2010 Fantasy Football's Under and Overrated Tight Ends
Every season, we under or overvalue players in the offseason; it's the nature of the beast. Whether it is personnel changes around them, scheme changes, or injury concerns... something jumps out and makes us either love or hate a player before the season even begins. Last week, we looked at a few of the wide receivers who are undervalued and overvalued, based on their Average Draft Position (ADP). In this exciting conclusion of our series, we'll consider a few tight ends whose ADP doesn't quite match their value.
(Note that just because I think someone is overrated, doesn't mean I don't think they will perform this season. I just think the cost of drafting them is too high. Likewise, if someone is underrated, it doesn't mean they will be the top fantasy scorer at their position, just that they will outperform their draft position.)
Times have changed for Tight Ends
Once upon a time there was a world of difference between your elite tight ends and the rest of the field. A small handful of owners would opt to take Tony Gonzalez or Shannon Sharpe in the middle rounds, and the rest of the field would wait until the end of the draft and consider anything they got from their TE as a bonus. Unless you landed one of the elite TEs, that roster spot was about as helpful as your kicker.
As the position evolved, developing a larger role in the receiving game, the TE slot that changed from an afterthought to a luxury for a few teams is now a crucial player, expected to contribute on a weekly basis. In 2010, with more teams using big, athletic tight ends to find mismatches against the defense, the position is flush with fantasy talent. More people to love, more people to hate.
Owen Daniels - OVERRATED
Owen Daniels (ADP 91, TE8)
It seems that Daniels' explosion into the top tier of tight ends has been the talk of the offseason since his rookie campaign when he turned only 34 receptions into five touchdowns. While his yardage and receptions continued to climb the following seasons, the touchdowns weren't as easy to come by.
Last season, he started the season on a tear with five TDs and almost 500 yards in only seven games before tearing his ACL in Buffalo. With the talent at TE this year, I am just not willing to use a pick this high on someone who still has not gotten back on the field. Passing up a potential sleeper like Justin Forsett (ADP 97) for someone only ten months removed from ACL surgery doesn't add up when there are other options available.
Zach Miller - UNDERRATED
Zach Miller (ADP 93, TE9)
I'll admit this one is pretty obvious; Miller has been something of a darling for fantasy writers all offseason. His catches, yards and YAC have increased each season since he entered the league in 2007. However, trapped in an offense with Jamarcus Russell, his red zone opportunities were limited and he has scored only seven touchdowns in three years. Enter: Jason Campbell, the modest but consistent quarterback acquired by the Raiders during this year's draft who has spent the last few seasons checking down to his tight end in Washington. The WR corps in Oakland resembles the Redskins in that there is no proven, reliable target. Expect Campbell to lean heavily on Miller whose catches and yards will continue to increase and should finally get some red zone opportunities.
Jeremy Shockey - OVERRATED
Jeremy Shockey (ADP 242, TE17)
My problem here is not where he's being drafted but that he is being drafted at all. In almost half of all leagues (45.8%) he is clogging up valuable roster space. Aside from the fact that drafting a backup TE is unforgivable, the bottom of the draft is for high-upside players flying under the radar – Shockey is cashing checks based solely on brand name recognition. In two seasons with New Orleans he has never caught more than 50 passes in a season and has three total touchdowns. The Saints' system is designed to spread the ball around, so don't expect to see those numbers change much this season. Shockey's best football is behind him and he is a bye week replacement at best.
Chris Cooley - UNDERRATED
Chris Cooley (ADP 107, TE11)
Brent Celek vaulted from a waiver pickup in 2009 to the sixth TE off the board this year (ADP 69) on the strength of a 971 yard, eight TD season. But Donovan McNabb, the man who threw seven of those touchdowns has moved on from Philadelphia and has a new tight end to target. His name is Chris Cooley and has logged less than six touchdowns in only one of the five seasons in which he played 16 games. In that one season of pay dirt drought he posted career highs with 83 receptions for 849 yards. When healthy, there has not been a more consistent tight end over the past six years (outside of the big three – Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark), and he enters 2010 with a more talented quarterback than he has ever played with. A dearth of reliable receivers in Washington will only help Cooley as his quarterback looks to him early and often.
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Written by Chris Sheehan exclusively for the www.thefantasyfix.com. Chris is an avid football fan and has been playing fantasy football for over ten years. Check back for more great articles from him weekly.
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