Now that we’ve seen the influence PPR leagues have on running backs and wide receivers, it’s time to check in on the tight end position. As usual, tight ends take a hit across the board compared to standard formats. This year only two tight ends are being selected higher in PPR drafts, although that’s two more than last season.
The table below is tight end ADP sorted by those favored in PPR leagues (data from NFFC). Standard ADP comes from Yahoo!.
|Coby Fleener (TE, NO)||73.7||69.6||4.1|
|Jordan Reed (TE, Was)||39.5||37.7||1.8|
|Dwayne Allen (TE, Ind)||129.6||131.0||-1.4|
|Ladarius Green (TE, Pit)||106.0||107.6||-1.6|
|Gary Barnidge (TE, Cle)||97.6||100.9||-3.3|
|Rob Gronkowski (TE, NE)||8.5||14.9||-6.4|
|Jimmy Graham (TE, Sea)||116.5||124.4||-7.9|
|Travis Kelce (TE, KC)||58.1||66.9||-8.8|
|Antonio Gates (TE, SD)||104.7||116.6||-11.9|
|Zach Miller (TE, Chi)||135.4||148.1||-12.7|
|Greg Olsen (TE, Car)||41.2||55.4||-14.2|
|Tyler Eifert (TE, Cin)||78.1||93.7||-15.6|
|Zach Ertz (TE, Phi)||82.0||97.7||-15.7|
|Jason Witten (TE, Dal)||122.6||138.4||-15.8|
|Martellus Bennett (TE, NE)||123.4||140.6||-17.2|
|Delanie Walker (TE, Ten)||61.2||80.1||-18.9|
|Julius Thomas (TE, Jax)||83.6||107.7||-24.1|
|Charles Clay (TE, Buf)||134.0||163.0||-29.0|
|Clive Walford (TE, Oak)||128.7||168.4||-39.7|
|Jordan Cameron (TE, Mia)||135.5||176.7||-41.2|
|Kyle Rudolph (TE, Min)||128.2||178.6||-50.4|
|Jared Cook (TE, GB)||134.6||195.1||-60.5|
|Austin Seferian-Jenkins (TE, TB)||128.2||191.0||-62.8|
It’s still Gronk and everyone else, but a few players close the gap slightly in leagues that award points per reception. In 2015, every tight end was going higher in standard drafts than they were in PPR, on average. There are two guys who buck that trend in 2016, though, so we’ll start there.
Coby Fleener, NO (+4.1)
New Orleans is a dream landing spot for any tight end, especially a player like Fleener, who has always displayed the ability to stretch the seam. Under head coach Sean Payton and catching passes from Drew Brees, Fleener probably won’t reach Jimmy Graham levels, but should have a chance to outdo his career bests in receptions (54), yards (774) and touchdowns (8). Now, if he could only get listed as a starter on the Saints depth chart, which likely has more to do with his run blocking skills than anything else.
Jordan Reed, WAS (+1.8)
Reed put up high end TE1 numbers in 2015 and should continue to be a focal point of Washington’s offense under QB Kirk Cousins. He has the ability to be both a target hog and redzone weapon. Delanie Walker is the only TE who caught more passes last season, and Reed’s 11 touchdowns were second to Tyler Eifert’s position-leading 13. The only thing holding Reed back at this point are the nagging injuries he’s dealt with throughout his career — the latest a minor thumb issue in camp.
Dwayne Allen, IND (-1.4)
Allen now has the tight end position all to himself in Indy after Coby Fleener signed in New Orleans during the off-season. Judging by his very slight discount, he’s being treated like a legitimate sleeper in NFFC drafts versus roster filler for the Yahoo crowd. Allen has always been known as a superior blocker, but his receiving skills have never been on full display. Allen should see a substantial uptick in his career-best 45 catches for 521 yards on 66 targets in his rookie season. The 26-year-old also has displayed a knack around the end zone, as witnessed by his eight TD’s among 29 receptions in 2014. Allen is a budget TE2 with a low ceiling athletically, but a high floor.
Tyler Eifert, CIN (-15.6)
I love the discount Eifert is getting on his already bargain price in PPR leagues. Sometimes dropping out of the top-100 altogether due to his most recent injury problems. Even if Eifert’s recovery from ankle surgery keeps him out of the lineup in week 1, the redzone monster should still be a weekly top-5 TE when he returns. And remember, he missed three games in 2015, but still compiled a 56/615/13 line over the other 13 games. That was good enough to finish sixth among PPR tight ends, single-handedly winning weeks with multi-touchdown games along the way.
Looking at the bottom of this list, it’s clear that once the presumed TE1’s are off the board, the fantasy community will just wait on the rest. Yahoo’s ADP data only goes to about pick 135, but NFFC drafts are much deeper, so with players like Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jared Cook, you’re talking about end-of-draft flyers in either format.
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