Troy Niklas reeled in all four targets for 33 yards and two touchdowns during the 2015 season.
Serving in a strict reserve role this season, Niklas nonetheless fared much better on the injury front, appearing in every game versus the seven that he was contained to as a rookie in 2014. However, both Darren Fells (restricted) and Jermaine Gresham (unrestricted) are free agents, which may result in a jump up the depth chart. Niklas' pedigree as a second-round pick would warrant such a promotion, but he still must put in the work to deserve an expanded target count.
Troy Niklas tallied two touchdown receptions during Sunday's victory in Cleveland.
Niklas was the beneficiary of two red-zone looks, scoring from 11 yards and one yard, but Carson Palmer otherwise looked elsewhere among his 38 throws. Such is the life of a reserve tight end, though Niklas has picked up increased run during Darren Fells' (shoulder) two-game absence. Niklas' usage during that span has lagged behind current starter Jermaine Gresham -- 43 percent of the offensive snaps, versus 82 percent for the veteran -- a breakdown that likely won't last if Fells is able to return after the Cardinals' Week 9 bye.
Troy Niklas was held without a catch Monday versus the Ravens, despite logging 27 of the Cardinals' 62 offensive snaps, Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910 Phoenix reports.
Niklas has been buried on the depth chart this season, with just one catch to his name in Week 6 against the Steelers. During that game, though, starting TE Darren Fells suffered a shoulder injury that is expected to force two or three absences. In Fells' first absence, Niklas played second fiddle to Jermaine Gresham in the pecking order, as the veteran tight end notched four catches (on six targets) for 62 yards. With little usage and sporadic targets across 14 career games, there's no indication that Niklas is anything more than fantasy waiver-wire fodder.
With three consecutive full practices to his name, Niklas should be fine to serve as the Cardinals' No. 3 tight end, after logging just three snaps in Week 1.
The 52nd overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, Niklas has a 6-6, 270-pound frame that should at least make him useful as a blocker, but he's struggled to stay healthy thus far.
In Sunday's regular season opener, Niklas was a distance third in terms of tight-end snaps, earning three to Jermaine Gresham's 24 and Darren Fells' 52 (among 62 for the offense).
Due to the lack of reps, it was no surprise that Niklas wasn't even targeted. In any case, the rare full showing in drills bodes well for active status yet again Sunday at Chicago, but he'll likely remain third in the TE pecking order.
|P2||8/19/16||@ SD||9:00 pm|
|P3||8/28/16||@ HOU||4:00 pm|
|3||9/25/16||@ BUF||1:00 pm|
|5||10/6/16||@ SF||8:25 pm|
|8||10/30/16||@ CAR||4:25 pm|
|Bye: Week 9|
|11||11/20/16||@ MIN||1:00 pm|
|12||11/27/16||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|14||12/11/16||@ MIA||1:00 pm|
|16||12/24/16||@ SEA||4:25 pm|
|17||1/1/17||@ LAR||4:25 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
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