by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There has been a lot of hype building for Ladrius Green and his potential to breakout in 2014. There is obviously a lot to like, given his ability to be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. He’s got freakish athletic ability as well as being 6’6″ and 240 lbs. He certainly has the chance to emerge as one of the better tight ends in the league, but that doesn’t mean he’s there yet…
Let’s not forget that Antonio Gates still plays for the Chargers. Granted, at 34-years old and given his injury history it’s impossible to consider him the same player he once was. That doesn’t mean he is suddenly going to stop producing however.
Last year alone he still managed to produce 77 receptions for 872 yards and 4 TD. That’s not to say that there wasn’t a notable regression in his production:
- September – 25 receptions for 364 yards and 2 TD
- October – 17 receptions for 133 yards and 0 TD
- November – 17 receptions for 188 yards and 1 TD
- December – 18 receptions for 187 yards and 1 TD
The split is even more noticeable when we look at it for the first eight games and the second eight games of the season:
- Games 1-8 – 48 receptions for 550 yards and 2 TD
- Games 9-16 – 29 receptions for 322 yards and 2 TD
That said, even if we were simply to look at the final eight games and assume that is going to be the player he is now it would put him on pace for nearly 60 receptions and 650 yards. Not to mention last season was the first time since 2003 that he scored fewer than 7 TD in a season.
While the emergence of Keenan Allen is going to hurt him in the touchdown department, as is the continued development of Ryan Mathews, it’s easy to imagine a few more scores. At least we would hope so, though at this point in his career we can’t say for certain.
Could Gates prove to be a viable option this season? Absolutely, though he also could begin ceding more opportunities to the emerging Green. Throw in the other receiving options the team has and Gates’ time as a starting fantasy tight end has likely come to an end.
He’s well worth drafting as a TE2 and could conceivable play his way into a starting role. However, given the recent emergence of young tight ends across the league (including one he’s going to share time with), he’s nothing more than a bench player with upside.
Source – ESPN
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Make sure to check out all of our 2014 rankings: