A third-round pick in 2012, aforementioned Allen caught 45 balls as a rookie before a hip injury cost him all but one game in 2013. There’s massive upside here, but the presence of Fleener will cost him targets in the short-term…A knee injury ended Travis Kelce’s rookie season before it started, but the 2013 third-round pick is Kansas City’s long-term answer at the tight end position. It’s probable that the 24 year old will be the team’s starter by Week 1, but veteran Anthony Fasano won’t make life easy.
Jared Cook has never quite exploded into the superstar fantasy tight end we all expected, but he was No. 11 in points at the position last year – his first with St. Louis. Cook has all the tools, is in his prime at 27, and the Rams’ offensive is improving around him…Charles Clay took major advantage of Dustin Keller’s season-ending injury last season. Expected to carve out an NFL role as a situational H-Back, Clay busted onto the fantasy scene with 69 receptions, 759 yards and six touchdowns. He was No. 7 in fantasy points at tight end. Only 25, he’ll eventually face competition from Dion Sims, but Clay has earned himself a full-time role in Miami.
Troy Niklas was a second-round selection by Arizona in May’s draft. Niklas will be a long-term NFL starter, but his profile is similar to that of an in-line blocker like Anthony Fasano. Niklas doesn’t have as high a ceiling as the three rookie tight ends mentioned earlier, but he figures to settle in as a solid TE2 option…Jermichael Finley remains a free agent and still recovering from last season’s neck injury. Expected to be cleared in time for Week 1, 27-year-old Finley has the skills to push for TE1 consideration if he lands a prominent offensive role.
Gavin Escobar, Vance McDonald, and Ryan Griffin were all selected in the 2013 draft. Escobar will play more as a sophomore and is being groomed as a potential in-house replacement for Witten. McDonald is backing up 30-year-old Davis in what has become a crowded San Francisco offense. Griffin showed flashes of TE1 ability as a rookie and is competing with Garrett Graham to start in Houston. All three tight ends have size and/or pass-catching ability working in their favor. Colt Lyerla is arguably the best receiving tight end in the 2014 rookie class, but off-the-field issues led to him going undrafted in May. Lyerla could not have picked a better landing spot, however, signing with tight end-needy and high-scoring Green Bay. A player who could eventually make a major fantasy impact in a role similar to the one Aaron Hernandez played in New England, Lyerla is well worth a flier.
Tim Wright, Luke Willson, Levine Toilolo, Mychal Rivera, and Joseph Fauria are all products of the 2013 class of tight ends. Wright put up a Top 20 fantasy campaign as an undrafted rookie. He’s a skilled pass catcher, but will have trouble breaking out with Myers and Seferian-Jenkins in the mix. Willson is a potential long-term replacement for Zach Miller in Seattle. Toilolo replaces Tony Gonzalez atop the Falcons’ depth chart, but he won’t see near the target volume. Rivera has earned the Raiders’ starting gig and makes for a nice deep sleeper. A monster near the goal line at 6’7”/255, Fauria scored on seven of his 18 receptions last season. With Ebron and Pettigrew in the mix, however, his short-term ceiling is very low.
Veterans Delanie Walker, Heath Miller, Garrett Graham, Antonio Gates, Scott Chandler, and Marcedes Lewis are already or are approaching age 30, but remain atop their respective team’s depth chart. Walker will flirt with TE1 production in 2014, but he’s unlikely to have many big games in Tennessee’s underwhelming offense. Miller just extended his deal with the Steelers through 2016. Now fully-recovered from a torn ACL late during the 2012 season, Miller will look to return to TE1 territory. He’ll turn 32 during the 2014 season, however, which significantly hampers his upside. Graham re-upped with ’12 formation’-friendly Houston and will put up TE2 numbers in the short term if he can hold off impressive rookie Griffin.
Gates is one of the game’s top tight ends of the last decade, but his days as a TE1 are over. He turns 34 this summer and Green is about to take his job. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a repeat of his 77-catch 2013 campaign…Chandler returns as the starter in Buffalo, but has a low ceiling with the club focusing on its running backs and wide receivers. The Jaguars are short on offensive weapons, but they won’t score enough to put Lewis on the TE1 radar.
Surprisingly, the Giants didn’t address the tight end position this past offseason, which puts Adrien Robinson in position for a breakout season. Famously called the “Jason Pierre-Paul of tight ends” due to his freakish abilities, Robinson has a shot to be this year’s Jordan Cameron if he can just stay healthy. He’s a guy well worth a bench spot on your dynasty squad…Gresham’s days in Cincinnati are numbered with Eifert in the picture. He’s only 26 but hasn’t lived up to his first-round draft selection and figures to be headed elsewhere in 2015.
Richard Rodgers, Crockett Gillmore, and C.J. Fiedorowicz were selected in the third round of May’s draft. Rodgers adds depth in Green Bay, but profiles as a situational possession receiver. Gillmore is a good blocker, but has work to do as a receiver. Fiedorowicz is also a good blocker and capable underneath receiver, but is buried in Houston.
Dion Sims is stuck behind Clay in Miami, but is a potential every-down player down the road…Lance Kendricks plays quite a bit, but doesn’t see many targets and is buried behind Cook in St. Louis for the near future…Andrew Quarless is atop the depth chart in Green Bay, but has never turned regular snaps into fantasy relevance…The Cardinals’ addition of John Carlson means Rob Housler is off scholarship in Arizona. He’s destined for a situational, receiving role, but is only 26. Carlson, meanwhile, is keeping the seat warm for Niklas…Gator Hoskins is an undrafted free agent who landed in Miami. A good receiver and dominant near the goal line, he has the upside to warrant a flier in deep leagues.
Owen Daniels will see a decent workload behind Pitta in Baltimore, but, at age 31 and with serious durability concerns, there’s little upside…Pettigrew shockingly landed a four-year, $16 million extension with Detroit, but has little fantasy upside with Ebron in the mix and Fauria so good near the goal line…Brandon Myers signed with the Bucs, but he’s not a good blocker and will need to fend of Seferian-Jenkins and Wright…Brent Celek and Zach Miller remain atop their respective team’s depth chart, but both are approaching age 30 and used sparingly. Their days as fantasy assets are all but over.