Pick-a-Player: Burton, Reed, or Walker - Footballguys

Footballguys staff and Facebook answer a dilemma at the 8.02 spot

The premise of a Pick-a-Player question is as follows:

  • You need a player at that position and all three are available.
  • The draft is at a stage where these players are usually drafted, and none of their bye weeks are duplicated on your current roster.

We ask two groups of people: the Footballguys staff, and the great people following the Footballguys Facebook page. There is a lot of other content there as well. Like and Follow us, and you can join the great discussions taking place every day.

In this case, it is a PPR league, and you are up at Pick 8.02. Would you take Trey Burton, Jordan Reed, or Delanie Walker? Or would you pass on all three?

The Results

And the winner is Walker. See the percentages below.

Group
Percentage Picking...
Burton
Reed
Walker
None of the Three
Footballguys Staff
0.0%
36.4%
45.5%
18.2%
Footballguys Facebook
9.3%
30.2%
48.8%
11.6%

The Reasons (from the Staff)

Phil Alexander: I'm thrilled we're finally getting an injury discount on Jordan Reed this year. Rounds 8 and 9 are usually when I'm beginning to think about drafting my first tight end, and at that point, I'm aiming for upside. Reed -- the second-best fantasy option on a per game basis behind Rob Gronkowski -- certainly fits the bill.

I don't need to spell out the risk for you here. Reed has appeared in just 18 of Washington's last 32 games and has never played more 14 games in a season. He gets hurt. A lot. But at least Reed currently feels "100 times better", so unlike last year, we're not drafting him at a premium knowing he's already injured. And for his own part, Reed was still able to command targets last year (seven per game) while playing hurt and was coming off a trademark multi-touchdown game before the now-healed toe injury ended his season.

Delanie Walker is entering his age-34 season as a mainstay on the injury report as well and has talented backup Jonnu Smith breathing down his neck. The talent and scheme appear to be there for Trey Burton, but the quality of quarterback play and distribution of tight end snaps in Chicago remains to be seen. And picking a non-Gronkowski tight end any earlier than this means you are sacrificing usable running backs and wide receivers. Reed is far from a safe eighth-round pick, but if he lucks into a mostly-healthy season, he can help you win a championship.

Daniel Simpkins: I’ll pass on all three. I would rather take George Kittle or David Njoku later.

Jason Wood: I have them ranked 8th (Walker), 9th (Reed), and 10th (Burton), respectively. By that measure, Walker is my choice. However, I'm opting for none of the above as Daniel did. My plan at tight end is crystal clear this year. If I don't draft Rob Gronkowski, I'm punting the position. There are too many late-round tight ends with legitimate upside for me to mess with middling TE1s in the sixth, seventh, or eighth rounds.

Chad Parsons: The upside part of me wants to take Jordan Reed, but I wonder if injuries have sapped him of the upside we all want to believe is still there. Considering this is likely a fantasy team's first selection at tight end, I will go Delanie Walker considering he has lead the Titans in targets three of the last four seasons and only a full Corey Davis breakout would be a threat to Walker in 2018. Walker has finished with 10+ PPR PPG each of the last five years and is one of the strong values in the mid-rounds of drafts this season.

Justin Howe: Burton is well behind these two for me; I don't think I even have him down as a top-15 option. He's moving into an offense that throws little and has stocked a passable receiving corps. There's also a chance Adam Shaheen, a mountain of a man and an impressive college receiver, eats noticeably into his role. Burton is a hard pass until Round 10 or so, where he's never available.

Reed doesn't excite me much anymore, and this isn't enough of a discount for me. His history of concussions and long-term injuries to soft tissues all but guarantees a few missed games, and his upside isn't monstrous when he's in. He's a sub-10.0 yards-per-catch guy, and he hasn't been a huge touchdown threat since 2015. To me, he's the same fantasy prospect as Jack Doyle, who can be had two rounds later.

