Why Charles Clay Isn’t More Than A TE2 In All Formats

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Would it surprise you if I said that the Dolphins’ Charles Clay was the 7th best fantasy tight end last season? It probably does, as his performance fell well under the radar for many. Does that make him an obvious top option this season? It’s not quite that cut and dry.

Clay had some big games and some where he was hardly noticed, as unfortunately is common for the majority of the tight ends in the league (outside of the true top options). However, at the end of the day his production was fairly consistent:

  • Games 1-8 – 32 receptions for 363 yards and 3 TD
  • Games 9-16 – 37 receptions for 396 yards and 3 TD

He also was one of the few tight ends to be targeted 100 times last season. Throw in the potential breakout of Ryan Tannehill (which we discussed here) and there appears to be only good things to say.

Again, though…  However…

While Clay will continue to work as a safety net for Tannehill, we have to expect an improved rapport between the QB and Mike Wallace (which we saw this past weekend). That should mean more targets in his direction, as well as better success in the passes he throws to him. That necessitates fewer passes to Clay.

The team added Knowshon Moreno, who adds another dimension as a receiving option out of the backfield. Last season Lamar Miller led Dolhpins’ running backs with 35 targets. Moreno was targeted 74 times last season in Denver. Obviously a lot of that has to do with Peyton Manning, but it’s still easy to imagine him playing a big role in Miami’s passing game.

Now, you also have a healthy Brandon Gibson and the newly drafted Jarvis Landry, as well as Brian Hartline and Rishard Matthews in the passing game. In other words, there are a lot of potential options.

Does all this mean that Clay isn’t a player worth drafting? Absolutely not, it just means we need to keep our expectations in check. He’s much better suited to be a TE2/bye week fill-in as opposed to your penciled in starter. Despite his impressive numbers, there are a lot of reasons to believe he’s going to take a step back (or stagnate) in 2014.

Source – ESPN

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Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings:

Draft Day Decision: Which Packers' WR Should We Target: Jarrett Boykin vs. Davante Adams
Is Matt Prater No Longer Draftable?


  1. CB says:

    I do agree with your points that Clay will lose targets. However, with the addition of Lazor, and with Moreno providing some stability and intelligence in the backfield, I think the Dolphins will be a better offense, with the chance to be a prolific one. Compared to last year they will sustain more drives run more plays and will have more chances to score points. Clay is the only real redzone threat in the passing game on what could be a rejuvenated up tempo offense. Wallace is a big play guy for the most part and Hartline and Gibson are just possession receivers. Rishard Mathews is a big body and can be a sneaky source of TD but I see Clay as the top redzone option here. At the TE position if you score 8 TD you’re in the TE1 range. I think Clay’s catches can drop to maybe 55 and yds drop to the mid to high 600s but I do think Lazor knows what he’s doing and the team will score more points. Clay has an outside chance at 10 TD with a realistic shot at 8. I’d draft him as my 2nd TE but wouldn’t be shocked to see him produce again as a top 7-10 option.

    • It’s a fair point, but I’m not sure I’d bank on him getting into the 8 TD range. I have him pegged for 6, which keeps him in the 15ish range.

      I do believe he’ll be borderline TE1, but much better suited as a second option. That said, the more we look at tight ends the more we realize how deep the position as become.

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