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Week 1 Tight Ends - Waiver Wire Pickups and Adds


So your fantasy draft left you with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, a terrific tandem at running back, and two tight ends that will not be able to catch a cold even if they were in a frozen pond in the dead of winter with nothing on but tube socks. Well, it is time to fix your drafting error and fill your void at tight end via the waiver wire!

Here is a look at some tight ends that probably went undrafted in your fantasy league that you can pick up before your first game of the season.

When you're done here, don't forget to check out our waiver wire recommendations at running back.

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Week 1 TE Waiver Wire Pickups 

Vernon Davis, Washington Redskins

I know Davis is 100 years old, and I know he is technically the backup for Jordan Reed in Washington, but Reed is the most injury-prone tight end in the NFL. He makes Rob Gronkowski look as durable as Brett Favre in a Jets uniform. So if you were a gambler and drafted Reed and have a spot on your roster where you can stash Davis as a rare tight end handcuff, it is a no-brainer.

Davis had 43 receptions for 648 yards last season and could equal those numbers again if Reed gets injured for umpteenth time. New Redskins quarterback Alex Smith loves tossing to his tight ends (check out Travis Kelce’s numbers the past couple seasons in Kansas City for a reminder), and the Redskins receiving corps is average-at-best. Also, Washington only faces one pass defense (Jacksonville) that was ranked in the top 10 in 2017. Davis is not going to put up Zach Ertz numbers, but he could be better than what you have at TE right now.

Antonio Gates, Los Angeles Chargers

You knew it would happen. As soon as Hunter Henry torn his ACL this offseason, everyone penciled in Gates as the Chargers’ top tight end. He took his sweet time returning, taking a page out of Le’Veon Bell’s playbook, but Gates has signed and is automatically the No. 1 TE on the Chargers depth chart.

Gates had a career-low 316 receiving yards last season, but that was partially due to Henry taking his targets at tight end. Philip Rivers zones in on Gates more in the red zone than I zone in on the food court at the mall. Without Henry on the field, Rivers will focus on Keenan Allen first and then Gates second in many games, if not most of the games. Do not be surprised if Gates takes a big gulp from the Fountain of Youth and finishes with 55 receptions for 500 yards and six scores.

Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts

Ebron was viewed as a disappointment by fantasy owners and Lions fan during his four-year tenure in Detroit. The former first-round pick only caught 11 touchdown passes over that span and only averaged 45 receptions and 515 yards per season, and he was part of a pass-first offense that could not run the ball, so you would think he could have done a lot more with his skill set on that squad.

Ebron now is the No. 2 TE behind workmanlike Jack Doyle, who makes key catches but has no chance of winning a gold medal in the 100-yard-dash (8.6 YPC in 2017). A healthy Andrew Luck could give Ebron’s fantasy value new life if there are enough targets for him after Doyle and T.Y. Hilton get theirs. Ebron is worth a fantasy flyer if your tight end situation on your team is as murky as a polluted ocean.

 

Other Options

Jake Butt, Denver Broncos

The former Michigan product missed his entire rookie season due to a torn ACL, but Denver has little competition at tight end with inconsistent Jeff Heuerman as the only guy standing in Butt’s way. Butt is a fantasy longshot at this juncture, but remember how well Case Keenum meshed with Kyle Rudolph in Minnesota? Maybe a Butt-Keenum connection could be fruitful.

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

I would rather take a chance on a player that I know little about than one I know a lot about that has limited upside and/or potential. Gesicki has athleticism and catches better than he blocks, so wouldn’t you rather pick up a player like this if you need a tight end rather than settle for Dwayne Allen?

 

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