2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Three busts at tight end, and DSTs to avoid
Heath Cummings looks for bust candidates at tight end and DST.
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When you go to pick busts for tight end and DST, you need to re-frame the discussion. These aren't necessarily early round picks who can ruin your draft. There are only three who would qualify by ADP, and I'm pretty fond of those guys. So instead I'm picking tight ends and defenses that I expect to underperform their ADP.
These are the picks to avoid at their current cost along with an alternative option.
Evan Engram is coming off one of the best rookie tight end seasons of the past 30 years, so I get why people are excited. But the circumstances have changed drastically.
In 2017, the Giants played most of the year without Odell Beckham and had virtually no run game. Now Beckham is healthy, and they have Saquon Barkley, a back who excels in the passing game. Beckham has commanded an average of 10 targets per game throughout his career, and you should probably anticipate another dozen at least for the combination of Barkley and Sterling Shepard.
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I have Engram right around 100 targets for the year, which means he's going to have to be far more efficient than he was last season to justify this ADP. Engram only caught 55 percent of his targets last year, and he'll deal with the same mediocre quarterback play from Eli Manning.
Finally, if the Giants actually run the ball more (and more successfully), 100 targets could be a bit of a pipe dream. I would feel comfortable drafting Engram around the eighth or ninth tight end off the board, which allows you a little upside for the cost. Unfortunately, he won't be available at that point. I'd rather take Delanie Walker or Kyle Rudolph.
I get the Jordan Reed love. He has enormous upside when he's on the field. He has a quarterback who loves throwing to tight ends. But he's played more than 12 games once in his pro career, and he's still not cleared for training camp after toe surgery. Washington has Vernon Davis locked up, and Davis was actually more productive than Reed (who never looked like himself) in 2017.
Reed is an excellent choice at the end of your draft as a second tight end with upside, but like Engram, he won't be available where he makes the most sense. If you want a high-upside tight end in the eighth round, take Trey Burton.
As I wrote in my tight end sleepers, Eric Ebron is the Colts' tight end I prefer, so I certainly wouldn't draft Doyle as a starter. The Colts' tight end needed 108 targets in 2017 to produce 690 yards and four touchdowns. Sure Andrew Luck would help that efficiency, if it wasn't for Ebron.
I expect a significant reduction in targets for Doyle, and expect he'll be a streamer at best. The Colts' lack of talent at receiver definitely means Ebron and Doyle could be among Luck's favorite targets, but I'd much rather draft Ebron at the end of the draft than Doyle in the 10th round.
Naming busts at tight end is a challenge. At DST? It's kind of ridiculous. After all, no one is taking a defense before the double-digit rounds, right? Well, a lot of people must be doing just that with the Jacksonville Jaguars, because they have a ninth-round ADP. Now it is true that Jacksonville was the by far and away the best defense in the NFL last year. The Jags are also a very young defense with several players who could be even better in 2018. But let's take a look at the past five No. 1 defenses in Fantasy and how they performed the following year:
- 2012 Broncos, #10 in 2013
- 2013 Seahawks, #5 in 2014
- 2014 Eagles, #7 in 2015
- 2015 Broncos, #5 in 2016
- 2016 Vikings, #13 in 2017
Now that's not to say the Jaguars are going to be bad this year. I still have them ranked as my No. 1 DST. But by picking them 4-5 rounds earlier than the average defense, you're acting like it's a guarantee. Hopefully you can see that is not the case.
If the rest of your league doesn't reach for the Jaguars, they're a fine 11th- or 12th-round pick, but otherwise I'd rather wait until the last two rounds and take the Texans.
Another defense I'm feeling uncomfortable with is the Broncos. They've been good for so long that it's hard to imagine a dropoff, but I have concerns about their run defense and their depth in the secondary. This feels like a defense that could go downhill in a hurry with just one or two key injuries. It is also being drafted well ahead of the Chargers and Saints, who are both younger and have more upside.
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