Fantasy owners are in a tricky spot when it comes to Lions tight end Eric Ebron. When you look at his size, speed and overall potential, you can't help but become enamored with him. When you look at his track record, however, you can't help but become disgusted with him. Ebron finished as a top-15 tight end in 2015, despite missing two games and despite posting six Fantasy points or less nine times. His inconsistency is maddening, especially when you recognize his potential. There's a chance Ebron's opportunities get a big boost with Calvin Johnson retiring, and that could be enough to convince Fantasy owners to target him late. There's almost no risk going with Ebron with a pick in Round 11 or later, but be prepared to move on from him quickly if he doesn't establish any consistency early on.
Ebron has been sidelined at OTAs due to an undisclosed injury, Tim Twentyman of Detroitlions.com reports. The Lions will wrap up OTAs on Friday, then begin a three-day mandatory minicamp next Tuesday. Although Ebron has missed the entirety of OTAs, there hasn't been any indication his injury is serious, and he has still been present as an observer. With Calvin Johnson retired and the Lions lacking other pass-game options at tight end, Ebron figures to be a key piece in the aerial attack this season under offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter.
Ebron missed Thursday's OTA due to an unspecified injury, Tim Twentyman of Detroitlions.com reports. Ebron is expected to be one of the main receiving targets for quarterback Matthew Stafford this season now that Calvin Johnson has retired, but the team doesn't seem to be too worried that Ebron missed practice. Head coach Jim Caldwell said in reference to Ebron, "He's coming along, so we've got a few guys with some bumps and bruises and some issues, but he should be back." While it remains unclear why the tight end is out, it doesn't appear he'll be out for too much longer, and he should be considered day to day for a return to practice.
Ebron hopes to help the void in the Detroit passing offense created by the departure of wideout Calvin Johnson, MLive.com reports. "I'm going to try to be (QB) Matthew (Stafford)'s safety net, his best friend on the football field," Ebron said. "You always have to find that one guy, and I'm not going to say right now it's going to me, but that's what I'm going to work for, work toward during OTAs and minicamp." Also in the mix to be key passing targets for the Lions in 2016, in an offense minus Johnson -- who recorded 88 catches for 1,214 yards and nine TDs last season -- are the likes of returning wideout Golden Tate (90 catches in 2015) and newcomer Marvin Jones. Still, with the 6-foot-5 Johnson no longer an option in the red zone, it's not hard to imagine Ebron seeing an uptick in targets there, and in general, following a 2015 season in which his 69 targets over 14 games resulted in a 47/537/5 line.
Ebron snagged 47 of 69 targets for 537 yards and five touchdowns during the 2015 season. Ebron missed two games in the middle of the season with an injury, but was a consistent performer otherwise - catching at least four passes in eight of 14 games. For the season, Ebron ranked tied for ninth among tight ends with five touchdowns and, like many of his teammates, could see an increased role depending on whether or not Calvin Johnson returns to Detroit in 2016. If not, Ebron should see far less competition for red-zone looks.
Ebron caught five passes off of seven targets for 25 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's win over Chicago. Ebron helped snap a fourth-quarter tie with a one-yard touchdown catch in the back of the end zone, snapping a three-game scoreless streak. Season two wasn't exactly a coming out party for Ebron, but eight games of at least four catches out of 14 isn't too shabby, especially considering he ended the year with three such performances. Like most of Detroit's offensive players, his future value is tied to whether Calvin Johnson stays or not. If Megatron departs, Ebron should see more red-zone targets in 2016.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/25||@Green Bay Packers||21||7.78|
|6||10/16||Los Angeles Rams||25||8.25|
|13||12/04||@New Orleans Saints||33||12.38|
|15||12/18||@New York Giants||32||11.38|
|17||01/01||Green Bay Packers||21||7.78|
|3 Year Avg||58||36||392||3||20||10.89||57|