Even with limited bench space, I always like to try and focus on adding at least one tight end sleeper to my roster.
The waiver wire is brutal in terms of finding a surprise tight end star, so identifying tight end sleepers to select during your draft is crucial. Most Fantasy Football players slept on Antonio Gates last season, but those who gave him a chance were rewarded.
The 2015 Fantasy Football tight end pool initially appears deeper than previous seasons, and there are a lot of players who could greatly exceed their average draft positions. It also won’t cost you an arm and a leg to give these guys a roster spot, as 18 tight ends have ADPs in Round 7 or later on FantasyFootballCalculator.com.
Even in daily Fantasy Football, you can have two tight ends on your roster on DraftKings, and tight ends normally have a much less expensive salary cap. They can still give you big results, however, so the position is almost seeing a revival. While it’s nice to own Rob Gronkowski, you can still select strong options in your draft.
2015 Tight End Sleepers
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) August 5, 2015
Last season, I drafted Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olsen in one of my leagues. My plan was that Olsen was a solid, but not exciting option who could hold the fort down until Gronkowski returned to form. It worked out better than I expected, and I was able to start Gronk in my tight end spot and Olsen in a flex spot because each player offered great production. I think you can utilize Walker in a similar fashion or just rely on him as your main tight end.
Despite a troubled quarterback committee, Walker saw 108 targets, 890 receiving yards, 13 catches of 20 yards or more and tied Kendall Wright for the most first downs on the team. He only scored four touchdowns, but with only 20 passing touchdowns on the season, Walker accounted for 20 percent of touchdowns through the air. I also wrote an article about how rookie and mobile quarterbacks tend to target their tight ends, and Marcus Mariota may certainly lean on his 248-pound tight end to move the chains.
Walker is currently available in Round 11 or later.
Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
With a four-game suspension, most Fantasy Football players are once again writing off Gates. As long as you don’t rely on him as your main tight end, however, you could use this to your advantage.
Every Fantasy Football player has dealt with the Ladarius Green hype stories, but we are still waiting to see what he can do after two years. I think if he could have overthrown Gates he would have done it, so I’m not very big on him keeping a large role when Gates returns from his suspension. Gates’ return will be on Monday Night Football, at home, against a weak Pittsburgh Steelers defense, so keep that in mind for your daily Fantasy Football plans as well.
The one area of concern I have around Gates is the fact that he recorded several of his touchdowns in multiple games, and he also had nine games where he didn’t reach the end zone. His 69 receptions help to boost his value in PPR leagues, however, and you can draft him Round 13.
Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts
— Joliet Catholic (@JCAonline) August 6, 2015
Even if the Indianapolis Colts run more three and even four-wide receiver sets, that doesn’t mean Fleener and Dwayne Allen are going to disappear.
Fleener and Allen each hauled in eight touchdowns last season, and Fleener finished with 774 receiving yards. Initially, each tight end had fell off my radar a little bit because I didn’t want to deal with one having a good week while the other didn’t contribute. I talked with the publisher of Colts Blitz about Fleener and Allen, and I reconsidered my position on not only Fleener, but on Allen as well, which I shared in a recent article.
Allen only has one 16-game season under his belt, and Fleener has a long history with Andrew Luck as his teammate and roommate in college. Allen is the better blocker so he essentially should see more opportunities, but if he gets hurt, that is a major boost in Fleener’s stock. He’s available at the start of Round 14, so it won’t hurt to give him a bench spot to see how he works out.
Luck’s tight ends accounted for 40 percent of his total touchdowns, so that makes Fleener extremely undervalued.
Check back with the So-Called Fantasy Experts for rankings, strategy articles and tools to dominate your 2015 Fantasy Football leagues.
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