3 Players to Avoid In Fantasy Football for 2019: Tight End Edition

tight end

The summer months can be a difficult time for fantasy football players. We’re bombarded with so many predictions, not all of them accurate. Every NFL team thinks they have the perfect roster, and everybody and their mother has hot takes, power rankings, and sleepers. With so many opinions and analytics flying around, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. That’s where this tight end list comes in.

With the retirement of Gronk (he’s not coming back people, let him go), the tight end position is wide open. While some favorites like Kittle and Ertz have a good chance of repeat success, others are not so lucky. There are plenty of guys with high ADPs this year, based on just one good season. These are the players that you can zig-zag around, and while your league mates are taking the bait, you can grab insane value for your squad. With that in mind, here are three tight ends to avoid in draft rooms this year.

#1: Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts

How hard must it have been for Lions fans to watch Eric Ebron in 2018?

He finally became the player Detroit envisioned him as back in 2014, drafting him in the first round. In college, he had an average of 16.1 yards a catch, which made him seem like the next big vertical threat a la Gronkowski. Last year, after four disappointing seasons in the motor city, he turned into a pro bowler with Indy. He ranked fourth among tight ends in fantasy scoring, thanks in large part to his ludicrous 13 TDs. To put that in perspective, he only had 11 in his four seasons with the Lions.

Courtesy of giphy.com

After such an impressive season, it might seem like a mistake to not draft him. However, there are two main reasons to stay away from Ebron:

Reason 1: That kind of jump in production isn’t sustainable. Not just because of his past seasons, but also because of his injury history. He missed a total of eight games in Detroit, not to mention training camp time. In fact, he has a high risk of re-injury this year, according to sportsinjurypredictor.com.

https://sportsinjurypredictor.com/player/eric-ebron/6941

Reason 2: Andrew Luck‘s old buddy Jack Doyle is returning this season, which could mean a lot fewer opportunities for Ebron. He only started exceeding four targets when Doyle was inactive. Except for a Week 12 game in which he had seven to Doyle’s four.

#2: Hunter Henry, L.A Chargers

Courtesy of giphy.com

We, as the fantasy community, have been waiting for Henry’s return for over a year. He went down with a season-ending ACL injury ahead of the 2018 season. In his rookie year, he was a fantasy darling, pulling in eight TDs and becoming one of the best young tight ends in the league. Now, with his return imminent, Fantasy Pros has his ADP at an average of about the 63rd pick. However, you can still get a lot of great options at different positions in that tier:

  • WR Mike WilliamsAVG 62nd
  • TE Evan Engram -AVG 60th
  • RB Tarik Cohen-AVG 64th

Another thing to keep in mind is his return from injury. Not only is he coming off an ACL injury, but his fantasy value had already started to drop the year before. In his second season, he had four TDs, half the amount he had in his rookie campaign.

#3 O.J Howard, Tampa Bay Bucs

Courtesy of profootbalrumors.com

This one hurts me to say.

I’ve been a huge supporter of O.J Howard since he was coming out of Alabama. I was actually hoping that the Pats would pick him as the successor to Gronk, but alas it was not to be. The Bucs got a steal when they picked Howard at 19th overall in 2017. I actually got laughed at by league mates when I drafted him in the late rounds of that year’s draft. Fast forward to now and after two years and 11 TDs, people are starting to hop on the Howard bandwagon. I would advise looking elsewhere at the position for 2019 though, and the reason actually has nothing to do with Howard himself.

The reason is actually new Bucs head coach Bruce Arians. While his Cardinals team loved to throw, the tight end position wasn’t a big part of the passing game. If you look at the top receiving stats for tight ends in his system, it’s hard to not be apprehensive:

  • 2017- J. Gresham: 33 REC, 322 YDS, 2 TD
  • 2016- J. Gresham: 37 REC, 391 YDS, 2 TD
  • 2015- D. Fells: 21 REC, 311 YDS, 3 TD
  • 2014- J. Carlson: 33 REC, 350 YDS, 1 TD
  • 2013- R. Housler: 39 REC, 454 YDS, 1 TD

Those aren’t inspiring numbers from a fantasy perspective and certainly won’t win you a league. Granted, Howard is a huge upgrade from the likes of Carlson and Housler, but it’s still risky. You’d be much better served waiting until later in drafts, and grabbing depth at other positions. While others are starting a tight end run you could grab depth at WR or RB, or even grab an elite QB.

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All stats provided by profootballreference.com!

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