Tight Ends To Target Late In Your Fantasy Draft

by Michael Drahota | Posted on Sunday, August 17th, 2014 | 0

With the tight end (TE) position literally having been revolutionized in the last few years, fantasy football players are enjoying the benefits of high level scoring that was rarely if ever seen in prior seasons.

Elite players like the New Orleans Saints’ Jimmy Graham, the Denver Broncos’ Julius Thomas, and when healthy, Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots light up the stat sheets every week, giving those lucky enough to own them a sizeable leg up on their competition.

But with the 2014 season fast approaching, the cat is out of the bag on these top-shelf tight ends. Their draft positions are lofty, meaning you’ll have to forego the selection of a potential cornerstone at the key positions of quarterback, wide receiver, and/or running back to get them.

That’s why you should consider waiting to draft a TE this year. True, the NFL is becoming more and more of a passing league with each season, but that actually boosts the WR position more than TE. If you can hold off on selecting a TE until later rounds, you’ll already have a stacked team when you do finally take one.

And with several late round bargains set to blow up at the position, that’s what will truly give you an advantage over your opposition. Here are five valuable tight ends to target when the big names are off your draft board:


Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: This 6’6” Notre Dame standout had a relatively unassuming year in an injury-shortened 2013, catching only 30 passes for 313 yards and 3 scores in the face of erratic quarterback play. But with head coach Mike Zimmer now at the helm in Minnesota and defenses stacking up against the run to stop star RB Adrian Peterson, Rudolph should have many more opportunities to score this year, especially in the red zone. He signed a brand new contract in the offseason, and he’ll be playing with first round rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater sooner than later. Draft him at his low average draft position (ADP) of 71 in Yahoo! standard 10-team leagues and enjoy the benefits.


Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens: Pitta missed nearly all of 2013 with a hip injury, but he was a key component to the Ravens’ Super Bowl run in 2012. A close friend of Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco, Pitta is targeted early and often when on the field for Baltimore. Not many people are talking about Pitta, but the sheer volume of passes he should see in 2014 will more than justify his current ADP of 72. Pitta definitely has the chance to break out and provide truly elite level production for a mere fraction of the price. Don’t underestimate his abilities coming off a down year.


Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins: Reed showed flashes of brilliance as a rookie in 2013 until a concussion forced him out towards the end of the year. Still, he caught 45 balls for 499 yards and 3 scores even with Washington’s star QB Robert Griffin obviously suffering the ill effects of returning too soon from a torn ACL. With new coach Jay Gruden running the show and RGIII back to health, expect Reed to build on his stats in a big way in 2014. The injury risk will always be there with Reed, but his athleticism outweighs the gamble. With a multitude of other offensive weapons drawing attention in Washington Reed will put up some huge numbers for his ADP of 88.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles: Ertz had a decent rookie season in Philadelphia, hauling in 36 passes for 469 yards and four scores.  But he looked out of synch at times, failing to fully adjust to the NFL game with blossoming quarterback Nick Foles. Another year under his belt will undoubtedly serve the talented, up-and-coming Ertz in 2014. Benefitting from the high-octane attack of head coach Chip Kelly, the Eagle’s coaching staff has sung the praises of Ertz this offseason. He’s poised to be on the field a lot more this year, giving him the chance to blow up in his second season. Ertz is a steal at his bottom-dwelling ADP of 111.


Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers: Green only started getting significant playing time in the second half of 2013, but he impressed once he did. The athletic field-stretcher has learned from the tutelage of Chargers’ great Antonio Gates, and now he may be headed to replace the legend. Although Gates is still in the fold, it’s a foregone conclusion that Green will see increased playing time this season. He caught 17 balls for a staggering 376 yards and 6 scores last year, and if Gates goes down with an injury this year, watch out. Green presents one of the bigger gambles at TE, but he also presents some of the biggest upside. And at his current ADP of 130, you simply can’t go wrong with this freakishly talented athlete.

About the Author

Both an avid NFL fan and analyst, I’ve been following professional football since the late 1980s. I’m also an avid fantasy football player with several league victories under my belt. Check out my NFL articles on TSM for the latest NFL news, highlights, predictions, and more.

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