There were two tight ends who were either drafted very late or added on the waiver wire last season who put up numbers more in line with a WR1 in fantasy. You know there names Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, or the Dynamic Duo as I like to call them. To get either one of these players you are likely going to have to use a 2nd pick to acquire their services. For more analysis on these two please refer to my previous post “The Dynamic Duo…Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.” What I have been questioning for a while now is weather it is a good strategy to draft one of these players this early. So to answer the question I recently completed a mock draft on ESPN to see the results. (all points based on ESPN standard scoring)
(1.8) Drew Brees: Drew Brees is money in the bank when it comes to posting big time fantasy points. Since 2008 he has never failed to throw for over 4,300 yards or 34 touchdowns. Last season he posted video game stats throwing for 5,476 yards and 46 touchdowns. I’m not concerned with the contract situation cause one will get made, and I’m also not concerned with the loss of Sean Peyton because Brees knows the offense and will not miss a beat.
(2.13) Jimmy Graham: Double points anyone? I have always been a fan of pairing an Elite QB and WR together and by all accounts Jimmy Graham is the top reciever in New Orleans. Last season he posted 99 receptions, 1,310 yards and 11 touchdowns beating out New Orleans’ WR1 Marques Colston in every single category. Graham’s 187 points earned him a 12th place finish among non QB’s. Graham would have placed 6th among WR’s.
(3.28) Trent Richardson: As you know I am a HUGE fan of Trent Richardson this coming fantasy season. Peyton Hillis posted 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns in the same division two seasons ago. Richardson is considered the best RB prospect since Adrian Peterson and has more than enough talent to post huge numbers.
(4.33) Julio Jones: There has been a lot of talk this off-season about Atlanta getting Jones more involved this coming season. Jones had some hamstring issues his rookie year and if he can move past them is a stud in the making. He posted 11 or more points in 7 games last season and if healthy will be more reliable and post elite numbers.
(5.48) BenJarvus Green-Ellis: BJE is not the home run hitting, rush for 200 yards and put up 20 plus points type of back. That being said this season he should be a middle of the road decently reliable RB2. Even if he has to split carries with Bernard Scott he should still have enough touches (especially in the red zone) to pick him at this point.
(6.53) Demaryius Thomas: Yet another player I feel is poised to have a breakout year. Down the stretch last season Thomas had great numbers with a terrible passer with 4 of the last 5 regular season games posting over 75 yards. With Manning in town he has enormous upside and will easily score enough points that do not reflect his current ADP.
(7.68) Shonn Greene: Shonn Greene had the best season of his career in 2011 as he posted 1,265 yards from scrimmage and 6 touchdowns. He had a career high in rushing attempts with 253 and according to new offensive cordinator Tony Sparano Greene will have much more attempts this season. The only downside is that with the presence of Tim Tebow on the roster I’m just not sure whats going to happen especially in the red zone. Still Greene at worst should be a decent flex play and bye week filler.
(8.73) Kenny Britt: If you have read any of my previous mock drafts you know I am very high on Britt this season. At this point in the draft he has tremedous value as last season he showed a glimpse of what he can do with 271 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first two games. Comming off of an ACL is always tough but Britt was injured early and if he can revert to his previous form will post huge numbers.
(9.88) James Starks: Not going to score you big time points but should be a decent flex play most of the season. If you combine his numbers with Ryan Grant’s then you get 1,621 yards from scrimmage and 4 touchdowns. Now with Grant out of the picture Starks will get much more oppurtunity that make him great value this late in the draft. I see him having around 1,000 total yards and 5 touchdowns.
(10.93) Jay Cutler: In 2008 he threw 4,526 yards and 25 touchdowns with the Denver Broncos. Now that he finally has talent surrounding him again like he did in Denver I see Cutler playing more like he did before moving to Chicago. He is a QB2 with great upside.
(11.108) Darrius Heyward-Bey: I figure DHB has the best chance of any of the Raiders wide-outs to emerge as Carson Palmer’s top target. Last season he finished with 975 yards and 4 touchdowns and as he builds more chemistry with Palmer those numbers will improve. This could be the season he finally breaks out.
(12.113) Bernard Scott: I drafted Scott to handcuff BJE in case the Bengals decide to use him more than I anticipate.
(13.128) Nate Washington: It was a little weird drafting Washington with this pick because I already have Britt but he was the WR I felt had the best oppurtunity to produce. And if Britt goes down I will still have Tennessee’s top WR.
(14.133) Jacob Tamme: Many would not have drafted a second TE because Jimmy Graham will obviously be your starter each week, but I have always been a more cautious drafter than most. I figure Tamme has top 10 potential this season and will be a great bye week replacement and will provide good insurance at TE in case of injury to Graham.
(15.148) Falcons DST: I just went with the highest rated defense available. I usually play the waiver wire.
(16.153) Garrett Hartley: Can anybody really predict what a kicker is going to do each season? I cant so again went with the highest rated.
This strategy to draft Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski in the 2nd round to me simply is not worth it. I ended up with what I feel are good starters at each position with decent depth but I feel that to forgo a top RB or WR in the first round for either TE is not worth it. I feel that waiting and picking up someone like Aaron Hernandez, Jason Witten, or any other second tier TE is much better overall. For either Gronk or Graham to finish with a season like last is going to be very difficult. That being said I know I will not end up with either player on my squad this season.