By Adam Harris-
(CBS) Every fantasy team needs a tight end, but no fantasy team should rely on a tight end.
The tight end position is often over rated and over analyzed in the world of fantasy football and, especially this year, the tight end has very little effect on a teams’ record. The average defense in the NFL this year has given up seven fantasy points per week to a tight end in standard scoring leagues. The difference between the worst defense against tight ends and the best on average is six points per week.
To give this some perspective, the difference between the worst and best fantasy defenses against running backs on average this year is 16 points per week. There is much more potential for a running back to carry a fantasy team than a tight end.
Before his injury this past Sunday, the standout tight end is Rob Gronkowski, and he has scored the 23rd most fantasy points of all players in half ppr leagues at 159 this season. Tony Gonzalez is second among tight ends, but is 48th among all scorers in fantasy.
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is 51st in fantasy scoring but was drafted in many first rounds this year and can also generate a ton of trade interest.
After those three tight ends, tier two features Owen Daniels, Jason Witten and Vernon Davis. None of these players are fantasy game-changers, averaging eight to 10 points each week, with an occasional break out game.
Despite all this over-valued, over-utilized crap at tight end, many fantasy owners still target this position in trades, use waiver spots on picking up tight ends, and use precious early-round draft picks to make sure they get the tight end they want.
It is not worth it. Simply put, the tight end position does not score enough to create interest, buzz, or value in the fantasy world.
I am often asked my opinion on which tight end to pick up, start, or trade. My answer is always either, “it’s a toss up,” “play the better offensive match up,” or “yes, trade him.” The tight end position has become a burden this year, rather than a player you count on to help your team. Often, owners say “I hope (average tight end) can just get me his projected five points this week,” when putting him into his/her lineup.
Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez and Owen Daniels owners should sell immediately. One week ago, when putting my thoughts together for this very article, that theory would have heavily included Rob Gronkowski owners, but the injury puts a damper on that.
If a team comes to you with trade interest, wishing to improve their tight end spot, jump on that opportunity. Continue to play up your tight end’s “value” and get a solid wide out or running back that can contribute on your team, adding depth and potential.
Tight ends bring consistency with very little chance of breaking out, but what a fantasy team should concentrate on getting is consistency with a high chance of a breakout game. Those can be found in all other positions.
One more thing. DO NOT EVER start a tight end at your flex position. That either means your team is horrible, or you have given up.
You can ask Adam Fantasy Football questions via Twitter @AHarris670 and hear him on the Fantasy Friday Nerd Herd Hour every Friday night at Midnight with Joe Ostrowski @JoeO670.