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Dynasty Price Check - Eric Ebron


It took him five years and his second team, but tight end Eric Ebron was finally able to put it all together with the Indianapolis Colts last year. The former 15th overall pick saw career highs in nearly every category, including catches, yards and touchdowns with an eye-popping 14 total, including his one rushing score on the year. With an elite quarterback in Andrew Luck and few elite options at tight end in the NFL, Ebron inserted himself firmly into the TE1 conversation.

The Colts' system under Frank Reich borrowed some concepts from his time with the Philadelphia Eagles when it came to their tight end usage. They wanted to get the tight ends involved both as inline players, but they wanted to split them out wide. After starting tight end Jack Doyle went down with a hip injury, Ebron stepped into that role and flourished. His athleticism and size make him a mismatch for opposing defensive backs and linebackers alike.

At 25 years old, Ebron is heading into the prime of his career, and he's playing in an offense that is only going to get better with more experience together. Should you be buying him in your dynasty formats? Should you be selling high assuming that he's going to be walking in free agency next season to a different team with a lesser quarterback? That's what we're here to find out.

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Overview

Eric Ebron
Team: Indianapolis Colts
College: North Carolina
Age: 26
Height/Weight: 6'4", 253 pounds
2014 NFL Draft: Round 1, Pick 10 overall

 

Case to Buy

Tight ends typically some time to adjust to the NFL level coming out of college. Some less time and some take more. That's just how things go and every player is different. Ebron had a mini-breakout a few years ago, but his connection with Detroit Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford was never that strong. He and Luck grew together down the stretch last year, and he became a more integral part of the offense as they began to use him more.

Doyle is a fine tight end, and he has played well in his career, however, he's three years older than Ebron. With both of them set to hit free agency next offseason, Ebron could be the one they keep around for the long haul which would make him the unquestioned number one tight end in this offense. This offense likes to use two tight ends but based on 48 of Ebron's 66 catches coming in the 10 games he played without Doyle, he works better as the primary option at that spot.

His stock is on the way up, and it's only going to continue to go up as he develops that chemistry with Luck. He'll score a good amount of touchdowns every year due to his size and playing in a good offense. Tight end isn't a position that can make or break your week a lot of the time, but if you have a guy like Ebron that can put up three touchdowns in a good matchup, that's going to set you apart in your league for the next five to seven years of his prime career.

 

Case to Sell

Outside of touchdowns, what is Ebron going to bring to the table on a weekly basis? Through five seasons, he has just one game of 100 or more receiving yards, and that didn't come until last season against the New England Patriots. Take Zach Ertz of the Eagles as an example of an elite tight end. With just one extra season under his belt, he's gotten a total of 10 career 100-yard games. He also has five more touchdowns over that same time span.

Is Ebron the type of guy to chase money in what will likely be his lone opportunity to get a big contract? That's a very real possibility next year. What if he goes to a team that has a terrible quarterback situation, or the offense doesn't cater to tight ends being a major focal point of what they do? Ebron's success could be entirely based on playing within the Colts' system. He struggled with the Lions despite playing with Stafford because the offense wasn't built around him putting up good numbers.

Ebron's value may never be any higher. He's coming off of a season where he put up 14 total touchdowns on the year to be ranked third in the NFL in total scores. If you have another talented, young tight end that you're confident in long-term, you could use Ebron as a valuable trade piece to make a position of weakness better. If you try to sell him later, such as people that have tried to sell Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley this offseason, his value could be much lower for any number of reasons.

 

The Bottom Line

Ebron has never been an elite blocker, but when used as a major piece of the offense, he can be an elite receiving threat. He has great speed and he can be a mismatch up the seam when used correctly. The problem with him is his value fluctuating so heavily due to factors outside his control. He's not a main focal point of the offense as things stand currently, and he can't be relied upon consistently. If you own shares of Ebron, try to find a TE-needy team to take him off your hands now that he's at peak value.

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