Fantasy Football 2014: Outlook for Draft's Top 5 Tight Ends
While they don’t come with the same fanfare as running backs and wide receivers when it comes to fantasy appeal, tight ends should not be neglected on fantasy football draft day.
With the NFL utilizing the tight end position more and more these days, NFL teams are more apt to pick a tight end early in the NFL Draft. Never is that more apparent than with this year’s crop of tight ends, highlighted by Eric Ebron, who is teetering on the brink of being a top-10 pick (Charles Davis of NFL.com has Ebron going ninth to the Bills).
It’s not just Ebron you should target, as there are some other legitimate prospects who can make for some great long-term fantasy assets.
So, in this slideshow will be the top five tight ends (in order of long-term impact) to target for fantasy purposes.
- Xavier Grimble, USC
- Arthur Lynch, Georgia
- Joe Don Duncan, Dixie State
- Crockett Gillmore, Colorado State
- Jake Murphy, Utah
5. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Iowa
C.J. Fiedorowicz won’t dazzle you, but he is as steady as they come at the position.
Fiedorowicz combines great hands and route-running ability to separate from defenders and can get downfield relatively well. Depending on the team that drafts him, he can be used in a variety of packages.
He might take the similar path that Zach Ertz took last year, in that he was slowly moved into his team’s offense but took off late in the season. His fantasy appeal is his potential for growth down the line.
Fiedorowicz may be a nice roll of the dice late in fantasy drafts and is a worthy keeper.
4. Troy Niklas, Notre Dame
Continuing in the long line of big-bodied and sure-handed Notre Dame tight ends such as John Carlson, Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Fasano and Tyler Eifert, comes the next in line, Troy Niklas.
What separates Niklas from the pack is his extraordinary size. At 6’7”, 270 pounds, Niklas is a beast to take down. He has decent athleticism too, but he’ll need some time to develop and grow.
The talent is there, and you should keep a close eye on Niklas, as in a couple of years he can be a major difference-maker at the tight end position, who is capable of becoming a red-zone magnet.
3. Jace Amaro, Texas Tech
Teams looking for a tight end to create mismatches should look long and hard at Texas Tech’s Jace Amaro.
At 6’5”, 265 pounds, Amaro will prove to be a matchup nightmare. He can run routes proficiently, and he is quicker than he looks.
Like most of the tight ends listed here, Amaro could be a viable weapon in the red zone, and that’s where he’ll make his mark in this league. As such, he’s also a late-round flier and more a keeper than anything else.
2. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
The one tight end with the most upside and promise for growth is Washington’s Austin Seferian-Jenkins.
Seferian-Jenkins is moving up draft boards based on his ability to outmuscle his defender and get open. At 6’6” and 262 pounds, Seferian-Jenkins has the requisite size to make a major impact in the NFL. He’s too quick for linebackers and too strong against safeties. Look for his name to likely be called on the second or third day of the draft.
Seferian-Jenkins is for sure a tight end you want to secure late in drafts if Ebron is not available, as Seferian-Jenkins is an excellent consolation prize. He could break out sooner than later.
1. Eric Ebron, North Carolina
With Eric Ebron on the verge of being perhaps a top-15 pick, his No. 1 ranking here was a mere formality.
Make no mistake, though, it’s warranted. The substance matches the hype with Ebron, as his game should translate over to the NFL well. He has the total package (size, speed, hands and football IQ) to make an immediate impact, and fantasy owners should be salivating over his potential.
He’s the real deal, and he is perhaps the only tight end you should think about drafting in both seasonal and keeper/dynasty leagues. Ebron has the chance to be really special.
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