Zach Sudfeld Should Remain out of Fantasy Lineups Regardless of Injury Status

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2013

Aug 16, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Zach Sudfeld (44) is tackled by Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Keith Tandy (37) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

It only took one week for Zach Sudfeld to go from the biggest sleeper in fantasy football to a total bust.

The New England Patriots rookie showed great potential during the preseason, totaling eight catches for 101 yards with a touchdown. At 6'7" with great athleticism, there was plenty of reason to believe he could succeed when given the opportunity.

Amazingly, he got that chance right away with Aaron Hernandez out of the picture and Rob Gronkowski out while recovering from multiple surgeries during the offseason. All of a sudden, Sudfeld was the starting tight end on a team that loved to utilize the position.

However, he did not take advantage of this chance in Week 1 and struggled throughout the contest. He apparently suffered a hamstring injury during the game and is questionable to play Thursday night against the New York Jets, according to Luke Hughes of NESN.

Still, it is important to note that Sudfeld struggled even before sustaining his injury. He only got a single target in the game, and he tipped the ball into the arms of a defender for an interception.

Other than that, he could not get himself open and was a non-factor in the passing game.

Instead, Michael Hoomanawanui got the majority of snaps at tight end and will likely remain there in Week 2. The fourth-year player might not be an elite receiver, but he knows the offense and is a quality blocker to help the rushing attack.

If Sudfeld is out for Week 2, it likely ruins his window of opportunity as Gronkowski remains optimistic to return in Week 3, according to Kevin Patra of The rookie will still get some snaps, but he will not be a focal point of the offense.

On the other hand, even if Sudfeld plays, it is hard to imagine a performance any better than what he showed against the Buffalo Bills.

Not only did he struggle while on the field, he clearly does not have the trust of Tom Brady, which is really the most important thing in this offense. Julian Edelman might not be the most talented receiver in the league, but the quarterback is willing to throw him the ball consistently.

With few other options on the roster, Edelman becomes a very good fantasy start this week. Unfortunately, Sudfeld has not earned this status.

This is the reason he was the most dropped player in fantasy football this week, according to ESPN. He is only owned in 5.3 percent of leagues now, and those still holding out hope might want to give up soon.

Week 1 showed that tight end is a deep position this season. Not only did 16 different players catch a touchdown pass, but five of them caught two. Anyone looking for a replacement at the position should not have to look far to find one.

There was a lot of hope for Sudfeld entering the year both from fantasy owners and the Patriots. Unfortunately, it appears as though it will take some more time for him to reach his potential.


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