Will Tye attended Xavier High School and Salisbury School, in Connecticut, while enjoying the accolades as a stand-out TE. He was the #19 ranked TE in the nation by Scouts.com and was labeled a 3-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com respectively. Tye was originally recruited by Florida State, in 2010, but elected to transfer to Stony Brook after the 2012 season. Will Tye comes in at sturdy 6’2”, 265 lbs. and is a versatile receiving tight end.
Note: Tye will be 25 years old in November.
The Man from Stony Brook
During his 2-year stint at Stony Brook University, Tye racked up a total of 79 catches for 1,015 yards and 9 TDs over 23 games (18 starts). While his stats were not “off the charts,” Tye received comparisons to Antonio Gates and was aptly nicknamed, “Baby Gates,” due his style of play and admiration for Gates. Even with the lofty comparisons and promising talent, Tye did not receive an invite to the NFL rookie combine.
Out of 90+ TEs that declared themselves eligible, for the draft, Tye was ranked in the mid-30s. Unfortunately, only 19 TEs were selected in the 2015 draft with 9 of those selections occurring in the 6th round or later. Tye was eventually brought in and evaluated when the Giants held a post-draft rookie minicamp. He was eventually signed by the Giants and was able to avoid all but the last roster cut, having been beat out by veterans Daniel Fells, Larry Donnell, and Jerome Cunningham. Though he didn’t make the 53-man roster, Tye was signed to the practice squad shortly after his release. As luck would have it, injuries plagued the Giant TE depth chart, as Fells was placed on season ending IR, on 10/5, due to a staph infection, while Cunningham was eventually released and placed on the practice squad in October.
Therefore, with Fells ailing from the MRSA and Cunningham unable to make an impact, Tye was called up on 12/8 and became the first active NFL player to have attended Stony Brook. It may not have been the easiest route, into the NFL, for Tye, but with a nickname like “Baby Gates”, he should have expected a hill to climb.
While working as the TE2 behind Donnell, Tye posted 8 receptions for 67 yards over 5 games. Donnell injured his neck in the week 8 matchup against the Saints and missed the next 4 games, before finally being placed on IR on 12/8, opening the door for Tye to claim the starting job.
A Seawolf, becomes a Giant
Will Tye was by no means taking New York by storm, the way that Odell Beckham Jr. did in 2014. Nevertheless, there is a certain expectation when playing in a market as big as NY with a 2-time Super Bowl MVP throwing you the ball. In an offense that had been overhauled by future Giant head coach, Ben McAdoo, any offensive player had the opportunity to thrive. In Donnell’s stretch as a starter, in 2014, he gained popularity from his 6 catch, 81-yard game coupled with a 7/54/3 performance just 2 weeks later. Despite the big jump, Donnell only finished with 60+ yards in 2 of his 24 games between 2014 and 2015.
Conversely, Will Tye has managed to record 60+ yards three times in his 1-year career, with all 3 games coming in the second half of the season, as a starter. Tye recorded back to back 70+ yard weeks against the Redskins and Jets, including a career long 45-yard reception against the latter. While Tye lacked the red-zone looks, during the beginning of the season, he eventually gained the trust of Eli which resulted in 3 TDs over the last four weeks of the season.
Season Stats – 42/464/3 (62 targets)
2nd Half Stats – 34/387/3 (50 targets)
Last 4 Games – 18/168/3 (25 targets)
Sporting a New Tye
TE Darren Fells is set to be an unrestricted free agent, while Larry Donnell will be a restricted free agent. The focus now moves to Donnell. As a restricted free agent, Donnell can attempt to negotiate a deal with a new team, while the Giants would have the option match or decline any offer made to Donnell. It’s important to note; should Donnell get a new deal, outside of the Meadowlands, it seems unlikely that the Giants would match an offer that could negatively impact their cap total for a second string TE. If Donnell stays with the team, you can most likely expect competition for the starting spot, during training camp, with Tye eventually winning the job. In my opinion, if Donnell finds a new team, the Giants would look to possibly bring in another TE through free agency or the draft, but not one that I believe would seriously threaten Tye’s foothold on the starting job.
Tye-ing up Value
The tight end spot lacks overall depth, in regards to fantasy football, as teams use the position in a multitude of ways and it is a position which is severely impacted by the offensive philosophy. The Giants offense has been working under Ben McAdoo, for the past 2 years and will now see him steer the ship in place of Coughlin. Over the past two seasons, with McAdoo as his OC, Eli has targeted the TE spot a total of 248 times on 1,219 attempts, which equates to 1 target for every 5 attempts. This bodes well for Tye as Eli has never missed a game in his 12 NFL seasons. Since the emergence of OBJ, the Giants offense has become rather deadly, as OBJ has quickly become one of the best receivers in all of football. In my view, the entire team benefits from McAdoo being promoted, as there is something to be said for consistency in offensive chemistry.
As an accountable and vigilant dynasty owners, hopefully you grabbed Tye, as a free agent midseason, after the injuries to Fells and Donnell. Although, if you did not, you may still be able to trade for Tye at a relatively low cost. As a rookie TE with limited starting experience, expect the Giants to bring in another body. As a Tye owner, the hope would be that players the likes of, Zach Ertz (recently extended with Eagles), Kyle Rudolph, or Ladarius Green (impending UFA) wouldn’t be courted since they would certainly have a negative impact on his production. Regardless, bringing in a mid-tier talent would be a smart move, especially considering Donnell unstable situation.
Ultimately, one thing that benefits Tye the most is having a good grasp of the offense and having a stable rapport with the coaches, despite a shakeup in the chain of command. I am looking for Will Tye to make a big splash in the 2016 season and would recommend adding him wherever possible.
Thanks for reading. You can find me on Twitter @DynastyZach.