Don't Overlook a Proven Star To Draft Jermichael Finley in Fantasy

Eric StashinSenior Writer IAugust 5, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Jermichael Finley #88 of the Green Bay Packers makes a 44 yard reception over  Bryant McFadden #25 of the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter of the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Jermichael Finley has become the vogue pick among tight ends in fantasy drafts this season.  With an ADP of right around 60, according to Mock Draft Central, he is the fourth tight end coming off the board.  That’s before Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez, and Brent Celek.

His quarterback certainly plays a role in that.  With Aaron Rodgers (who is the top QB on our rankings, which you can view by clicking here ),  throwing him the ball, he has an advantage that other tight ends don’t have.  Then again, Rodgers does move the ball around, with eight receivers with at least 20 receptions.

His stats last season also help, catching 55 balls for 676 yards and 5 TD in his sophomore season.  The thing is, those are nice numbers, but far from elite.

Take Celek, who enjoyed a breakout campaign.  He had 76 receptions for 971 yards and 8 TD, trumping Finley across the board.

Finley did miss time, playing in 13 games, so that does help those trumpeting him this season.  His stretch from Weeks 13-16 certainly didn’t hurt either:

  • Week 13 vs. Baltimore - 7 catches, 79 yards, 2 TD
  • Week 14 @ Chicago - 5 catches, 70 yards, 0 TD
  • Week 15 @ Pittsburgh - 9 catches, 74 yards, 1 TD
  • Week 16 vs. Seattle - 3 catches, 80 yards, 0 TD

That’s consistency, but he stills needs to prove that he can do it for 16 weeks and not just four.  Ignore the injuries, of his other nine games he had over 70 yards just once (128 yards in Week 4).  Four of his five touchdowns came over the final five weeks of the season.

You can argue that Gonzalez is on the downside of his career, but he still had 83 catches for 867 yards and 6 TD.  Plus, you could easily argue that he’s the second target on his team, behind Roddy White.

Celek has a young QB throwing the ball, one who may rely on a safety net early and often. While he may not be “proven,” he has shown his ability for a full season.

Witten may be the most puzzling one of all, however.  He has three straight years of at least 80 receptions.  He has three straight years of at least 950 yards.  Since 2004, he has averaged at least 11.0 yards per catch every season.

He is the epitome of consistency, a certainty.

Even if Finley erupts this year, can you tell me that he is going to be better than what Witten has already proven to be?  Finley has a ton of potential and may develop into one of the elite, but why would you gamble on him over a proven commodity?

Don’t get caught up in the hype.  Just because a player has a buzz surrounding him, and a ton of athletic ability, doesn’t mean that you have to draft him early (just look at Vernon Davis prior to 2009). 

I have Finley ranked as the seventh tight end (click here for my rankings), behind all three guys I mentioned earlier.

I could buy drafting him before Celek.  Maybe I could even see Gonzalez, if you feel he’s at the point in his career that he is going to regress significantly (or if it’s a keeper league).  Witten, though, I’m never going to understand.

Hype is just hype.  Proven talent is much more valuable.

What are your thoughts on Finley?  Where do you rank him among tight ends?  Why?

Make sure to check out Rotoprofessor’s 2010 rankings:

Also, make sure to check out our recent rookie rankings:


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