Rotoprofessor’s Fantasy Draft Strategy: Tight Ends

Aug 25, 2009

Written by
Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

When to draft a tight end is always something that is tough to decide.  I compare it to drafting a catcher in your fantasy baseball draft.  Do you reach in the early rounds and get one of the elite?  Do you wait and hope one of the middle tier players can emerge?  Do you just wait until the last few rounds and pick up the scraps, figuring that there’s not much of a difference once you miss out on the elite?

Let’s take a look at when some of the tight ends are coming off the board and if they would be considered a good pick:

  • Jason Witten (42.50)
    We’ve spoken about him in the past, but more importantly the idea of drafting a tight end in the fourth round.  Just how much of an advantage do you really think he gives you here?  No other tight end is coming off the board, on average, until the fifth round.  You would also be passing up on WR who have the potential to easily out-produce him or a #2 RB (Darren McFadden or Derrick Ward, for example), which doesn’t make sense, does it?  I’m all for position scarcity and getting one of the top players at a position, but this is just a little too high for my tastes and appears to put your team at a bit of a disadvantage.  At this point, I would ask you, if he was a WR would you select him in the fourth round?  If the answer is no, then don’t select him this early just because of the position he plays.
  • Antonio Gates (51.24) & Tony Gonzalez (54.78)
    Both of these are going, on average, in the fifth round, a little bit more palatable of a spot.  By now you likely have both of your RB and either a pair of WR or a WR and a QB spot covered.  The WR coming off the board are probably comparable players and these two were the top two tight ends in TDs last season.  If you want to get one of the elite guys, this seems like the perfect round to do it.
  • Dallas Clark (61.77)
    The consolation prize, if you will, as he’s the one TE who is kind of on the edge.  He could be among the elite, but he also could be as good as the rest of the pack.  Going on average in the sixth round, this one almost seems like a waste to me.  I know he has the advantage of Peyton Manning, but just because you miss the big three don’t feel forced to take Clark the next time you pick.  You could likely do just as well in the next round or two, instead strengthening your RB spot in this round (Knowshown Moreno, for example, has an ADP of 63.36).
  • Kellen Winslow (75.70) & Greg Olsen (81.89)
    The seventh round appears to be the round for the high upside TEs and if I had my choice, this is where I’d be selecting.  Both of these guys will, at worst, likely be an average TE in 2009 but also could emerge among the elite in the game.  Considering the rest of your roster should be pretty well set at this point, the gamble is more than worth taking.
  • Chris Cooley (86.30) & Owen Daniels (92.93)
    Missed out on all the rest?  Now is the time to just grab one of these guys and fill the void.  If you miss out on them, you might as well wait a while because how big of a difference is there really going to be between John Carlson & Vishante Shiancoe?  Probably not a very big one.

So, what do you think?  Which grouping of TEs do you like to shoot for?  What’s your strategy when it comes to the position?

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

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2 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. GM
    August 26th, 2009 at 7:11 am #

    Personally I would rather stock pile RB/WR then reach for a top tight end. I will try to make do with a Zach Miller or John Carlson before I use a 5/6 round pick on a TE.

  2. LestersLegends
    August 26th, 2009 at 7:33 am #

    I’m with you although in one PPR league I was able to get Gates in the 6th and thought it was too good a value to pass on. Usually I get Owen Daniels, Miller, Carlson type.

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