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Eric Ebron NFL Draft
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Now that the NFL draft is behind us it is time for fantasy football nuts to start breaking down the rookies. Here’s the LestersLegends’ look at the 2014 NFL rookie tight end class.
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1. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
Ebron is 6’4″ and 245 pounds with 4.6 speed making him a nightmare for defenses, particularly when they have to focus on Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush. Ebron caught 62 passes last year for 973 yards and three touchdowns. In 2012 he caught 40 passes for 625 yards and four scores. During his time at North Carolina Ebron averaged 16.1 yards per catch. Ebron will have to improve on his red zone prowess to really make noise, but he should be a solid fantasy option right away.
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2. Jace Amaro, New York Jets
Amaro caught 106 passes for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns last year at Texas Tech. He is 6’5″ and 260 pounds with 4.72 speed. The Jets are thirsty for offensive firepower outside of Eric Decker, which could lead to plenty of targets for Amaro right out of the gate. There is a good chance that he leads all tight ends in receptions and/or yards.
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3. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seferian-Jenkins, at 6’6″ and 276 pounds, gives the Bucs another huge target. He has caught 146 passes over the past three seasons for 1,840 yards and 21 touchdowns. Between Seferian-Jenkins, Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans the Bucs have loaded up with tall weapons for Josh McCown. Seferian-Jenkins could lead all rookie tight ends in touchdown receptions.
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4. Troy Niklas, Arizona Cardinals
Niklas at 6’6″ and 270 pounds gives the Cardinals a huge option at tight end. He caught 32 passes last year at Notre Dame for 498 yards and five touchdowns. Defenses will be concerned with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, which should allow Niklas to get good looks. He will be useful in the red zone.
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5. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans
Fiedorowicz is 6’6″ and 262 pounds with 4.76 speed. He caught 75 passes over the past two seasons for 732 yards and seven touchdowns for Iowa. The Hawkeyes threw just 375 times compared to 557 rushing attempts. In a pass-heavy league Fiedorowicz could easily emerge as better pro player than he was at the collegiate level. Fiedorowicz should make his mark in the red zone.
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With the 2014 NFL Draft finally approaching, here’s an early look at the 2014 Lester’s Legends’ fantasy football tight end rankings.
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1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Graham has averaged 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns over the past three seasons. Last year Graham racked up an amazing 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns. With Darren Sproles being dealt to the Philadelphia Eagles, Graham will take on even more meaning for the potent Saints’ offense. Graham will likely negotiate a long-term deal before training camp.
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2. Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Gronk has 42 touchdowns in 50 career games, but he has managed to play just 18 games over the past two seasons. When he’s healthy he’s as good as anybody in the league. He’s coming off a knee injury that will likely limit his preseason involvement. There are healthy doses of risks and rewards associated with Gronk.
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3. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Orange Julius exploded on the scene with 788 yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games. With Eric Decker moving on to the New York Jets, Thomas figures to be more of a focal point in the offense. Having Peyton Manning’s confidence, particularly in the red zone, puts him a notch ahead of Vernon Davis in my book.
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4. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Davis finished with 850 yards and 13 touchdowns in his most impressive season since 2009. Michael Crabtree, who was limited to five games because of an Achilles injury figures to eat into some of Davis’ production. Still, Davis has a combination of size and speed that is difficult to match. He’s too fast for most linebackers and too strong for most defensive backs.
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5. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Witten reached 850 receiving yards for the seventh straight season. He’s topped 750 yards for 10 straight years. Witten is as consistent as they come. He had his fewest receptions (73) since 2006, but he finished with eight touchdowns.
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6. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Olsen finished with 816 yards, giving him an average of 829.5 yards over the past two seasons. Olsen caught six touchdowns, which was his sixth straight season with at least five scores. With a shortage of reliable options for Cam Newton in the passing game, Olsen should play a huge role for Carolina in 2014.
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7. Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens
Pitta appeared poised for a breakout season before a hip injury limited him to four game last year. Despite being sapped of his explosiveness, Pitta caught 20 passes for 169 yards and a score. In 2012 Pitta caught 61 passes for 669 yards and seven scores. Don’t let the Owen Daniels’ signing scare you off. Pitta is primed to deliver.
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8. Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns
Cameron also emerged last year with 917 yards and seven touchdowns after catching 26 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown in his first two seasons. No longer in Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner’s system, Cameron will likely regress. Still, he’s too good of a talent not to peg him in the top half of the fantasy tight end landscape.
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9. Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Rudolph (foot) was limited to eight games last year and subjected to five games with Christian Ponder at the helm. With Matt Cassel at quarterback and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner in the mix, look for much better things from Rudolph.
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10. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
Ertz caught 36 passes for 469 yards and four touchdowns last year as a rookie. All four of his touchdowns came in the second half of the season. Look for a step forward in Ertz’s second year, particularly with DeSean Jackson’s 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns up for grabs.
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Julius Thomas
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Here’s a look at the LestersLegends Super Bowl XLVIII fantasy football tight end rankings.
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1. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
2. Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks
3. Jacob Tamme, Denver Broncos
4. Luke Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
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Super Bowl XLVIII
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Here are the Lester’s Legends tight end rankings for the  the AFC & NFC Conference Championship Games of the 2013-14 NFL Playoffs.
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1. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
2. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
3. Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks
4. Michael Hoomanawanui, New England Patriots
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Here are the Lester’s Legends tight end rankings for the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs.
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1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Jimmy Graham was held out of the end zone last week and managed just 44 yards. He averaged 75.9 yards and a touchdown per game during the regular season. He had 42 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting with the Seattle Seahawks.
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2. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Vernon Davis averaged 56.7 yards and 0.9 touchdowns per game during the regular season. The fun continued with 37 yards and a touchdown last week against the Green Bay Packers. He’s averaging 97.2 yards and a touchdown in his past six playoff games.
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3. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Julius Thomas averaged 56.3 yards and 0.9 touchdowns per game. He averaged 72.5 yards and 0.5 touchdowns in two meetings with the San Diego Chargers.
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4. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Greg Olsen averaged 51 yards and 0.4 touchdowns per game. With Steve Smith out or limited, Olsen will a primary target for Cam Newtwon.
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5. Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts
Coby Fleener is inconsistent, but he had 46 yards and a touchdown last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. If the New England Patriots look to take T.Y. Hilton out of the equation, Fleener could see an uptick in value.
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6. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Antonio Gates averaged 54.5 yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game during the regular season. He had just one catch for five yards last week, but I expect a heavier workload against the Broncos.
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7. Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks
Zach Miller had 86 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting with the New Orleans Saints. I wouldn’t expect a repeat, but he could produce a decent game.
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8. Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers
Ladarius Green scored a touchdown last week. He’s not a great play, but could play a factor.
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Here are the Lester’s Legends fantasy football tight end rankings for the Wild Card Round.
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1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Jimmy Graham averaged 75.9 yards and a touchdown per game. He’s the undisputed top tight end in the game and is going up against the league’s worst pass defense in terms of yards allowed. The Philadelphia Eagles allowed 289.8 passing yards per game.
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2. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Vernon Davis averaged 56.7 yards and 0.9 touchdowns per game. He scored in the final six games. He’ll look to extend that streak against the Green Bay Packers. The Pack allowed 247.3 yards and 1.9 touchdowns per game. Davis had 98 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the first game against Green Bay. In his past five playoff games he’s averaging 109.2 yards and a touchdown.
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3. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Antonio Gates averaged 54.5 yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game. He’s a clear step down from the top two, but he’s the best of the rest. Gates takes on the Cincinnati Bengals.
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4. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles
Brent Celek averaged 31.4 yards and 0.4 touchdowns per game. In his final five games he averaged 42.4 yards and 0.6 touchdowns. Celek takes on the New Orleans Saints.
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5. Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts
Coby Fleener averaged 38 yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game. He’s a little hit-or-miss, but he had seven games with at least 50 yards and/or a touchdown. Fleener faces the Kansas City Chiefs.
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6. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
Zach Ertz averaged 29.3 yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game. In his final six games he averaged 44.7 yards and 0.7 touchdowns.
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7. Andrew Quarless, Green Bay Packers
Andrew Quarless averaged 45.5 yards and 0.5 touchdowns in his final four games. He’s a low-end play against the San Francisco 49ers.
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Most fantasy leagues have wrapped up already, but there are some that still play to the bitter end. For those leagues, I present the Lester’s Legends 2013 Week 17 fantasy football tight end rankings.
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1. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints
Jimmy Graham is averaging 76.3 yards and a touchdown per game. He had 10 catches for 179 yards and a score in the first meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
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2. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Vernon Davis is not piling up the yards like Graham, but he’s been just as prolific scoring touchdowns. Davis had 180 yards and two touchdowns in his first meeting against the Arizona Cardinals.
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3. Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos
Julius Thomas is averaging 57.8 yards and 0.9 touchdowns. He had 37 yards and a touchdown in the first game against the Oakland Raiders.
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4. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys
Jason Witten is averaging 47.7 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game. He has four touchdowns in the past five games. He should finish strong against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have allowed 285.2 yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game.
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5. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons
Tony Gonzalez could be closing out his Hall of Fame career against the Carolina Panthers. He had 81 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting.
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6. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
Greg Olsen is averaging 51.6 yards and 0.3 touchdowns per game. He had 66 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting with the Atlanta Falcons.
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7. Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears
Martellus Bennett has averaged 78 yards the past two game. He closes the 2013 season against the Green Bay Packers. The Pack have allowed 248.8 yards and 1.9 touchdowns per game.
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8. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers
Antonio Gates is averaging 56.1 yards and 0.2 touchdowns per game. He finishes the year with a tough matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.
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9. Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars
Marcedes Lewis has scored in four straight games. The Jacksonville Jaguars don’t have many other options in the passing game, particularly in the red zone. Lewis is a risky option against the Indianapolis Colts, but he’s on fire right now.
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10. Brandon Myers, New York Giants
Brandon Myers is averaging 43.2 yards and 0.6 touchdowns in his past five games. He should finish strong against the Washington Redskins. The Skins have allowed 249.3 yards and 1.9 touchdowns per game, including 61 yards and a score by Myers in their first meeting.
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