Tight ends have been pretty consistent in recent years, with the same names popping up again and again at the top of the fantasy scoring tables. The stars of the position are Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski, who continue to put up impressive numbers year in and year out, making them some of the most popular picks for fantasy owners each season. However, Graham has now moved to the Seattle Seahawks in a move that could completely change his fantasy output. Graham has the talent to continue performing at the top level with his new squad, but Gronkowski is now the only sure bet for fantasy players.
That said, we would recommend that you wait for the later rounds to draft your TE1 as there is a lot of value to be found at this position. Let’s look at three players in particular who can put up some great numbers in 2015 and provide your fantasy team with a steady stream of points.
Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings
Currently ranked as the 15th tight end pick by fantasy players, Rudolph could be one of the best additions to any roster. An unfortunate groin injury put a dampener on the 25-year-old’s season and meant that he was only able to start eight games. He did well when called upon and, more impressively, the Vikings tight ends who had to fill his role still managed to put up some good numbers. This is because the Vikings are working with a new system that very much favors players like Rudolph.
Now that he is fully fit as we draw closer and closer to week 1 of the new NFL season, Rudolph will be hoping to enjoy a complete season and support his team through every game of the year. The Minnesota tight ends of 2014 saw 100+ targets and Rudolph’s talent outweighs all of them. He’s more than capable of earning a huge percentage of those targets all by himself and has a great track record when it comes to yards and conversions as well. He could certainly spring a surprise or two in 2015 and should be a great value selection for fantasy players.
Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers
Currently ranked as the 17th top player in his position by fantasy analysts, Davis has proven himself as one of the top tight ends in the nation. He isn’t quite on the same level as players like Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, but he isn’t far off. Each year, Davis quietly works away and puts up solid figures every time, except for 2014. Last year, he struggled with a number of minor injuries that didn’t keep him off the field, but prevented him from really playing like his normal self. Off-field issues with the 49ers also contributed to this drop in performance. In 2013, he managed to earn 13 receiving touchdowns and 850 yards while in 2014 he got 2 touchdowns and 245 yards.
2014 was a terrible season by his standards, but it might turn out to be a blessing for fantasy owners as it has caused Davis’ value to drop quite noticeably. This means you can now add him to your roster for a great price and you’ll be getting one of the league’s finest tight ends. The new season should see Davis straight back to the sort of form he has shown since 2009 and the addition of Torrey Smith to the squad should boost his production levels even further. Signal-caller, Colin Kaepernick has been working hard in preseason, and the whole team looks set to bounce back. Do not let yourself be fooled by Davis’ form in 2014 as he’ll be back to his best in the new season and can earn your team a lot of points.
Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
Eifert is one of the young players to watch in the 2015 season. He has great potential and has proven to have very good awareness levels for a player of his age. In his rookie campaign back in 2013, he worked together with Jermaine Gresham to build a line of 85-903-6. Those are some impressive numbers and one can only imagine the sort of fantasy output Eifert could be capable of if he was given a bit more responsibility. Well, Gresham has moved on to the Arizona Cardinals, leaving a space open for Eifert to step up and make his presence truly felt in the NFL.
This could truly be a breakout season for a player who is currently regarded as the 21st best pick in the tight end position. Working with players like A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Jeremy Hill will help to give Eifert an even better chance of having a successful season. The 24-year-old should find himself entering plenty of uneven matchups and will be able to take advantage of these situations to earn a lot of points, thanks in no small part to his youthful agility. He’s the lowest-ranked player on our list today but has the potential to be the biggest surprise of them all. Keep an eye on him if you’re looking for a great value tight end.