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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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Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

Higbee’s a player I actually really like for a couple reasons.

First, he’s a 6-foot-6 athlete that played in Western Kentucky’s high-flying pass attack. The Hilltoppers used Higbee a lot last season, and he found the paint for eight touchdowns – five more than Hunter Henry’s output at Arkansas in 2015.

Also, the fact that Higbee is coming into the Rams offense along with fellow rookie Jared Goff, who is expected to run this offense for the next decade or so. These guys should become quick friends in practice, and with Jared Cook out of town, Higbee is really only behind Lance Kendricks on the roster.

Unfortunately, he was arrested for second-degree assault before the NFL Draft, and he might be facing an NFL suspension.

You’re not drafting him for your team — but you’re keeping an eye on him as an in-season pickup.

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Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

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