“This year’s class of Fantasy Rookie Tight Ends are stacked!’ said nobody… ever.
Sure, the Tight End position can get overlooked during your Fantasy Football research, but it’s not a position that you can ignore completely. In fact, given the scarcity at the position, you may want to invest an early pick to grab one of the Top 5 TEs in this year’s draft.
If you decide to opt out of drafting a Top 5 TE, you’ll likely be in the market for a value pick late in the draft. You may even want to consider some of the TEs drafted in the 2017 NFL draft, including O.J. Howard, David Njoku, Gerald Everett, Evan Engram, Jake Butt and Adam Shaheen.
There are a number of options at the Tight End position that have boom/bust potential, especially within the rookie class.
I’ll help you determine how much of an impact the top draft picks may have, and whether or not you should draft them in 2017.
2017 Fantasy Rookie Tight Ends
Which Rookies will Have an Impact?
O.J. Howard, TB
The most talked about Rookie TE has been O.J. Howard, and for good reason. Drafted by the Bucs in the first round, Howard seems to have the highest ceiling of any Rookie TE. With that said, he’ll have to compete with a third-year pro from Harvard, Cameron Brate, who had a breakout season last year. Howard has the physical tools to be a solid TE1, but if you draft him you’ll have to be patient.
Meanwhile, if you had your eye on Cameron Brate, you better look elsewhere. A team typically doesn’t draft a TE in the first round unless they have plans to start them … soon. Although Brate may be the Week 1 starter, Howard should be the TE1 by the end of the year. Brate was a big loser in this year’s draft.
No question, O.J. Howard was a winner at the NFL draft this year.
David Njoku, CLE
The second TE selected in the 2017 NFL draft was David Njoku from the University of Miami. Njoku is no joke when it comes to athletic ability. He runs a 4.6 40-yard dash, has a 37.5-inch vertical, and a 133-inch broad jump. Njoku also ran track in High School, where he was the national high-jump champion after clearing a 7-foot high jump! Combine this with the fact that he’s 6’4” and 246 lbs., and you can see why he was a
Combine this with the fact that he’s 6’4” and 246 lbs., and you can see why he was a first-round selection. With that said he’s still a bit raw, only having played 22 games at the University of Miami.
What does this mean for Gary Barnidge’s Fantasy value? Similar to Cameron Brate, I expect Barnidge to be the Week 1 starter, while Njoku continues to develop. Njoku should out-snap Barnidge by the middle of the season, and depending on what the QB situation looks like in Cleveland, he could be a relevant fantasy option later in the year.
I like David Njoku, but anybody drafted by the Browns can’t be considered a winner. In fact, I’d say both Barnidge and Njoku are losers.
Gerald Everett, LAR
Of all the Rookie TEs drafted this year, I believe that Gerald Everett will be the best Fantasy option in 2017. If you haven’t heard much of him, don’t worry you’re not alone. Everett played just one year of high school football, although he was a standout on the hardwood.
He attended three different Colleges in three years, including Hutchinson Community College, Alabama-Birmingham and South Alabama. While playing football at Alabama-Birmingham and South Alabama, he never eclipsed 50 receptions or five TDs in a single season.
Everett was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams and is expected to compete for the starting TE position with Tyler Higbee, a sixth-round selection in 2016. Despite limited experience, Gerald Everett showed how elusive he is once he has the ball in his hands, as he led all tight ends with 24 forced missed tackles in 2016, nine more than any other tight end.
Everett has drawn comparisons to future Hall of Famer, Antonio Gates, with his ability to box out defenders and make difficult catches in traffic. Jared Goff is in desperate need of a reliable check-down option, and Everett may be that guy!
I hereby proclaim Gerald Everett the biggest winner in this year’s NFL draft.
Other Fantasy Football Tight Ends to Consider in 2017
Evan Engram will be competing with Larry Donnell, but I don’t expect there to be much of a competition. The former first team SEC Tight End should run away with this job early in training camp. Engram could be a sneaky Fantasy pick, as most defenses will be focused on stopping Odell Beckham Jr and Brandon Marshall, opening up big seams for the former Ole Miss TE. Engram has to be considered a winner in the 2017 NFL draft.
Jake Butt is in a similar position as Engram, with the only difference being QB competency. Butt will have Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders on either side of him, so he should draw a lot of favorable matchups if deemed the starter.
Although he doesn’t have a lot of competition ahead of him, I also don’t expect the fifth round pick to make an immediate impact. Ahead of him on the depth chart will likely be Virgil Green, A.J. Derby, and potentially Jeff Herman. Sorry, Jake, you’re getting the Butt on this and made my loser list of the 2017 NFL draft.
If we were making picks based on size, Adam Shaheen would be the topTE in this year’s Fantasy Football draft. Shaheen is the size of an offensive lineman, at 6’6” 280 LBS. With that said, he won’t blow you away with his speed, or athletic ability, but he has potential to be a big Redzone target.
What’s curious about Shaheen is that he doesn’t have great run/pass blocking skills, something you’d expect out of a 280 LB guy. He should take a backseat to Zach Miller and possibly Dion Sims to start the year, but I’d expect him to get plenty of snaps in the Redzone. Adam Shaheen may be the BIGGEST loser in size, but he’s just an average loser on this list.
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