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Late Round Tight Ends

How to find some late-round TEs with big fantasy upside

When it comes to picking out NFL tight ends for fantasy purposes, it does not take much to figure out who the top candidates are this season. If you are looking for some late value picks, however, you have come to the right place. What I want to find for all of us here are tight ends that should be getting several targets a game. With five or more balls headed their way each week, they should be able to haul in at least three on average and have a shot at 40-50 yards a week and possibly a touchdown. That may not sound like much, but that works out to be 48 catches and 640-800 yards a year, which would put any TE right near the Top 12 last season (provided he scored a few times). Not bad at all.

So what's the plan? I have looked at several different ways to pick up some valuable tight ends later in fantasy drafts before, but this time I am going to get a bit more scientific. Here I will take a look at an overall ADP list and pick out three different types of teams. Oddly enough, I care more about the wide receivers on a given team than about the tight ends. The reasoning is pretty simple - if the quarterback on a given team has limited options, the ball has to go somewhere. What better option than a big guy over the middle?

I broke the 32 NFL teams down and kept the ones that fit into three basic categories:

  1. Teams with no WRs in the Top 50 ADP List
  2. Teams with only 1 WR in the Top 30 ADP List
  3. Teams with 1-2 WRs in the Top 50 ADP List but none in the Top 30

Here are the results:

Category 1 - Teams with no WRs in the Top 50 ADP list

This may be surprising to some, but there are usually a few teams each year with absolutely terrible wide receiver options. This season has two, one due to a team apparently planning to run, run and run some more (Tennessee) and another coming off of a dreadful season that included the first ever major injury to their starting quarterback.  Baltimore has Joe Flacco back now at 100%, but will Steve Smith (WR51) be able to be the top target again?  Is Mike Wallace (WR69), Kamar Aiken (WR55) or Breshad Perriman (WR61) a possible help to the receiving corps?  Will any tight end be worth owning for the Ravens?  That is all part of the reason that most teams are avoiding the Baltimore passing attack.  Stepping back for a moment, Baltimore could have a strong case for a good tight end to emerge, and the best candidate is either second year TE Maxx Williams, Crockett Gillmore, veteran Ben Watson or (if he returns) comeback of the year candidate Dennis Pitta.  They say when you have two quarterbacks you have none, but four tight ends?  I think everyone should rightly pass here.

That leaves the Titans to be discussed, and it is quite evident that their leading target this year should be the one that led the team in yards and scores in 2015 - Delanie Walker.  The problem here, of course, is that Walker is already a TE1 and getting selected as the 5th-7th tight end off the board, so he will not help in our search for a late round tight end value pick.