If you’ve been following along with my series of who to draft, you should have a pretty solid idea of what you need on your fantasy football team. I’ve given you the five wide receivers you need to draft and where to take them; the five running backs to center your roster around; and then three late round quarterback pairings. That leaves one critical position left to fill.
Drafting Jimmy Graham in the second round is a sure way to be critically weak at running back or wide receiver, and selecting Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez or Vernon Davis in the middle rounds is overpaying for mediocre production. Rob Gronkowski in the 4th round is a high upside pick, but one that you don’t have to make considering the options available later.
What follows are 4 tight end options that can be had in round 9 or later in 12 team drafts. All of these players have significant upside and are being undervalued by your leaguemates.
Coby Fleener: ADP TE22
I’m not gonna lie to you guys, Coby Fleener hasn’t had a great preseason. He’s been banged up twice, ran the wrong routes and had a touchdown punched out of his hands. I don’t particularly care. Guy’s that are as athletic as Fleener at the tight end position are named Graham and Gronkowski, and Fleener’s quarterback is just about to enter the ranks of the elite. With Dwayne Allen suffering from an ailing foot, Fleener is all the Colts have at tight end and he’s going to be on the field. The recipe is simple. Incredible athletic ability, elite quarterback, and opportunity equals a fantasy sleeper at a scare position.
Jordan Cameron: ADP TE14
If you take anything away from this article, it should be this: drafting Jordan Cameron in the 9th round or later is free money. The last time we saw a meteoric rise in ADP from a tight end with the out of this world physical measureables, we got Jimmy Graham’s 2011. I’m not saying that Cameron is Jimmy Graham, but as an athlete, the two guys are almost the same guy, but Cameron is taller. Obviously, Brandon Weeden isn’t Drew Brees, but the Norv Turner vertical passing offense is a perfect fit for both Weeden and Cameron. Tight end whisperer Rob Chudzinski is the head coach, and given what he has done for Greg Olsen and Antonio Gates, Cameron is going to have a bright 2013.
Zach Sudfeld: ADP TE21
Rob Gronkowski might healthy sooner rather than later, but I’m not entirely convinced that means Sudfeld won’t be a useful fantasy option. The 6’7 bro from Nevada is a perfect redzone option for the Patriots, even with Gronk back on the field. Week 2 of the preseason saw the hype on Sudfeld increase and it’s pretty justifiable. With the uhh… difficulties that the Patriots have head at both wide receiver and tight end this offseason, it’s pretty reasonable to assume that Sufeld will remain on the field even when Gronk returns. Anyone on the field with Tom Brady for signifiant snaps is going to have value and at a tight end position lacking impact talent, Sudfeld should be a late round target.
Ladarius Green: ADP TE41
Ladarius Green is Antonio Gates 2.0, which works out pretty well because he is theoretically Gates’ back up. I say theoretically because Gates is 33 years old, slow and just doesn’t look like he’s in shape. Even if Gates stays healthy and somewhat effective, the Chargers are going to start using Green in 2 tight end sets. He is the best athlete on the Chargers roster and it would just be bad coaching to not utilize him. With Vincent Brown likely the least capable WR1 in the entire league, Ladarius Green is the last man standing on an offense that is going to need someone to move the chains and be effective in the redzone. At this price, you can’t find a better buy.