Dynasty Buy Low/Sell High: Tight Ends (Fantasy Football)
Right after the season, recency bias is at an all-time high, as people overreact to what they just saw. It’s only human nature, after all. But this is how championship-worthy dynasty rosters are built. This is when the strong prey on the weak. You might say it’s even cruel to take advantage of someone the way you will, but hey, we’re here to dominate the competition, and that’s what we’re going to do.
As dynasty drafts rapidly approach, the trade winds will start to blow (if they haven’t already). Your inbox will be littered with offers for your best players while someone tries to unload depth to make room for their incoming rookies. Instead of just blowing them off, let’s take a look to see if there are certain players on their rosters.
Below you’ll find tight ends to target at their lowest point, as well as others you should look to get rid of before their stock trends in the wrong direction. And just because someone is here as a buy, it doesn’t mean that you give up the world to get them, because we are trying to buy low, remember? If you missed any of the other positions earlier in the week, you can check out the links below.
Tight Ends to Buy
David Njoku (TE – CLE)
Once the Browns drafted Njoku, they cut Gary Barnidge almost immediately, letting you know that Njoku should be involved from the get-go. A few weeks down the road, they are saying that Njoku will be heavily involved in the offense right away. It’s also great news that Cody Kessler will start the season, as Barnidge averaged 3.3 more fantasy points per game when Kessler was the quarterback in 2016. Njoku was the No. 1 tight end on my board entering the draft, as his ceiling is as high as it gets. He’s being taken as the No. 11 tight end in startup drafts, which tells me that he’s still a hidden gem. Those right in front of him include Delanie Walker, Jimmy Graham, and Zach Ertz. I’d take him over all those guys, making him a prime buy-low.
Kyle Rudolph (TE – MIN)
In his first year with Sam Bradford, Rudolph finished as the No. 3 tight end in fantasy football. He saw a position-high 132 targets, which is a sign of the trust that Bradford has in him. Rudolph was viewed as a top-10 dynasty option as recently as two years ago, though he’s now down at No. 15 behind rookie tight end Evan Engram. I’m all about selling a player who is towards the end of his prime, but Rudolph has just entered his at the age of 27. His snaps were also at an all-time high under now-offensive coordinator Pat Shurmer, as he was on the field for over 92 percent of the team’s snaps. He also saw his targets increase from 7.7 per game while under Norv Turner, but then went up to 8.7 per game once Shurmer took over in Week 9. The struggle for Rudolph has always been staying healthy, and while that remains a concern, he’s worth more than his ADP suggests.
Jack Doyle (TE – IND)
One of the things I put heavy stock into when creating my projections, is the tendency of a quarterback targeting certain positions over his career. One of the quarterbacks who targets tight ends more than normal is none other than Doyle’s quarterback, Andrew Luck. He targets his tight ends 135 times per year on average, including 149 times in 2016. The Colts almost lost Doyle to free agency, but then traded away Dwayne Allen to the Patriots in order to clear up some room in their salary cap. In the end, Doyle re-signed with the Colts for three years. Remembering that this is not a Jack Doyle article, just know that if a tight end sees 85 or more targets, they have a better than 80 percent chance to finish as a top-12 tight end. Unless you believe Erik Swoope is going to come in and command 60 targets, Doyle will be a top-12 tight end with Luck as his quarterback.
Tight Ends to Sell
C.J. Fiedorowicz (TE – HOU)
At the start of the year, Fiedorowicz was just another guy cramming up the space on your dynasty roster. In fact, you likely let him go before he had his “breakout” season. Just know that he did it on strictly volume, as he was just one of four tight ends to see more than 80 targets and finish outside the top-15 at the position. He developed the role of safety blanket for Brock Osweiler, who is now gone. Fiedorowicz saw six or more targets 10 times, yet he finished with more than 48 yards just three times. With the addition of D’Onta Foreman, it’s likely that the Texans are going to lean on their run game this year, rather than lean on Tom Savage or rookie Deshaun Watson. They also re-signed Ryan Griffin, who was a free agent. Griffin himself garnered 74 targets in the passing game, so his re-signing doesn’t do Fiedorowicz any favors. It’s hard to imagine him being anything more than a streaming option with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller in the mix.
Jordan Reed (TE – WAS)
Those who have followed me for a long time know my reasoning for not wanting Reed on my dynasty roster. He’s likely one concussion away from his career being over, or at the very least, missing the rest of the season. On top of that, his injuries continue to pile up. He has now missed 17 games in his short four-year career, including at least two in every single year. What always kept his value afloat was that the Redskins didn’t have a touchdown scorer outside of him, allowing him to score 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons on 203 targets. What difference an off-season can make, as the Redskins now have two massive receivers in Josh Doctson (6’4”, 190 pounds) and Terrelle Pryor (6’4”, 230 pounds) entering the starting lineup, essentially taking away some of Reed’s opportunity. Not that he’s worthless, because he’s not, but he’s also not worth the No. 3 tight end spot that he currently occupies. I’d get rid of all these question marks for the right price.
Greg Olsen (TE – CAR)
This sell-high is a direct reflection of his age and everything that’s been taking place around him. He just turned 32-years-old and the Panthers drafted Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel, essentially two slot receivers who’ll take away work from tight ends over the middle of the field. Olsen is going to produce as a top-12 tight end for another couple seasons, but the days of comparing him to guys like Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce are over. You saw a slight decline in his production after their bye in Week 7, as he was the No. 1 tight end through the first six weeks, and it wasn’t even close (he had 610 yards, while the next-closest had 362 yards). From that point on, Olsen was the No. 14 tight end as he totaled just 463 yards and one touchdown over the final 10 games. He’s going in front of O.J. Howard right now, his much younger clone.