The tight end position is one of the most interesting from a fantasy perspective. If you don’t get one of the top few guys, it may be worth waiting to draft a couple late-round guys with high upside. I’ve selected several interesting late round TEs and discussed their pros and cons. I don’t necessarily like or dislike and of these players, as they all have risks, but they also have their upsides that could label them as fantasy steals for 2015.
Owen Daniels (DEN) (101.1 Avg Pick Yahoo)
The Good: Coach Kubiak loves his TE’s and seems to take Owen Daniels with him wherever he goes. Teaming up with Peyton Manning doesn’t hurt either, especially since a lot of Julius Thomas’ red zone targets are up for grabs. Daniels has a shot a getting double-digit TD’s.
The Bad: He’s turning 33 this year and not getting any younger. The Broncos re-signed Virgil Green and although in the past he was only really used for his blocking ability, they may try to use him a lot more in the passing game this year. There are reports that Green will be the starter this year, and that may put a limit on Daniels’ upside.
Antonio Gates (SD) (110.8)
The Good: He keeps producing year after year. Last year he finished with 821 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s tied to a pretty good QB in Philip Rivers, who likes targeting him in the red zone.
The Bad: Gates was suspended for PED use and will miss the first 4 games of the season. Ladarius Green will get the starting TE job for the first 4 weeks, and it’s possible that Green could shine and steal some snaps from Gates by the time he returns.
Vernon Davis (SF) (128.3)
The Good: Reports are that he’s had a great training camp, and worked hard in the off-season to get in the best physical shape he has been in a long time. New offensive coordinator Geep Chryst wants to get him more involved in the offense, and it looks like San Francisco’s defense will be pretty bad this year, so they should be throwing the football a lot.
The Bad: He’s coming off the worst season of his career last year, with a total of 245 yards and 2 touchdowns, which both came in week 1. He’s not ancient but not young anymore either at age 31. It would take quite the bounce-back to return to a fantasy worthy TE, especially working with the inaccurate and inconsistent Colin Kaepernick.
Josh Hill (NO) (128.7)
The Good: Jimmy Graham is gone and there are a lot of targets to go around in New Orleans coming from one of the best passing quarterbacks of our generation, Drew Brees. In a limited role last year, he gave us a glimpse of his potential, posting a very efficient 14-176-5 on just 20 targets.
The Bad: He doesn’t have a clear path to the starting TE job, and it looks as if Ben Watson currently is first on the depth chart. This could remain a committee all season, which would limit Hill’s upside.
Tyler Eifert (CIN) (129.5)
The Good: He’s finally healthy after dealing with injuries the first couple seasons of his career. We know he has talent as he was a first round pick back in 2013, and now that Gresham is gone, the door is open for Eifert to have a breakout year.
The Bad: He hasn’t really proven anything yet, and until we see him as the starting TE in a real game situation, it’s unknown what his upside actually is. It could be 1000-10, or it could be 400-3.
Ladarius Green (SD) (129.6)
The Good: Every year we talk about his talent and potential, but he never really had a shot to show it while being behind Gates on the depth chart. This year he will be the starter for the first four weeks as Gates serves his suspension, and it is expected that he puts up mid-range TE1 numbers during that span.
The Bad: Once Gates returns, it is expected that Green returns to the backup role. Green will have to be great in the first four weeks to garner enough playing time to be fantasy worthy after week 4.