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Pick-a-Player: Howard, Seals-Jones, or Seferian-Jenkins - Footballguys

Footballguys staff and Facebook answer a dilemma at the 13.10 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. If you'd like to answer a future Pick-a-Player question, they are being posted daily on our page. 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 13.10. Would you take O.J. Howard, Ricky Seals-Jones, or Austin Seferian-Jenkins? Or would you pass on all three?

The Results

And the winner is a split. See the percentages below.

Group
Percentage Picking...
Howard
Seals-Jones
Seferian-Jenkins
None of the Three
Footballguys Staff
50.0%
27.8%
5.6%
16.7%
Footballguys Facebook
25.0%
8.3%
30.6%
36.1%

The Reasons (from the Staff)

Bob Henry: O.J. Howard 100% of the time - all the time. While I like Seals-Jones' potential, Howard has just as much (if not more) and he is much more reliable as an overall player when it comes to blocking, utilization and being a consistent part of a better offense. Seferian-Jenkins could be a nice surprise, particularly in the red zone, but even then I don't see his upside being higher than where I see Howard producing if I'm middling out his projections somewhere between his ceiling and floor.

Jason Wood: I’m not particularly enamored with any of them, but O.J. Howard is the pedigreed player of the bunch and the potential All Pro player. I don’t think he’ll achieve those goals in 2018 mainly because Cameron Brate is highly productive and was just re-signed to a huge deal. However, Seals-Jones and Sefarian-Jenkins could be total zero shots and guys you’re dropping in a week or two for a priority waiver claim.

David Dodds: Talent + Opportunity can translate to a great sleeper pick in fantasy football. O.J. Howard is a more talented player and plays in a better passing game than his counterparts. He is currently in a timeshare with Cameron Brate, but Howard looks to be the primary redzone tight end in 2018 after scoring 6 touchdowns on just 39 targets.

James Brimacombe: O.J. Howard for me, I believe people are undervaluing the Tampa Bay offense. Even with Jameis Winston set to miss three games it only gives more reason why Tampa guys will fall down the board.

Daniel Simpkins: I'll pass. I would rather have one of the earlier options like George Kittle or David Njoku. If I do wait till later, I would rather take shots on Charles Clay and Austin Hooper. Clay is going to get massive volume because of the lack of legitimate pass catchers on the roster and inexperienced quarterback play. Hooper didn't do well with the adjustments made under Steve Sarkisian. I expect him to put it together this year.

Will Grant: Agree with most that Howard is the pick here of the three. I typically on draft one tight end and usually have him much earlier than 13 so unless something crazy has happened, I'd probably pass on all three.

Chad Parsons: I would pass on all three at this respective price. I go late tight end plenty when missing on Rob Gronkowski in the early rounds, but prefer better upside profiles than these options. I do not buy Ricky Seals-Jones in the Tim Wright failed wide receiver prospect way to success. The return of Cameron Brate tempers O.J. Howard's 2018 projection (plus Mike Evans as a high-end WR1) unless Jameis Winston emerges as a dominant QB1 to raise the tide of the entire offense. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is hamstrung by a weak passing offense who would rather run the ball at every juncture than let Blake Bortles determine the outcome of a game. Plus, Seferian-Jenkins has the off-field concerns where he may not even be the starter (or on the roster) for long if he exhibits some of his behavior at previous NFL stops.

Jeff Tefertiller: With the Winston suspension (missing at Saints and home versus Eagles and Steelers), it is difficult to get behind any Buccaneers skill player outside of Evans ... much less an emerging second-year tight end. The slow start is enough to push me to Seals-Jones. The Cardinals beat writers have been gushing about the former Texas A&M wideout. He is on the upswing and could put up decent numbers in an Arizona offense lacking receivers. Seferian-Jenkins is a wildcard in this conversation. I have tempered expectations for him due to the low-ceiling pass offense in Jacksonville.

Justin Howe: Howard at least carries a ceiling, so I'd jump on him first in this group (though not before teammate Cameron Brate). Seferian-Jenkins carries some volume potential, but doesn't present any value before the 13th round or so. As a complementary target in a run-oriented offense, he's strictly a fantasy TE2 option.

Seals-Jones looks like a flier to me. There's talk of him taking on a Greg Olsen Lite role in the slot for new coach Steve Wilks, but he's not a great fit along the line, which should keep his snaps capped. His size is noteworthy, of course, but he may not carry the same touchdown upside we saw flashed last year. All three of his touchdowns came from outside the 10-yard line, and he saw just one target all year from in close.