Devin Knotts: I am all in on Jordan Reed this year. Reed is unfairly undervalued due to health concerns. While the health concerns are there and are valid, prior to last season Reed averaged 12.4 games per season from 2014-2016. Alex Smith has become a quarterback that relies heavily on tight ends as in PPR scoring in Smith's nine seasons as a full-time starter, he has had a tight end finish inside the Top 8 seven times.

Jordan Reed will have every opportunity presented to him, and if your league is deep enough pick up Vernon Davis, as if Jordan Reed is out, Vernon Davis becomes a tremendous fill-in especially since Alex Smith and Davis already have a connection dating back to 2009 and 2010 where Davis finished second in PPR scoring both seasons.

B.J. VanderWoude: I have Delanie Walker and Trey Burton side by side with Walker having the higher floor and Burton having the higher ceiling. Jordan Reed, Jack Doyle, George Kittle and Tyler Eifert are all in a tier below Walker and Burton in my rankings.

As a founding member of the Jordan Reed fan club, it is with a heavy heart that I announce I can no longer defend his fantasy prospects. He has never been able to stay healthy for extended periods of time, but at least you knew he would put up some monster games when he was in the lineup. Unfortunately, those games are now few and far between. The tight end position has become such a wasteland that Reed’s tantalizing upside is still carrying him to a mid 8th round ADP. The Redskins could really use his size and athleticism in the middle of the field (and in the red zone) especially with Alex Smith’s ability to maximize production in the intermediate passing game. I’d like to get behind Reed, but I just don’t see the value when you could take Tyler Eifert 52 picks later, and get similar upside and injury-related stress levels. If you can grab Reed in the 10th round or later, he does have value as part of a two or three man streaming outfit, which is a nice way of saying I still don’t want to quit him completely.

Trey Burton has only two career games of 60+ receiving yards, yet the Bears made him the 5th highest paid tight end in the league for a reason. Shortly after being hired as the Bears head coach, Matt Nagy went to speak to general manager Ryan Pace regarding the importance of the “U” tight end in his offense. Judging the Bears offense based on what they’ve done the last few seasons is a mistake. Nagy will make sure Chicago goes from the worst passing offense in the league in 2017 to one that throws more than 70% of teams in the NFL. The Eagles and Chiefs feature two of the top three tight ends in the league, and that is not by mistake. Chicago’s offense will mimic much of what you see from those two teams. With Nagy as the Chiefs offensive coordinator in 2016 and 2017, Travis Kelce saw 51 more targets than his next closest teammate. The talent Chicago has acquired at the skill positions doesn’t concern me with respect to Burton’s value, as Nagy’s passing philosophy is centered around exploiting mismatches at the tight end position. Additionally, Mitch Trubisky’s biggest weapons are his timing and accuracy, which matches up perfectly with Burton’s skill set. Burton lacks experience as a No. 1 tight end, so there is some risk to drafting him at his ADP (TE:9, #89 overall), but I don’t think it’s close when I say his upside far outweighs the risk.

The Titans have a core of young receivers who come into the 2018 season with a lot to prove. Delanie Walker, on the other hand, does not. Over the last three years, Walker has averaged 77.6 receptions for 898.3 yards and 5.3 touchdowns per season. He has been the only consistent pass-catching option for the Titans, and I don’t see that changing in 2018. Walker—like the rest of the Titans offense—got off to a slow start last year, but he bounced back to average 13.7 points per game from weeks 7-15. He does not have the 1,000-yard upside he enjoyed in 2015, but with so many unreliable tight ends across the league, nabbing Walker with a mid-seventh-round pick seems like a fair price to pay for peace of mind.

Bob Henry: Prior to this year, I've never owned a single share of Jordan Reed. However, with the built-in discount and the likelihood you can get him as a cheap TE2 to pair with a top option like Gronkowski, Ertz or Kelce, I have targeted him for that upside potential who could be a huge flex/TE1 week to week with a cheap price tag. Even so, I'm not taking him this early in the 8th round.

I'm not taking Burton that earlier. He's one of my favorite players but that's a crowded hype train and his ADP reflects it. He's being drafted closer to where his potential is at this point with folks trying to outreach other to be the smart guy on draft day as opposed to letting players fall into your lap who could deliver just as much value.

