2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Breaking down tight end ADP rankings
Jamey Eisenberg looks at the Average Draft Position for tight end heading into the 2018 season, searching for values at the position.
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Average Draft Position is one of the best tools you can use to prepare for your actual drafts. It's a great guide to help you see the range of where players are being selected in the majority of leagues.
As more Fantasy drafts take place leading into the start of the season, the ADP will change — perhaps dramatically — depending on the position. But that might not happen much at tight end, barring an injury.
For our ADP on CBS Sports, the top three tight ends are locked in with Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. Gronkowski is being selected in Round 2 at No. 20 overall, Kelce is going in early Round 3 at No. 26 overall and Ertz is at No. 35 overall.
The fun begins at tight end at No. 4, and as a reference point, the rankings for me, Dave Richard and Heath Cummings all differ on this spot. I like Greg Olsen, Richard likes Evan Engram, and Cummings favors Jimmy Graham.
ADP agrees with me and has Olsen at No. 4 at No. 62 overall. Graham comes in at No. 5 at No. 67 overall, and Engram is next at No. 69 overall. More on Engram below.
The rest of the top 10 includes, in order: Trey Burton (No. 83 overall), Delanie Walker (No. 89 overall), Kyle Rudolph (No. 95 overall) and Jordan Reed (No. 102 overall). I have no problem with this order or when these tight ends are coming off the board, beginning in Round 7. And Burton is my favorite of this group.
Good luck trying to figure out the tight ends from No. 11 on. Our rankings are all different, and ADP from this point will likely be where most of the changes occur prior to the start of September. The nice thing is this is where most of the value picks will come from tight end, which we'll also address here.
We're going to look at ADP for all the major positions over the next four weeks, and we also break down the overall ADP throughout the preseason. For tight end week, here is an undervalued tight end based on ADP, an overvalued one and some sleepers to targets with late-round picks.
Doyle's ADP was the first thing I noticed because it's so low at No. 129 overall. He's being drafted as the No. 21 tight end off the board, and that's ridiculous. I understand the fear with Eric Ebron joining the Colts, as well as the concern of Andrew Luck (shoulder) still not 100 percent coming into training camp. But I consider Doyle a No. 1 Fantasy tight end this year, and I have him ranked at No. 11.
Doyle was the No. 9 tight end in non-PPR leagues last year without Luck. He was fifth among tight ends in targets last season with 108 and second in receptions with 80, and Luck has a history of leaning on his tight ends, as does new coach Frank Reich. In 2016 with Luck, Doyle had 59 catches for 584 yards and five touchdowns on 75 targets, and his catches, yards and targets were second on the team that season behind T.Y. Hilton. While Ebron will play a prominent role, I'm confident in Doyle's rapport with Luck to keep his Fantasy value afloat.
If you can draft Doyle in Round 11 then consider yourself lucky.
Engram has the look of a standout talent based on his rookie campaign, and he could be worth drafting in Round 6 if the Giants offense is just explosive this season. But I'm expecting Engram to see a downturn in production from 2017 now that Odell Beckham is healthy, Saquon Barkley is on the roster and Sterling Shepard will still be a factor. Engram could go from leading the Giants in receptions last season to fourth on that list, and it's doubtful he'll lead the team in touchdowns again. There's also little chance he has over 100 targets again.
In looking at the tight ends behind him in ADP, I'd much rather have Burton, Walker and Rudolph. I'd settle for Engram in Round 9, but it's clear he will be gone by that point.
I've heard the argument that Engram will benefit from single coverage thanks to Beckham, and he could be a significant factor in the red zone (he had 11 red-zone targets in 2017, which was tied for 14th among tight ends). But if he doesn't score at least six touchdowns like he did last season, and his receptions and yards decline slightly, then he's a bust if you're drafting him at this spot.
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Sleepers to target
There are a lot of players who fall into this category given their ADP, including Doyle. So I'm just going to list my five favorite tight ends being drafted in Round 9 or later, and all of these guys are worth late-round fliers.
- Benjamin Watson, Saints (ADP - No. 117 overall)
- Mike Gesicki, Dolphins (ADP - No. 118 overall)
- George Kittle, 49ers (ADP - No. 123 overall)
- Hayden Hurst, Ravens (ADP - No. 143 overall)
- Ricky Seals-Jones, Cardinals (ADP - No. 158 overall)
Watson played for the Saints in 2015, which was the first season without Graham. He had 74 catches for 825 yards and six touchdowns on 109 targets that year, and hopefully he can replicate that performance in his return to New Orleans in 2018.
Gesicki gets to play for Dolphins coach Adam Gase, who once upon a time got great production from his tight ends in Denver and Chicago as offensive coordinator. The Dolphins also have to replace 112 catches, 987 yards and nine touchdowns on 160 targets with Jarvis Landry gone, and Gesicki should help with his scoring prowess (he scored nine touchdowns at Penn State last year).
Kittle led the 49ers with 16 red-zone targets last year, and he had two games with double digits in Fantasy points in a non-PPR league of the five games he played with Jimmy Garoppolo in 2017. Over 16 games with Garoppolo, Kittle could be a candidate for at least eight touchdowns.
Hurst ended up with a Ravens team that targeted their top three tight ends (Watson, Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams) 134 times last year, which resulted in 104 catches for 811 yards and five touchdowns. In 2016, Dennis Pitta by himself had 116 targets for 86 catches, 729 yards and two touchdowns. Hurst should be a favorite target for Joe Flacco, especially with Baltimore having a rebuilt receiving corps.
Seals-Jones should benefit with Jermaine Gresham (Achilles) out, and one Cardinals beat writer has already pegged Seals-Jones as the team's breakout offensive player in 2018. If Sam Bradford wins the starting quarterback job in Arizona, he has a good track record of leaning on his tight ends, with Ertz in 2015 in Philadelphia and Rudolph in 2016 in Minnesota.
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