Jeff Haseley: O.J. Howard is my choice. He is on the verge of being one of the better young tight ends in the league and his first-round draft pedigree suggests he'll follow suit with positive results. The last eight tight ends who reached 6 touchdowns as a rookie are Evan Engram, O.J. Howard, Hunter Henry, Joseph Fauria, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Heath Miller and Chris Cooley. I'd say Howard is in pretty good company. Plus Tampa Bay is in the ultra-competitive NFC South where point scoring will be a necessity.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins has also reached a new level, however, I'm concerned about the passing game of the Jaguars being able to sustain multiple receivers, including a tight end. Ricky Seals-Jones has shown some periods of promise but he has yet to become a consistent threat.

Ryan Hester: Only one of these players is a proven commodity with little-to-no competition for targets at his position. Howard does have the draft pedigree and was effectively last year. But Jameis Winston loves Cameron Brate. Speaking of Winston, another knock on any Tampa Bay offensive player is that they'll be without their starting quarterback for three games.

Meanwhile, Seferian-Jenkins is already generating buzz in terms of being a big part of the offense. And Blake Bortles has shown that he has no issue throwing to his tight ends. If Marcedes Lewis can have big games, a superior athlete like Seferian-Jenkins certainly can too.

I'm usually a late-round tight end drafter, which means I'm looking for someone who can start in a pinch and who has every-week starter ceiling. Seferian-Jenkins provides the best combination of floor and ceiling among these players.

Matt Waldman: I'm most interested in Seals-Jones. We all know Howard is the long-term bet among the three, but Cameron Brate continues to cap Howard's value. There's also the fact that Howard wasn't used nearly in ways at Alabama, and even last year, that everyone imagines him to be used based on his great athletic ability.

Athletic ability is the most seductive analysis point about young players and Howard is a rare athlete. However, there were questions about his low usage as a receiver. Was it a product of the offense or a product of Howard's attentiveness and consistency as a teammate?

While still a worthwhile bet, I'm more intrigued with Seal-Jones this year because he's really a wide receiver playing H-Back. A former five-star wide receiver recruited to Texas A&M, Seals-Jones never developed the speed to earn consideration as an outside receiver in the NFL. However, he has that Marques Colston-like slot vibe to his game. He's smooth with his routes, reads zones well, has reliable hands, and is physical.

Chad Williams is a fine athlete with potential, but Seals-Jones is a more refined receiver. Brice Butler is a slightly better version of Williams and Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk will often be interchangeable as slot options and outside players. There's enough room for Seals-Jones to earn meaningful targets in packages where he's either the big slot option, an outside presence on fades in the red zone, a second slot receiver with a great match-up in four-receiver sets, of a second tight end earning a mismatch in two-tight end sets.

I think we're a year early on expecting Howard to earn the volume of an every-week starter with Brate still a huge factor. It makes Seals-Jones a comparable potion with a better film portfolio as a receiver, even if he's not near the athlete Howard is.

Danny Tuccitto: At 13.05, both Howard and Seferian-Jenkins are massive values according to my rankings. Although Ryan makes several valid points in favor of Seferian-Jenkins, I'm inclined to take Howard for the simple reason that, at this point in the draft, I'm looking for upside. To wit, fifth-year breakout seasons aren't a thing for tight ends, whereas second-year breakout seasons -- especially for first-round picks -- are demonstrably a thing.

Not to mention the fact that Dirk Koetter has always shown an affinity for tight ends in his offenses, whereas Doug Marrone hasn't in his, especially when blessed with a five-deep wide receiver corps.

Phil Alexander: So far I count eight votes for Howard and zero reasons he'll be able to command more targets than he did last year.

Mike Evans' status as Tampa Bay's target hog hasn't changed. DeSean Jackson is still an important part of the offense and operates in a different area of the field than Howard anyway. The team showed how much they value Cameron Brate by handing him a 6-year, $41 million dollar free-agent contract. Adam Humphries slot role is as predictable as they come -- he's received exactly 83 targets in each of the last two seasons. And talented second-year wide receiver Chris Godwin is waiting in the wings if one of those receivers misses games.

I'm all for Howard's talent, but the opportunity for a second-year leap simply does not exist.

Seals-Jones is the pick I'm most interested in here. Outside of David Johnson and the aging Larry Fitzgerald, the Cardinals lack established receiving weapons. Their offense has a clear opening for a player who can create mismatches, and as Matt alluded to, Seals-Jones can be that guy when motioned out of the slot or the backfield. Besides, with Jermaine Gresham recovering from a torn Achilles and Troy Niklas leaving in free agency, Arizona has left themselves with little choice but to give Seals-Jones a chance.

