Dynasty Debate: Rookie Drafts
Should drafting a TE be a top priority in 2014 rookie drafts?
Jimmy Graham, Jordan Cameron and Julius Thomas… all names you want on your dynasty team. If you drafted one of them as a rookie, you know that feeling of nailing one of your picks with a high value player when they blowup. Still, tight end is not one of the more popular positions in fantasy football and sometimes overlooked. Below, Darren and Zhan will weigh the different pros and cons of drafting a TE in a 2014 rookie draft.[column size=”one-half”]
It depends on your fantasy team needs, but for argument sake, let’s say your roster depth is fairly even overall and could use help at almost any position. The quickest impact for fantasy production can sometimes be a big red zone target, yet I don’t trust many TEs this year. With the receiver position being so deep, you can easily find value in most rounds.
As I mentioned in the recent High Five article, I think Eric Ebron is overrated as a top pick. I would not want to take him in the middle of the first round over more certain talent like Devonta Freeman, Jordan Matthews and Brandin Cooks. I think Jace Amaro is pretty overrated as the #2 TE overall since he went to the Jets. What do Graham, Gronkowski and Thomas all have in common? A great QB. Amaro has Geno Smith or Michael Vick, who has never been able to produce a solid TE teammate.
I do like Austin Seferian-Jenkins in Tampa. I would have him as my #2 just a little behind Ebron. Josh McCown is a pretty good QB and did well with Martellus Bennett last season. He’s a good guy to get in round two. Just like in re-draft leagues where you can find a TE late, I think 2014 rookie drafts provide a good amount of deep talent. I like the idea of waiting on a sleeper like Troy Niklas, C.J. Fiedorowicz or Colt Lyerla.
It is important to get a solid TE and have depth at the position, but I don’t think anyone in this draft is worth over-reaching for. In most seasons, a few TEs will emerge from nowhere to make for great waiver wire pick-ups. For that and the reasons above, don’t panic if you get a few rounds into your rookie draft without a TE. The value is not quite there this year.[/column] [column size=”one-half” last=”true”]
Typically, it is rare for any rookie tight end to come into the league and make an immediate impact. That being said, it has never stopped me from loading up on the position in rookie drafts. To me there are two main things you have to consider when drafting rookie tight ends any year…
First, league rules and scoring. If your league is a tight end premium league (1.5 PPR), or you can start multiple tight ends, then obviously the value of the position is higher than the basic leagues that most are used to. In most of those leagues, it’s not unheard of to see two tight ends go in the first round of rookie drafts. As we know, the position has become more valuable in the past few years with the emergence of plays like Graham and Gronkowski. Fantasy owners are always trying to find the next big star TE. If you are able to hit on rookie tight end you drafted, not only will he rack up the fantasy points, but he could set your franchise up for success for years to come.
The second thing to consider when drafting rookie tight ends is your roster construction. Are you a contending team? Are you rebuilding? Can you afford to sit on a player for a year or two because of small roster size? These are all questions that may seem obvious, but are often overlooked. Too many times people get enamored with the flashy, media driven names during rookie drafts, forgetting about their own player evaluations and roster situations. For example, everyone thinks Eric Ebron is going to be a stud in the pass happy Lions offense, yet it seems nobody talks about Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Darren is spot on with his analysis on that.
I’m a firm believer in drafting for depth and trading for need, as well as talent over situation (with the exception being running backs in both instances). Therefore, if your team is in good shape all around, it’s a good idea to take a rookie tight end. If they are high on your board take them, even of they sit on your roster for a year or so. That’s how good teams build depth for the future. However, if you are in need of a tight end and think you can just draft a rookie right end to fill the need, you might want to think again and just try trading for an established one. [/column]
With over five years of fantasy football experience Darren has won a high percentage of leagues and is an expert on IDP. When not setting a line-up, he works as a freelance writer for The Miami Herald.