Cameron Brate has devolved into a touchdown-or-bust Fantasy tight end, which isn't surprising given that he's not even the best tight end on his own team. Gifted with a large contract extension last summer, Brate will fill a role doing more blocking than receiving. You may like to know that of Brate's last 20 touchdowns over three years, 17 have come from Jameis Winston, 11 have come in Tampa Bay and all but one have come from inside 20 yards. He's been above 60 yards eight times over those three years, including zero times in 2018. Feel free to start Brate whenever you have a hunch he'll score a touchdown, but don't go into Week 1 with him as your only tight end. Jimmy Graham, Trey Burton and Ian Thomas figure to be better late-round picks.
Brate (hip) likely will miss OTAs and June minicamp, but he expects to be cleared for the start of training camp, Scott Reynolds of Pewter Report reports. In addition to providing a timeline for his return from January surgery, Brate revealed that he played the entire 2018 season -- all 16 games -- with a torn labrum in his hip. He suffered massive drop-offs for catches (30), receiving yards (289) and efficiency (5.9 yards per target), but he remained useful in the red zone with six scores on 12 chances. Brate's 20 touchdowns over the past three seasons are tied for second among tight ends, with Jameis Winston consistently throwing to his 245-pound target near the goal line. Now entering the second season of a five-year, $40.8 million contract with no guaranteed money beyond 2019, the 27-year-old expects to have a sizable role under new coach Bruce Arians, though O.J. Howard is locked in as Tampa's No. 1 tight end. Even if his rehab comes off without a hitch, Brate will have a tough time matching his target volume from 2016-17 (5.1 per game). His $7 million base salary for 2019 became fully guaranteed March 17, so the Bucs would need to trade him to realize any cap savings.
Brate is on the mend following arthroscopic surgery on a torn labrum in his hip last week, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. In addition to the aforementioned injury, bone fragments were removed from Brate's hip. According to Laine, Brate opted to play through the injury for most of the season, missing no practice time in the process. On a positive note, Brate is expected to be healthy by the conclusion of the offseason program in June. In the recently concluded campaign, he fell far short of his yardage totals from 2016 (660) and 2017 (591) -- 289 at 5.9 yards per target -- but his six touchdowns still tied for fourth most among tight ends. Both Brate and O.J. Howard (ankle) are locked into contracts through at least 2020, but the more experience gained by the latter, the less the former may be able to fulfill the six-year deal he inked last offseason.
Brate brought in two of his three targets for eight yards in the Buccaneers' 27-20 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday. Lines like these have unfortunately become the norm for Brate, even in the wake of O.J. Howard's season-ending ankle and foot injuries. The ascension to the clear-cut No. 1 tight end role hasn't had any appreciable impact on the veteran's production, as he hasn't topped three receptions or 36 yards in any of the five games in which he's held that spot. Brate does have three touchdowns over that stretch, but two came in one contest against the Saints in Week 14. An exploitable matchup in the form of the Falcons defense awaits Week 17, but Brate's recent body of work doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
Brate secured one of two targets for nine yards in the Buccaneers' 20-12 loss to the Ravens on Sunday. On the heels of a two-touchdown performance Week 14, Brate's one-catch effort was significantly disappointing, especially in the heart of the fantasy postseason. The four-year veteran's middling production may not be truly representative of what he might be able to offer over the final pair of contests as the primary pass-catching tight end, however, as the combination of wet weather conditions and the Ravens' suffocating defense certainly did the passing game no favors Sunday. Brate will look to bounce back Week 16 against a Cowboys defense that's tied with the Bengals for the third-most receptions allowed to the tight end position (77).
Brate brought in three of six targets for 36 yards in the Buccaneers' 24-17 win over the Panthers on Sunday. As expected, Brate played a relatively modest complementary role in the Buccaneers' passing attack, and he actually drew even with the starting receiver duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in targets. Brate should be in for a slight boost in his overall numbers over the season's remaining games while filling the role of primary pass-catching tight end, although his overall upside remains limited when all top four Tampa wideout options are healthy.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/08||San Francisco 49ers||4||4.75|
|3||09/22||New York Giants||19||7.38|
|4||09/29||@Los Angeles Rams||23||7.89|
|5||10/06||@New Orleans Saints||14||6.22|
|11||11/17||New Orleans Saints||14||6.22|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||69||45||513||7||30||11.40||93|