by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Those who play in the deepest of formats are always scraping the bottom of the barrel to try and find value in the later rounds of their draft. As it is after the top tight ends in the league, you could argue that you are better off streaming since options tend to rise and fall without notice. There are some who could emerge, however, and here are three players worth targeting:
Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints
Average ADP – 162.2
This time last year the entire fantasy community seemed to be on the Coby Fleener bandwagon. At 6’6” and 251 lbs. he was seen has the “new” Jimmy Graham for Drew Brees. Instead of breaking out, though, he continued to be just another tight end picking up 50 catches for 631 yards and 3 TD.
A year later no one seems to be talking about Fleener or his potential to produce. However the landscape in New Orleans has changed (and early in the season there’s more questions, with the suspension of Willie Snead). Brandin Cooks and his 117 targets are now in New England and no true replacement was imported. While the team could go more ground based (Adrian Peterson, Alvin Kamara), there should still be more chances.
While many are pointing towards Michael Thomas, would it really be a surprise to see Fleener emerge as a post-hype sleeper? Even if he kept his same completion rate and yards per catch from a year ago, if he went up to 100 targets (from 82) we’d be looking at about 61 catches for 768 yards. Still not “sexy” numbers, the receptions would’ve tied him for tenth most among tight ends and the yards would’ve placed him seventh.
Any type of growth in the rapport between Fleener and Brees could easily turn 2017 into a big season with potentially Top 5 production.
Dwayne Allen – New England Patriots
Average ADP – 212.5
Considering what Martellus Bennett did in the secondary role a year ago, it’s surprising Allen hasn’t garnered much attention. Granted Bennett was a boom or bust option on a weekly basis, but how many tight ends aren’t? While the addition of Brandin Cooks could limit the number of opportunities for the secondary pieces, is it a stretch to imagine Allen coming close to Bennett’s 55 receptions, 701 yards and 7 TD from a year ago (especially now that Julian Edelman is out for the season)? Let’s not forget that he’s coming off a 6 TD campaign in his own right and will now have Tom Brady throwing him the football. As a TE2, he’s worth the gamble.
Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons
Average ADP – 175.4
We recently talked about Hooper as a potential sleeper, which you can read by clicking here. It’s definitely interesting that he joins Fleener on this list, as NFL.com actually compared Hooper to him prior to the draft. Reports are that he’s working hard and he should emerge as the team’s top option with Jacob Tamme no longer in the mix. Don’t sleep on him.
Sources – Fantasy Pros, ESPN, Yahoo!
Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Preseason Rankings: