Hello everybody and welcome to the final installment of NFFC ADP Analysis. This week we’ll be looking at the final relevant position in tight ends (you shouldn’t be taking a kicker or defense earlier than the end of the draft so no ADP is needed for those spots). If you missed any of the first three positions, they’re available here: QB, RB, WR. I will list the tight ends similar to how I did with the QBs because most leagues will likely only see 20 or so tight ends drafted and they make more sense to look at in pockets rather than by round. Additionally, because I don’t have too much to say about tight ends and I’m apparently incapable of posting up a small article, I will include a bonus section with the first 10 rounds of my “ideal” draft based on the ADPs in these articles.
- Rob Gronkowski 24
- Travis Kelce 29
- Zach Ertz 39
- Evan Engram 60
- Jimmy Graham 62
- Greg Olsen 68
We’re going to look at the top 6 here because there’s a bit of a drop-off in ADP that occurs after these 6 so it made sense to look at them together. Obviously there are the two top guys in Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce that show up in late round 2/early round 3 then Zach Ertz in round 4. Then we have a pause and basically a run in round 6 of the final three tight ends in the top 6. I don’t want anything to do with one of the top 3 tight ends here. I think giving up second or third round draft capital is a really tough sell for this position unless you literally hate everything else that’s sitting there at that point. Rather, I’d much prefer to grab one of the guys floating around in round 6 as by then you can build a solid core at RB and WR while still getting a talented tight end. Some people are loving Jimmy Graham this year but I don’t really see it where he’s being taken. I’d rather go with the old reliable in Greg Olsen as he’s coming with a discount off of last year’s injury.
The Rest of the Top 10
- Delanie Walker 80
- Kyle Rudolph 89
- Trey Burton 101
- Jordan Reed 103
These four guys round out the top 10 and to be honest if I didn’t grab one of the 6th round tight ends, I’ll be damn sure to take one of Delanie Walker or Kyle Rudolph in the 7th or 8th rounds. I really don’t like where this position goes after those guys. There are, of course, the perennial hype guys like Trey Burton (and a handful of others we’ll see in the next section) but I’ve been bitten more often than not by expecting big jumps up from guys like Burton in the past. I’m not buying in here. Jordan Reed might be an okay gamble but he forces you to take a second tight end later and hope for the health that he’s never shown. It could pay off but I don’t want to have to carry two tight ends and sweat every Sunday morning.
- George Kittle 117
- Jack Doyle 121
- OJ Howard 135
- David Njoku 140
- Tyler Eifert 145
- Cameron Brate 148
- Vance McDonald 150
- Eric Ebron 152
- Jared Cook 169
- Ben Watson 170
I’ve been down this road before and I have no interest in doing so again. All of these guys are going in the double digit rounds and that makes sense, they should be. There may be a guy or two in this range who greatly outperforms but if you take a starter from this group then you basically have to commit to carrying two tight ends and you should be prepared for headaches all year. I’d rather work the wire every week for running backs and wide receivers while feeling confident with my starting tight end if possible. If you have to go with a guy from this area I would suggest either Tyler Eifert (just expect him to miss some games) or Ben Watson (he was quite good the last time he was in New Orleans. I would avoid the Colts tight ends and Jared Cook because of coaching changes on the Colts and because Jared Cook always blows.
The Final 10
- Charles Clay 171
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins 177
- Austin Hooper 182
- Ricky Seals-Jones 191
- Mike Gesicki 192
- Hayden Hurst 206
- Vernon Davis 237
- Jake Butt 244
- Tyler Kroft 250
- Luke Willson 260
Obviously, I couldn’t resist and I like Jake Butt and I cannot lie. Outside of Butt and Ricky Seals-Jones I’m not really looking at any of these bottom dwellers. They should all be easy enough to find on the waiver wire throughout the season.
Bonus Section – Ideal Draft
Okay, as promised, I’m going to give an example of a draft that would make me happy based on the ADPs we’ve been examining over the past month. I’m only going to do the first 10 rounds as everything after that should be reserved for backups and your kicker and defense anyways. I’m going to assume standard league with a starting lineup of QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, Flex, TE, D and K. I’ll arbitrarily give us pick 7 as that’s right on the backside of the middle.
Round 1 (7): Leonard Fournette RB Jacksonville (I’m okay with any of Fournette or Kareem Hunt or Saquon Barkley here but I think Fournette offers the most guaranteed production given health.)
Round 2 (18): Devonta Freeman RB Atlanta (I don’t love Freeman but again, we’re looking at guaranteed production here. I wouldn’t scoff at either Davante Adams or AJ Green here either but I’d rather get the RB before getting stuck with crap at the position.)
Round 3 (31): TY Hilton WR Indianapolis (It’s starting to look like Andrew Luck may at least play this season which means Hilton at least has a chance to return high end value. He’s a bit boom or bust most weeks but at least I feel like at this spot, we’re close to his floor rather than his ceiling by drafting him.)
Round 4 (42): DeMaryius Thomas WR Denver (I always love DeMaryius. It’s possible that they feature Emmanuel Sanders more in the slot based on Case Keenum’s skill set but I think they’ll recognize that Thomas is the better player and start getting him short passes in space again like he excelled at a few years ago.)
Round 5 (55): Royce Freeman RB Denver (Two Broncos in a row? Didn’t they suck last year? They did, but they still have a solid core and they got a serviceable QB which they have been missing for a few years. I think Freeman has the talent to be a surprise running back if they just give him the ball. We’ll look to grab Devontae Booker later as insurance, just in case, but I think Booker has failed enough opportunities so far that Freeman is in good position to dominate carries and Booker isn’t going until round 11 or so which makes it easy to lock down this whole backfield.)
Round 6 (66): Cam Newton QB Carolina (I would have preferred to take Greg Olsen here but that would necessitate Kirk Cousins next round and I’d rather have the upside of Newton than Cousins. There are draft positions where you can take Olsen towards the end of round 6 and still probably land Newton at the start of round 7 and that is ideally where I’d like to be but I arbitrarily picked spot 7 so…)
Round 7 (79): Delanie Walker TE Tennessee (Delanie is fine and consistent so I don’t mind taking him here and avoiding the headaches of the lesser players. Again, I preferred the Newton/Walker package over Olsen/Cousins but I understand if that appeals more to others.)
Round 8 (90): Randall Cobb WR Green Bay (So I guess I’m taking Randall Cobb here but obviously I’d be all in on Devante Parker instead at this spot if he’s still there. His ADP is 88 so it isn’t unreasonable to hope he’d slide two spots, otherwise, Cobb has the ability to get a lot of targets with Jordy Nelson leaving.)
Round 9 (103): CJ Anderson RB Carolina (CJ Anderson is not a sexy pick but as our RB4 he should be good enough to back up Royce Freeman if the carries don’t shake out perfectly there. Christian McCaffrey is just not built to shoulder a load at RB which means CJ is going to get a lot of early down work and he’ll probably be in at the goal line quite a bit also.)
Round 10 (114): Robby Anderson WR New York Jets (It looks like the legal trouble may blow over for Anderson and he quietly put up solid numbers last year in a non-existent Jets offense. Somebody has to get the ball again this year so why not him? Again, we have a spot here where Dez Bryant is going at ADP 113 so I’d take the chance on him if he fell one spot, but I have to be true to the ADP with my picks.)
While there is some upside in some of my early picks, they are mostly safe and proven producers which I like. I would just make sure I go with high risk upside guys the rest of the way for my bench and be quick to drop one of those upside plays for a waiver wire hero. Otherwise, I feel really good about the direction of this team.
Okay, that’s it for the tight ends and the “ideal” draft. Many things will obviously change over the next few weeks as we get into the heart of the pre-season but as of now, this is where I stand on these players. I hope you enjoyed the ADP Analysis pieces and I’ll be back soon with some new content. As usual, don’t be afraid to holler at me in the message board below!