Editor’s Note: Looking for more trustworthy fantasy assets to help you this year? Check out Three RBs You Can Trust.
Picture me as your fantasy football therapist in this scenario. I tell you a story about a recent client who is dealing with fantasy football trust issues. Now I can’t disclose names obviously, but let’s say this client traded for Greg Olsen last season because he believed he would solidify his team. After the trade took place, Olsen was mediocre and he as we say here at The Fantasy Footballers “Crapped Your Team.” My client was so upset that he named his bathroom after Olsen. Don’t quote me on that though. After such a traumatizing season, you can imagine that my client would be experiencing fantasy football trust issues. To all my friends and future clients, I prescribe three tight ends below you can grab near the middle to end of your draft and trust them all season long in 2017.
Check out where Andy, Mike, and Jason have these tight ends ranked for 2017.
Eric Ebron – Lions
The best value in PPR leagues at the tight end position is Eric Ebron. Yep, you read that right. Ebron is entering his fourth year in the NFL and still only 24 years old. He was drafted 10th overall by the Lions in the 2014 NFL Draft. He has all the tools to be an elite tight end in the NFL and this will be the season where he puts it together.
So why is he the best value? Let’s look at the graph below.
The obvious choice is Player A at that value right? Would you still think that if Player B’s name was Travis Kelce? Ebron was putting up impressive numbers last season and now his opportunity has gotten even better. Anquan Boldin is no longer on the Lions and he was a major blame for Ebron’s one touchdown last season. Boldin had the third most red zone targets in the NFL with 22 and the second most yards in the red zone with 107.
If Ebron gets more opportunities in the red zone that will simply lead to more touchdowns. When Ebron was targeted in the red zone last season, he was great catching five of his six targets. Even Ebron himself has said he is excited for his new role on the team. He is a talented young player who will continue to get a high volume of targets on a team that loves to pass. Ebron is a tight end I will target in every PPR draft this upcoming season.
Kyle Rudolph – Vikings
Normally when a tight end has a great year he ends up being overdrafted the following year. Why isn’t this happening with Kyle Rudolph? He finished last season as TE2 and was reliable all season long. He had the second most red zone targets in the NFL (24) behind only Jordy Nelson (29). His 10 targets inside the 10-yard line were most among tight ends, the next closest was Jordan Reed with eight.
Sam Bradford loves the tight end because it fits the style of play he is successful with. Rudolph had the most targets for a tight end in 2016 with 132 and Bradford targeted Zach Ertz and Brent Celek a combined 147 times in 2015 with the Eagles. Rudolph built chemistry with Bradford as the season went on which is to be expected since Bradford basically showed up to play for the Vikings a week before the season started. Over the final eight games of the season, Rudolph had 51 catches for 517 yards. For comparison, Antonio Brown had 51 catches also the final eight games of last season.
Rudolph was consistent, reliable and finally lived up to the hype that has surrounded him throughout his career. Now he may not be the most famous tight end of them all but you can trust Rudolph to lead your fantasy team in 2017.
Jack Doyle – Colts
Trust me, this Doyle rules shaggin’ wagon will not drive off a cliff. I believe in the player that Jack Doyle is and the value he brings to your fantasy roster. Currently, Doyle is the 13th tight end off the board and being taken in the 12th round of drafts this summer. That is an absolute steal for a tight end that has the upside of Doyle in 2017. The Colts signed Doyle to a three-year $18.9 million deal and traded Dwayne Allen to the Patriots. If that doesn’t tell you how the Colts feel about Doyle then I’m not quite sure what will.
Check out Doyle’s NFL game film review in our What’s On Tape series.
Doyle has been extremely efficient for the Colts with a catch rate of 79.6 percent on 118 targets in his career. Imagine if he can continue his consistency and get a heavy target share that we see Colts tight ends receive. During the last two healthy seasons for Andrew Luck (2014, 2016), he targeted his tight ends 164 times which resulted in 98 catches for 1,287 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2014 and 149 targets from 109 catches for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2016. Will this be the third time the Colts tight ends combine for 1,287 yards? I love random stats like that.
Doyle is the clear cut starting tight end who has shown that he is a reliable target for Luck and Luck has shown he loves his tight ends. Doyle will rule in 2017, you can trust me on that.