If you have Tyler Eifert, start him. If you have the opportunity to pick up Tyler Eifert, do it.
Those are two of the immediate takeaways during the Cincinnati Bengals' Week 2 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The rookie tight end started out the game with a bang, going 61 yards on his first reception of the first quarter. It put the Bengals on the Steelers' 13-yard line, with Giovani Bernard eventually running it in from seven yards out for the touchdown.
Eifert finished with three receptions for 66 yards.
This follows what was a strong debut for the former Notre Dame star. He had five catches for 47 yards in the Bengals' 24-21 loss to the Chicago Bears. He matched expectations and perhaps even surpassed what some had projected for him in that opening game.
In all likelihood, Eifert has already been snapped up in most leagues. Even with Jermaine Gresham taking away targets, he projected as a solid fantasy option coming into the season and at least worthy of a spot on the bench. In the off chance he's available on your league's waiver wire, Eifert is a player you should really be looking at and grabbing at the earliest opportunity.
Unless you've got a top-five tight end, Efiert brings the kind of consistency you can only hope to get out of somebody at that position. It's quickly become the most volatile in all fantasy football. Finding a tight end who's guaranteed to give you points every week is a major plus.
The problem with Eifert is that his ceiling isn't going to be all that high for 2013. You're not going to see him getting 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns this year. More realistic is something like 600-700 yards and four or five touchdowns, which are very respectable in their own right.
The biggest concern regarding his fantasy value is whether or not Gresham will take away too many targets in the passing game. So far, it doesn't seem to be too much of a problem, and with every game, you get the feeling Gresham will be ceding more and more to Eifert in the offense.
Although two-tight end sets are becoming more and more popular, the Bengals likely wouldn't have drafted a tight end in the first round if they had had full confidence in Gresham. Dropped passes have plagued him in the past, and his concentration level isn't always there, as evidenced by the two false-start penalties he incurred in the first quarter against the Steelers.
Don't be surprised if Eifert becomes quarterback Andy Dalton's favored tight end at some point this season.
Nobody should be under the impression that Eifert will become a top-tier fantasy tight end this year. His playing time will continue to be limited until he becomes a better pass-blocker, as well. With the combination of Gresham and A.J. Green in the passing game and head coach Marvin Lewis' affinity for the run game, there's still a ways to go before Eifert can be considered an elite option.
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