Sell High Tight Ends: Top 5

 

Dynasty football is like the stock market. While I won’t pretend to know much about the stock market, I do know a little bit about dynasty football.

In both dynasty football and the stock market, you have your “good stocks” (i.e. your fantasy studs) and you have your “bad stocks” (i.e. fillers on your team). Regardless of the type of stock or player you may have, the last thing you want to do is get burned by a bad investment. That’s why it’s important to always remember the well-known stock market philosophy that is now applied regularly to the world of fantasy football: buy low and sell high.

In this edition, we will be focusing on the latter part of that phrase: selling high.

No other position in the NFL (and by extension fantasy football) is as fluid as that of Tight End. One season a player may be a Pro Bowler heading to Hawaii (or I guess this year – Orlando), and the next year the same player is a complete non-factor. Two Cleveland Browns players quickly come to mind in Jordan Cameron and Gary Barnidge. Both had one productive season and then became completely irrelevant on the field and in fantasy football.

Don’t worry, this list of Tight Ends to sell does not include players from the Cleveland Browns. However, it does have a few players that are either still in the prime of their careers or had productive seasons in 2016. But don’t be fooled: These players will not only disappoint in the coming season, but some may even be out of football altogether by the time 2018 rolls around.

Jordan Reed: Eight. Five. Two. Four. That’s the number of games Jordan Reed has missed in the last four years. That’s a total of 19 games in 4 years. This number doesn’t include a handful of games in 2016 in which he played with a severely injured shoulder and thus was ineffective on the field for not only his football team, but (you guessed it) also your fantasy team.

Three. That’s the number of concussions Reed has had since entering the NFL. That doesn’t include two more concussions he sustained while playing at the University of Florida. NFL players are always “one hit away” from having their careers abruptly taken from them, but in Reed’s case that hit may be a lot sooner than it is for most.

Extremely talented and still in his prime at 26 years-old, nobody would blame you if you wanted to avoid the headache and move on from him altogether. Trading Reed could yield a large return in terms of draft picks and/or young players ready to take the next leap forward. My advice: Throw out a few feelers and see what interested parties may be willing to part with. If you’re not happy with any of their offers, hold your breath and pray that he stays healthy.

Delanie Walker: On paper, there may not be a more reliable Tight End in the league the last four seasons than Delanie Walker. Since moving to Nashville and becoming a Titan he’s never had fewer than 60 receptions (60, 63, 94, 65); he’s been targeted over 100 times each of the last three seasons (108, 133, 102); and he’s never missed more than a single game in a season.

So why move him?

Well, despite coming off one of the better seasons of his career at 32 years-old (he’ll be 33 in August) it’s important to keep in mind he’s also nearing the end of his playing career. He may be able to still put up similar numbers in 2017… but we’re more than likely going to see a decline. If the Titans were to go after an offensive target in free agency, like another wide receiver or even a Tight End as some have hinted at, that dip is almost a certainty.

Delanie Walker has been a good stock to own these last couple of years, but nothing lasts forever. Trade him now and get a large return on your investment.

Kyle Rudolph: The Kyle Rudolph hype last year was REAL… or was it? He had the highest number of receptions (83) and targets (132) of his career. He had the highest number of receiving yards (840) in his career.  And he had the second highest TD total (7) of his career. So, you may be asking why a player who had the best season of his career is on this list?

Let’s take a deeper look at the numbers before 2016. Before last season, the most receptions Rudolph had was 53 in 2012 (difference of 30) with an average of 36 receptions per season for his career. Looking at targets, there is a very similar trend. He was targeted 93 times (difference of 39) in 2012 with an average of 57 targets per season for 2011-2015.

In short, last year was a major outlier for Kyle Rudolph and the reasons are obvious. Adrian Peterson was injured and the Vikings were unable to run the ball with either Jerick McKinnon or Matt Asiata. As a result, Sam Bradford was forced to throw short dump passes to players like Rudolph. With the resurgence of a running game and more targets expected to head the way of sophomore wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, we’re bound to see a reduction in Rudolph’s production in 2017.