At this spot, I'm far more likely to decide between Kyle Rudolph and Delanie Walker given my rankings and availability/ADP. I have Walker ranked just ahead of Rudolph, but find myself wavering between the two and going with Rudolph in leagues where Walker comes off the board and somewhat of a drop after they come off the board into a tier of upside players that also carry more risk (or guys with a projected value that haven't necessarily done it yet consistently or on their new team).

Ryan Hester: Tight end is a position where we can afford to shoot for upside. If we swing and miss - or if the player gets hurt - then we have a waiver wire in shallower leagues or our TE2/3 in deep/best ball leagues to bail us out. In that light, I'm agreeing with the crowd sticking their necks out for Reed.

Reed has been projected as a TE1 in every healthy week I can recall since his emergence in 2015. is injury concerns are valid, but again, tight end is a position where fantasy players can swing for the fences, miss, and not strike out.

Will Grant: By the time the eighth round rolls around, I'm probably in best-available-player mode - and probably looking for a quarterback at this point because I feel like that's a position that you can wait on. At tight end, however, you want one of the Top 3.

At the top of the eighth round, Walker is probably enough value to get me to consider taking him at this point. He's a solid pick who will usually stays healthy and should put up serviceable numbers each week to keep you from posting a zero. This pick won't excite me at all, but in the "need to take a tight end sometime, may as well have Walker" approach, Walker is the best of these three at this point.

Burton should do well in Chicago, but not eighth-round well. There's still a lot of question marks around that team and Burton could just as easily turn into a free agent bust.

For the guys above who are happy to pick up Jordan Reed because of the 'injury discount', I'm happy to give it to them. I've had just enough of him in season-long and DFS over the last couple years to make me shy away from him. I'd rather take a shot on other guys than buy into the hype that Reed is 100% this year. Maybe that means someone else gets the value from him. I'm OK with that.

Ari Ingel: This isn't much of a debate in my opinion.

Delanie Walker is clearly the right answer after finishing as a top-tier tight end the past few seasons, and after he just signed an extension. His seventh-round ADP is spot on.

Reed obviously has the biggest upside without question, but between injuries and his scary concussion history, you are hoping for 10+ games, when Delanie gives you 15 or 16 almost guaranteed.

Burton, on the other hand, is hyped like crazy. In the four career games as the Eagles starting tight end; he averaged 3.5 receptions, 45 yards, and 1 touchdown per game. That's good, although not spectacular, especially since touchdowns can be fluky. Trubisky has also been very up and down in camp so far, particularly with his accuracy.

Additionally, I'm not so sure Burton will even be the teams top tight end in terms of fantasy scoring by the time the season is done.

Burton stands 6-foot-2, 224 pounds with 4.62 forty speed, a 30" vertical, and a 112" broad jump (47% SPARQ athletic score).

While Adam Shaheen stands 6-foot-6, 278 pounds, with 4.79 forty speed, a 32.5" vertical, and 121" broad jump (77% SPARQ athletic score).

Shaheen has been a red zone monster in camp so far.

Andy Hicks: The answer clearly here is Jordan Reed. Despite not having played a full season in his five-year career, he has clearly played to the level of elite fantasy tight end. There is no issue with Alex Smith using the position well and the only player older than Delanie Walker here is the other option in Washington, Vernon Davis. With question marks at wide receiver, Reed is the star on this offense and will good value for however long he can play for. You play to win and Reed gives you that chance, especially in the eighth round.

Delanie Walker is a player I have been eschewing, but the two-year contract extension has to give you pause. He is now 34 years old and has a young player snipping at his heels in Jonnu Smith. Even Walker recently said that Smith will be better than him sooner rather than later. I expect that to occur at some stage this season and would be wary of relying on Walker as my starter.

As has been mentioned, by Ari, Trey Burton may not even be the best tight end in Chicago and given an inexperienced quarterback, a rookie head coach and players just trying to gel as a unit, Burton may not get on track for quite awhile.