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Before we take a deeper dive into the 2016 Rookie Tight Ends, I thought we’d take a step back and talk about the position as a whole

If you’ve ever read my articles in the past, you might remember that there are two positions I have a soft spot in my heart for: Catchers in Fantasy Baseball and Tight Ends in Fantasy Football. It’s no coincidence that I happened to play those two positions on my high school teams. (I still don’t know why they had a tight end on the baseball field, but whatever.)

For catchers, they get the least credit on the field, with nearly no face recognition because of a helmet and mask, yet they likely do the most work, dealing with pitchers, defense and hitting.

For tight ends, they’re also multi-tooled players, working on both blocking at the line of scrimmage and running routes in the passing game. Both of these positions also have in common the fact they usually take longer to develop because of the extra work they have to learn.

It’s quite uncommon to see a first-year tight end become Fantasy viable from a drafting standpoint, although, rookies can be useful in DFS play, for sure, because of their low salaries.

Looking at the past few years, the only rookie tight ends really to make any Fantasy noise in that first season was Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, back in 2010. Speaking of that rookie class, there probably has never been a better group of Rookie Tight Ends as that one:

  • Rob Gronkowski, New England
  • Aaron Hernandez, New England
  • Jimmy Graham, New Orleans
  • Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati
  • Dennis Piitta, Baltimore

We can now say that this group has overtaken the 2003 class of Dallas Clark, Jason Witten and Antonio Gates. This 2010 class of rookie tight ends is up there with the 1983 rookie quarterback class, 2008 rookie running backs class and 2014 rookie wide receivers.

2016 Fantasy Football Tight End Rookies

This year’s freshmen class of tight ends is pretty thin – and actually, the past couple years have been thinner than usual. I think part of that reason might be that some of these guys are seeing work as wide receivers in college and it’s not translating.




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Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers

Has there ever been a more perfectly named tight end than Hunter Henry? It just screams “big dude that goes up for the ball.”

This rookie out of Arkansas doesn’t have basketball height (6-foot-5), but he definitely has the soft hands of an NBA center. The Chargers let Ladarius Green go in free agency, so Henry steps up as the heir apparent to Antonio Gates, 37, who is coming off a PED suspension.

Head coach Mike McCoy and QB Philip Rivers love to use their tight ends, so if Gates gets injured, Henry should become an interesting DFS play.

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Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers

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David Gonos

David Gonos has been writing about Fantasy Sports online since 2000 – and playing Fantasy Sports since 1989. He has drafted both Curt Warner and Kurt Warner, along with Big Unit and Big Papi. A veteran of hundreds of drafts in the past 15 years alone, Gonos is closely acquainted with sleepers, breakouts and busts – as he has drafted many of all three. He was a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBSSports.com for five years, and he has been columnist on SI.com and FanDuel.com, while also getting published on MLB.com, NFL.com, FoxSports.com and USAToday.com.
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