herndon, who finished last season with 40 receptions and 477 yards. Should Irvin rise to the occasion in 2018, he will follow in line with Herndon and Njoku, who finished among the top fantasy tight ends.

3. Nigel Kilby, Louisville

Louisville tight ends have sneakily been among the best fantasy tight ends in the ACC. Whether you look at Gerald Christian’s 60 receptions and 810 yards with nine touchdowns in his two seasons as a Cardinal or Cole Hikutini leading the team in receptions with 50 with 688 receiving yards in 2016, Louisville tight ends have a history of putting up numbers. At 6-foot-8, 250 pounds, Nigel Kilby looks the part and certainly showed off his red zone prowess at Garden City Community College last season with 10 touchdowns. Jawon Pass isn’t going to be Lamar Jackson, but Kilby will still produce just like the previous tight ends with an improved arm at quarterback.

2. T.J. Hockenson, Iowa

This may come as a surprise considering Noah Fant is considered among the best options at tight end in 2018, but hear me out. Matt VandeBerg is out of the picture after a five-year career as a Hawkeye, and Iowa needs another receiving option to fill the void. As the fourth option for the Hawkeyes last season, Hockenson accounted for 320 yards on 24 receptions (13.3 avg). Hockenson has potential to sit alongside Noah Fant as two of the best options at tight end, and you can get Hockenson without drafting him.

1. Grant Calcaterra, Oklahoma

Mark Andrews finished his last season as an Oklahoma Sooner with 958 yards on 62 receptions, which, if you didn’t know, is a lot of yards for a tight end. Grant Calcaterra is a 6-foot-3 sophomore out of Santa Margarita, California and made a name for himself in 2017 after a phenomenal catch for his lone touchdown against TCU last season. Calcaterra fights for the ball enough to win most of the 50/50 balls thrown his way, and given that Oklahoma won’t miss a beat with Kyler Murray at the helm, Calcaterra could easily be the best fantasy option available next season.


5. Miles Butler, Kentucky

Kentucky may not have the flashiest offense in the nation — or the SEC, for that matter — but their special teams seem to be among the best. Last season, Austin MacGinnis nailed nine field goals from 40+ yards and made the seventh most field goals in the NCAA. Given that Kentucky has the fourth easiest schedule in the SEC this season, it’s safe to assume they will be able to at least make it into field goal range more often than not. Miles Butler is the next man up for the Wildcats, and given that they return key player Benny Snell on offense, he should have ample opportunity to kick this season.

4. Jack Crane, Washington State

It’s simple, really. An offense that will score a lot will produce a kicker that scores a lot. Jack Crane is the next man up for Washington State with the departure of Erik Powell. In an off year, the Cougars scored 46 extra points on 47 attempts with 22 field goals made. Washington State won’t contend for anything this season with so many key losses on offense, but you can almost assure that Mike Leach’s Air Raid system will put points on the board. Sometimes it is just that simple.

3. Nicholas McLellan, Kansas State

Kansas State has been on the outskirts of the Big 12 Title game since the departure of Collin Klien. However, last season they produced a top-20 fantasy kicker in Matthew McCrane due to consistent offensive play. This season, whether Alex Delton or Skylar Thompson starts, will feature one of the better offenses we’ve seen from K State, leading to a better situation for Nicholas McLellan. The Big 12 features some of the best offenses and most lackluster defenses in all of football, which always bodes well for their fantasy owners.

2. Anders Carlson, Auburn

Don’t get me wrong, Daniel Carlson was a phenomenal talent for the Auburn Tigers. Whether or not Anders Carlson will be better than his brother has yet to be determined, but what has been determined is that Jarrett Stidham is returning. Auburn kicked 31 field goals in 2017, which was top five in the NCAA, while also kicking 57 extra points. I’ve seen Carlson kick in pregame from 50-plus yards, so the talent is definitely there. Now he has his chance to prove it.

1. Brad Farlow, Louisiana Tech

A great kicker can do one of two things: kick from field-goal range, and kick a lot of extra points. Given that La Tech has boasted one of the best offenses in the NCAA since Skip Holtz took over in 2013, it’s safe to assume that Brad Farlow could easily follow in Jonathan Barnes’ footsteps. Barnes kicked the second most field goals in all of college football (FBS, FCS, Div II) last season, and the Bulldogs return their two best offensive players in J’Mar Smith and Teddy Veal. Farlow is in for a big season if he can capitalize on his chances.

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