Still relatively young at 27, there might be a Tight End hungry owner in your league willing to trade for Rudolph because he seems him as part of their team’s future. Make no mistake. Rudolph is a complementary Tight End who had a great year in 2016… but the likelihood of that happening again is slim. In fact, if history shows us anything, it won’t happen again until 2020.

Jimmy Graham: I really hate putting this player on the list simply because he’s been one of my favorite players for the last half decade. But just as with stocks, you must know when it’s time to say goodbye and sell your shares. And I’m not alone.

Jimmy Graham will be turning 31 this upcoming season and while he’s coming off a great year we still cannot forget the past. His first season in Seattle was not only disappointing in terms of production, but ended abruptly with an injury to his patellar tendon. Now, I won’t pretend to be an expert on this kind of injury, which is why you can read all about it from the well-informed and knowledgeable Stephania Bell here. Graham did come back this past year and looked great on the field, but with such a major injury concern looming around a player, I am always hesitant to trust their long-term value.

On top of that, the team is expected to invest in its offensive line (as they should) whether it be free agency or the NFL Draft in April, which would indicate a philosophical shift towards once again dominating the ground game. With a stable of young running backs in Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise and Alex Collins it’s reasonable to think the running game would then take on a larger part of the team’s game plan. If that happens, you can bet it’ll cut into Graham’s targets and production.

This stock may not be rapidly declining, but a decline is a decline is a decline. Get out now and get something in return.

CJ Fiedorowicz: This Tight End just SCREAMS Gary Barnidge to me. What does that mean exactly? A one-year wonder. A player that has the fantasy football community hyped one year, but is bound to disappoint the following season.

You could even make the argument that this player doesn’t even classify as a “sell-high” but one thing is for certain: Fiedorowicz’s value will never be higher than it is right now. Three years into his NFL career, 2016 was easily his best season. With 54 receptions on 89 targets resulting in 4 touchdowns, you might even say this was his “breakout” year. Once again, if you’re a dynasty owner, don’t be fooled by these stats or what others in the fantasy football community are saying.

The Houston Texans were horrible offensively in 2016 with Brock Osweiler under center and the team will do everything in their power to get DeAndre Hopkins back on track after a disappointing season. The team also has invested heavily in other young receivers in Will Fuller, Braxton Miller and Jaelen Strong. What does this all mean? Fewer targets, fewer receptions and more importantly, fewer fantasy points from Colton John Fiedorowicz.

Fiedorowicz’s stock may have been trending upwards for most last season, but if you read the writing on the wall he looks more like a poor man’s Kyle Rudolph than the next Travis Kelce. He’ll end up blocking more for Lamar Miller next season than he will be catching footballs from Brocket Power (or who knows, maybe even Tony Romo).

My advice is to trade him outright for a future draft pick or package him with another sell-high candidate. Just don’t seem too eager to get rid of him and scare off other potential owners.

Conclusion:

If you have one of the above players I’d recommend trading them sooner rather than later. I’d especially be looking to move them if you:

  • Have depth on your roster with another young promising TE
  • Have a solid mixture of TEs on your roster
  • Plan to draft one of the extremely talented TE prospects coming out this April

Outside of a few players, the Tight End position is always changing. There are plenty of ways to fill your starting spot on Sunday, even streaming options from the waiver wire. Just make sure the Tight Ends I’ve profiled aren’t in your corner.

Agree with who I want to sell, disagree or think I missed someone please let me know at @Tim0Supremo .

tfrench

Marketing Professional living in San Francisco but whose allegiance will always live with the 13-time National Football League Champion Green Bay Packers. Enjoy talking, discussing, arguing and yelling about fantasy football regardless of the month.

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1 Comment

    • Mark

      February 23, 2017

      I’m buying Kyle Rudolph. His numbers weren’t outliers imo. He only played 8 games in 2013 and 9 games in 2014. His targets went way up last season in part because Bradford likes throwing to TEs. Sure Peterson being out had a little to do with it but Rudolph is an ascending player, one I wouldn’t trade yet.

      Reply

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