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Tight end is shallow even for the smallest of leagues.  Let’s take a look at some sleepers for 8-12 man leagues at the tight end spot who could potentially put up TE1 numbers.

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Tight End Fantasy Football Sleepers

Delanie Walker - 12 standard - 10 PPR

With a mess of a quarterback situation in 2014, Walker finished as a top ten fantasy option at the tight end position.  He caught four or more passes in 11 of 16 games, but really only had two massive games (DAL and PHI) that helped salvage his fantasy season.  There are some promising things to note: Walker ranked third in missed tackles for the position with 18, was fourth in yards after the catch and was fifth in targets.  On the other hand, his catch rate of 63% was a major problem.

However, as Pro Football Focus notes, the Titans QB’s were responsible for 45% of the Titans' incompletions, meaning that 45% of the team’s passes weren’t even catchable.  That’s an exceptionally bad stat.  If Marcus Mariota is even slightly more competent than last year’s quarterbacks (which he should have no trouble doing), then Walker should continue to be a dangerous weapon. He should improve upon his low touchdown total (four) from last year.

The looming legal problems of Justin Hunter make the situation better for him, as Walker becomes the default #2 option behind Kendall Wright (I don’t expect Green-Beckham to be a major contributor in his rookie campaign). I’d take him over Jason Witten, Josh Hill, and Owen Daniels, all of whom currently have a higher ADP.

 

Dwayne Allen - 13 standard - 14 PPR

I want everyone on the Colts and so should you.  Dwayne Allen had a phenomenal rookie year for a tight end, got injured, then came back and scored eight touchdowns on 29 receptions in 2014.  Coby Fleener was the primary starter at tight end in the early goings last year as Allen worked himself into game shape, and while his stats were impressive, his numerous drops were not.  With Allen expected to enter training camp healthy, he’s likely to be the #1 tight end, and possible a high volume one in Indy.

Andre Johnson and T.Y. Hilton are going to be the target hogs, with Donte Moncrief and/or Phillip Dorsett likely seeing some quality snaps as well. Allen should still have plenty of work in the pass-heavy Colts offense. Outside of Andre Johnson, who was criminally underused in the red zone while in Houston, Allen is the only  proven red zone weapon on the team.  If he plays at least 14 games this year, he’s a good bet for 10 touchdowns to go along with 50 receptions, which should easily be enough for a top ten ranking at the position.

 

Tyler Eifert - 19 standard - 17 PPR

I actually like Eifert quite a bit this year.  In less than two quarters, he had three catches for 37 yards in his first game of 2014, and looked like the perfect intermediate weapon that Andy Dalton needed. However, he dislocated his elbow and was lost for the season.  If Eifert stays healthy this year, I believe he’ll put up a top 12 year as a mid/high-level volume target.  Eifert was the top prospect in the 2013 tight end class (higher than Zach Ertz), and has ideal size and speed for his position. He no longer has to worry about splitting time with Jermaine Gresham, who is now an Arizona Cardinal. Eifert is more of a field-stretcher than Gresham was, so his line could read something like 65-700-6, good for top 10 in the league.  I expect Marvin Jones to be second in the passing game, but Eifert should have no problem supplanting Mohamed Sanu as the primary intermediate target.

 

Tight End Fantasy Football Deep Sleepers

Ladarius Green - 13 standard - 18 PPR

I’m not a huge fan of Green heading into 2015.  He’s a great athlete, but he struggles to do much other than beating linebackers down the middle of the field.  However, he’s a starter in a high-octane offense that lacks a true deep threat.  That’s enough to put him on the radar while Antonio Gates is suspended. While I expect Gates to get his job back when he returns thanks to his resurgent 2014 season, Green could stay on the radar and force the team to go to two-tight end sets if he performs well in his first four weeks.  I wouldn’t draft him as a starter, but he should make for a great high-upside flier in the later rounds.

 

Austin Seferian-Jenkins - 20 standard - 19 PPR

ASJ is a massive human being, standing 6’5" and weighing in at 262. He was a mega-prospect at one point before a relatively lackluster final year in college, and reports have been glowing this off-season after a similarly disappointing rookie year.  Jameis Winston is an instant upgrade at quarterback, which should be a positive for Seferian-Jenkins as the Bucs' only interior weapon.  While he won’t out-target Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, he should still see a huge increase from the 38 he saw last year.  He’s a favorite of mine as a TE2 for those who like to draft two late tight ends and hope one pans out, as he has absolutely no competition for his role.  Another note--Jameis Winston threw to tight end Nick O’Leary 73 times last year at Florida State, which led the nation in tight end targets.

 

Eric Ebron - 17 standard - unranked PPR

It’s a bit weird to see Ebron ranked this low, but it also makes sense given his  limited role in 2014. Tight end is a notoriously hard position for rookies to learn, so I fully expect Ebron to improve this season. Brandon Pettigrew is one of the most underwhelming starters in the league, so Ebron could easily surpass him on the depth chart out of training camp. Matthew Stafford has a relatively down year in 2014, and still threw for 4300 yards, meaning there should be enough work for Ebron to make an impact.  Ebron was overhyped during the draft, but he is still a size-speed mismatch that the Lions desperately need over the middle of the field.  Ebron should be no more than fourth on the target depth chart in 2015, but that could still mean 70-80 targets, which puts him on the TE2 radar.  If he becomes a weapon in the red zone, he makes for a great waiver wire addition. Ebron's value would also increase if Calvin Johnson or Golden Tate were to miss any time.

 

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