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Sleeper Tight Ends and Busts for Fantasy Football 2018

The tight end position can be frustrating for Fantasy Football. However, there is no doubt that finding value at the position can pay off for success on Fantasy rosters. Having a tight end that can be started every week regardless of the matchup is rare. It is even more rare to find a player that can do this in the later rounds of Fantasy drafts. Being able to locate these sleeper tight ends can save a lot of headaches and sometimes can be the difference between a win and a loss in contests.

Determining sleeper tight ends can be tricky but there are obvious criteria. The starter on a high-powered offense is a good start. How he is used in that offense combined with his draft price will be a factor in deciding if he actually does present value for 2018. Zach Ertz was the TE3 last season in standard scoring and he was drafted on average in the eighth round. Ertz’s production in 2017 was good enough to be a WR2.

A good sleeper tight ends piece would not be complete without evaluating the inevitable busts at the position. Spoiler alert: Do not draft tight ends early to avoid this scenario!

Let’s dive into some sleepers and busts – tight end style!

Sleeper Tight Ends for Fantasy Football

Cameron Brate, TE: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Simply put, Brate performs when Jameis Winston is playing. This will impact Brate’s first three games of the season as Winston is suspended but Brate was the TE8 last season solely because of his production on the field with his starting quarterback.

Brate had four touchdowns in the first five games of 2017 with Winston and was targeted heavily. From weeks 3 through 7 Brate’s targets were four, six, nine, eight, nine, and five. He was a startable asset in all of those games. When Winston came back from injury, Brate had a two-touchdown game in Week 12.  

Brate is one of the sleeper tight ends because he is not being drafted in standard scoring leagues. While his production will be limited at the beginning of the season, he is a great waiver wire pickup going into Week 4 when Winston returns. The Buccaneers signed Brate to a six-year, 40M dollar contract in the offseason. He is not going anywhere and is one of the best touchdown scorers at the tight end position in the NFL.

Mark Andrews, TE: Baltimore Ravens

Hayden Hurst is getting all of the buzz as he was the Ravens first round pick at 25 overall, but Mark Andrews profiles as a guy who can make a Fantasy impact in year-one in this Ravens offense. At 6’5”, 256 pounds Andrews 40-yard dash (4.67) and Speed Score (83rd percentile) jump out at you. His 62 receptions for 958 yards and eight touchdowns in his Junior season last year will make you consider taking him at the end of Fantasy drafts.

Andrews scored seven touchdowns in his Freshman and Sophomore years and the Ravens drafted him with this in mind. Joe Flacco and the Ravens have always utilized tight ends and line up in two-tight end sets often. Crockett Gillmore, Dennis Pitta, and Ben Watson have all had Fantasy success in the past five years in the same exact system.

Flacco will fall in love with Andrews although it may take time for the chemistry to develop. While rookie tight ends usually take a couple years to develop, this system is known for developing the position quickly. Keep an eye on Andrews as the preseason rolls around as he could be the TE1 from a Fantasy perspective on this offense.

You’re doing all the prep, now make it pay off! Head on over to Fantrax to start or join a Fantasy Football league. At Fantrax you can draft a team 364 days a year… Sorry, we had to give the IT guy one day off.

Ricky Seals-Jones, TE: Arizona Cardinals

Seals-Jones is the starter for the Cardinals going into  2018. Jermaine Gresham is still dealing with a torn achillies and his availability Week 1 is in question. That leaves Seals-Jones out of Texas A&M (born in Sealy, TX… seriously) who flashed in his rookie season. In Week 11 he was the TE1 overall with three receptions for 54 yards and two touchdowns. In Week 12 he was the TE5.

Seals-Jones profiles as a No. 1 tight end at 6’5”, 243 pounds. Where he excelled last year was in the red zone and after the catch. On only 12 receptions last season, Seals-Jones had 201 yards for an average of 16.8 yards per catch. His volume will increase in year-two and being paired up with Sam Bradford will ensure accurate passes underneath for the tight end.

Seals-Jones is one of the sleeper tight ends on this list as his current ADP is 14.01. The Cardinals start the season at home against the Redskins who gave up the seventh-most Fantasy points to the tight end. If Seals-Jones does not produce, his 14th round draft cost can be sacrificed and he can be dropped.


Tight End Busts

Tyler Eifert, TE: Cincinnati Bengals  

Eifert has a reputation as being a touchdown monster. Unfortunately, he has only had one season that proves this claim. In 2015 Eifert played 13 games and scored 13 touchdowns. Since then, he has only played 10 games. Eifert is the clear-cut starter on the Bengals when he is healthy but he has not been able to stay on the field.

Eifert has had two surgeries on his back and while he claims to be back to full health, it is yet to be determined if he will be ready for the start of training camp. Eifert is going in the 10th round of Fantasy drafts. What makes drafting him problematic is the concern to draft another tight end in case he is not ready for Week 1.

Fade Eifert this season and draft someone who you can plug and play without the glaring question marks.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE: Jacksonville Jaguars

Despite the hype that has always surrounded Austin Seferian-Jenkins, he has never had sustained Fantasy success for an entire season. While he had his share of off-field issues, Seferian Jenkins comeback to the NFL was highly anticipated. ASJ had his best statistical season in 2017 with the Jets with 50 catches for 357 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games.

ASJ will now be a Jaguar and the team hardly uses the tight end position. Mercedes Lewis led the team with 48 targets last season so it is realistic that Seferian-Jenkins’ 74 targets from last year will come down.

While ASJ is a bust candidate for all of 2018, it should be noted that the Jaguars play the Giants, who gave up the second-most Fantasy points to the position last season, in Week 1 . In the 13th round, ASJ is worth drafting and playing in that matchup. If he performs well he may be trade bait to a team who is desperate at the position. Seferian-Jenkins is being drafted on average in the 13th round.

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