Tight end sleepers are key cogs in a common draft strategy now. Plenty of Fantasy Owners (including myself) wait until the late rounds to secure their starting tight end.
When subscribing to this strategy, you miss out on the guaranteed production that Rob Gronkowski and Greg Olsen provide.
Finding a late round “sleeper” who is really just undervalued is essential to rounding out your roster.
They give you the high-level production from a low-cost resource similar to how Steph Curry’s cheap contract has helped build a super-team.
As I have pointed out, spotting these sleepers is best done by finding the profiles of previous sleepers. With the tight end position, the most common sleepers are the Under-Rated Veterans and the Tight End Breakouts.
2016 Fantasy Football Tight End Sleepers
Jimmy Graham is a classic market over-correction as well as an under-rated veteran. After failing to live up to his lofty high-water mark in ADP (26th overall) last season, the former Saint has fallen to 107th overall in early drafts.
Graham had only missed two games in the first five years of his career until last year. I would not consider him an injury risk. So if you extrapolate his numbers last year over a full 16-game season, he would have finished with 70 catches, 880 yards and 3 touchdowns. That would have been good for 9th overall at the position.
Only five tight ends had more catches and yards than that extrapolation. The disconcerting statistic is the lack of touchdowns. Lest we forget though, in the four previous seasons before last year Graham averaged a little less than 12 scores a season.
I know the offense is completely different in Seattle than what Graham was scoring in New Orleans. I also know that Jimmy Graham’s 6’7’’ frame and outstanding leaping ability is far more of an inviting Red Zone target than the Tyrion Lannister-like 5’10’’ Doug Baldwin. The same Doug Baldwin who had 17 Red Zone targets, the majority once Graham was out with injuries.
Another factor in Graham’s favor is the messy running back situation in Seattle. No one knows if Thomas Rawls can produce for a full season let alone if he will be healthy enough. No Marshawn Lynch means more passing in the Red Zone… oh wait, they already do that.
In 12-team leagues you can snag Graham as the 12th tight end off the board in nearly the ninth round. For the possibility that he returns to his New Orleans-form, that is some serious sleeper-value.
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