We've also seen high-end on-field receiving production from Seals-Jones in the past when he was given even a small opportunity. From Weeks 11-13 last season, he never saw more than 24% of Arizona’s offensive snaps in a game, yet still managed to pile up 9 catches, 170 yards, and 3 touchdowns on 16 targets. He may lack Howard's draft pedigree, but Seals-Jones' fantasy upside is every bit as tantalizing, and he has a much clearer path to playing time.

Devin Knotts: I'm completely out on O.J. Howard. The Buccaneers appear to be as well as they signed Cameron Brate to a surprisingly big contract this past offseason which indicates to me that they have every intention of Brate being their number one guy for the next few years.

Seals-Jones was one of the top wide receivers to come out of his high school class and is a tremendous athlete. The biggest reason I like Seals-Jones is the addition of Sam Bradford who has shown a tendency throughout his career. If you look at Bradford's history Kyle Rudolph had 83 receptions in 2016, Jared Cook had a career high in yardage in 2013, Lance Kendricks having a career season in 2012, and Zach Ertz/Brent Celek had a combined 100 receptions in 2015.

Dan Hindery: I'm not drafting any of these guys as my TE1 but as TE2s. My TE2 preferences are going to be largely influenced by what type of TE1 I've selected.

If I've rolled the dice on a high-upside, risky TE1 like Jordan Reed, then the priority is finding a safe TE2 who can fill in should Reed miss games. The safest of this trio in terms of role in the offense looks to be Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. He has little competition for the starting job, and as Ryan noted, has generated plenty of positive buzz early in the offseason. Seferian-Jenkins should be the top red zone receiving threat in the Jaguars offense, which gives him the highest touchdown expectation in this group. It is difficult to get excited about Seferian-Jenkins' yardage upside given his skillset and the mediocre Jaguars passing offense though. He's a safe TE2 but isn't likely to break out and have a monster season, which is fine if your TE1 has a high ceiling.

If I've played it safe with my TE1 selection with someone like Kyle Rudolph, then the priority when selecting a TE2 is pure upside. When looking at skillset and realistic opportunity in the respective offenses, Ricky Seals-Jones stands out as having the highest upside. As noted by Matt, Seals-Jones is a converted wide receiver who has shown he can take advantage of mismatches against bigger defenders. He is most intriguing because there is real opportunity for a young player to emerge as a top receiving target in the Arizona offense. Behind Larry Fitzgerald, the pecking order is wide open. It will likely be one of the youngsters (Seals-Jones, Christian Kirk, or Chad Williams) who emerges as a top option for Sam Bradford or Josh Rosen.

Andy Hicks: This is probably the easiest choice out there. O.J. Howard was drafted to be a receiving threat and while the presence of Cameron Brate caps his upside, Howard is clearly a big play guy who should like most potentially elite tight ends, make that leap in his second season. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins and Ricky Seals-Jones have the upside to be useful in fantasy leagues, but if they did nothing this year it wouldn’t be a surprise.

Justin Howe: There's a strong chance Howard was drafted merely to block - he was fantastic at it in school - and catch short-yardage passes. He was a first-rounder, but it's certainly not unheard of for NFL teams to prioritize that role early (Jermaine Gresham, anyone?). Howard simply doesn't have the look of a pass-game dominator. He played for 4 years at Alabama, but never accounted for more than 19% of their passing yardage in any given season. Perhaps most concerning was the fact that, despite his size and physical prowess, he managed just 7 touchdowns over 46 games. Howard scored at a strong rate as a rookie, but that college resume is glaring.

I do prefer him over the others, though. Seferian-Jenkins is a walking red flag, with a history of suspensions and nagging injuries that have severely dinged his perceived upside. PPR drafters can feel comfortable with him as a marginal TE2, but there's little ceiling in play here. Seferian-Jenkins averaged an anemic 7.1 yards per catch last year - his first real NFL action - and scored just 3 times despite heavy red zone usage. Offseason blurbs are loving his bond with Blake Bortles, but Jacksonville tight ends have averaged just 9.4 yards and produced 12 touchdowns over the past 2 years; they're not used as seam-stretching game breakers.

As for Seals-Jones... I'll largely defer to Matt's analysis of his game. But I will say that drafters expecting the massive Seals-Jones to dominate at the goal line may find themselves disappointed - he drew only a single target from inside the 10 last year. Not to mention, his recent brush with the law could trigger a post-draft suspension. That would take off some luster late in drafts, against other tight end fliers with similar upsides but full 16-game projections. I'm more likely to look for Jake Butt or Luke Willson in the final round.