With the Ultimate Behemoth known as the WR list out, it was home free to crank out the last installment of the Dynasty Den Draft Series – Tight Ends. If like most dynasty leagues, yours requires a tight end, then don’t throw away this position on draft day. Of all the positions, this is one where you can get a solid player in the fourth round. Randy McMichael was a throw away pick in one of my dynasty leagues, fourth and final round, I think he turned out ok. Point being, most owners in your league are probably not going to research much past the top two or three tight ends. Once they are gone, they will be looking elsewhere, maybe they’ll even be wasting their picks on the defensive side of the ball. Don’t waste your picks.
A few owners in one of the leagues I Commish often ask why we both going with four rounds. These are the owners that almost always end up with high draft picks since their teams don’t do well. They throw away their picks. Now that’s not to say that every selection you make in the fourth or even third round will pan out, but why not prepare yourself so that you can get a guy that will stick around? And this is a position that you can’t simply go by the order they were taken in the NFL draft. You will be shocked as to how different my list is from how they went on NFL Draft day.
Anyway, enough about that. There are more than a few TEs out there this year that are worthy of being selected in your rookie draft. You don’t need me to tell you about the only guy that is in the Great White category since you probably already know about him. Use the rest of this list to your advantage on draft day, you might be happily surprised. As always, thanks for reading. Many have emailed me and I appreciate all the feedback even though I run short on time and can’t respond to everyone. Keep them coming, I enjoy the ‘you are a fool’ messages as much as the ‘good call on <player> messages’. Don’t miss out on your chance to sound off: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s a recap of the ranking categories:
Great White – Guys that have value in both the short (redraft) and long (dynasty) term
Hammerhead – Guys that may have short term value, but do have long term value
Blue – Guys that have an outside chance at helping in the short term, could have long term value
Leopard – Virtually no short term value, slight chance of having some long term value
Sand – No short term value, little to no long term value
Great White Shark
Kellen Winslow, Cleveland (1, 6, Miami)
Most of you have heard about this guy so you don’t need me telling you about his accolades and his potential to be a great TE in this league for a long time. Everything is in place for Winslow to become one of the great tight ends, Cleveland is a great spot for him. I have seen him even go as the #1 overall pick in some rookie drafts and I have to be honest with you, it’s hard to argue with the logic. If you are in a TE required league and you have starters at every position except TE, then I applaud such a decision to think outside the box. Then again, if you have the top pick in the rookie draft, you probably are not stocked at other positions, but I think you get the idea. Regardless, Winslow should be a top 5 pick in your rookie draft, anything lower and you are getting a steal. Especially if you are also in need of a QB and you’re just outside the top RBs, it would make perfect sense for you to take Winslow in the first round, then take a QB in the next round.
Ben Troupe, Tennessee (2, 40, Florida)
Troupe will probably not be much of a secret, after all guys taken in the first few rounds are usually pretty well known. However, overall this was a strange NFL draft for the tight end position so you definately can’t just pick players based on the order they were picked in the real. Troupe is a guy that is also in a great situation. While I don’t see a tremendous amount of production from him in 2004, there isn’t much standing in his was for 2005 and beyond. Besides that, Tennessee has always been a fantasy friendly environment for the TE.
Matt Kranchick, Pittsburgh (6, 194, Penn State)
Right here could be this year’s Randy McMichael. Pittsburgh has had a hard time of late getting fantasy production out of the TE position, Kranchick may be the guy to change their ways. Yes, he wasn’t picked until the 6th round, but don’t be afraid to make this guy the third TE taken in your draft. Though I have seen him taken as high as the second round by the astute owner that doesn’t want to miss out on getting him, here is a classic candidate for the late third or even fourth round if you think he will be available.
Benjamin Watson, New England (1, 32, Georgia)
With so few players at the position taken, I almost completely scrapped the Blue Shark category. In the end, Watson makes it here, and it’s really with great reluctance that I even put him here. Just a baffling pick for the Patriots. Last year’s first round pick Daniel Graham is still with the team and healthy, Christian Fauria is still with the team and healthy. I don’t get it. Many assume that the Graham pick of a year ago was a mistake, though I don’t believe that to be true. Belichick perhaps thought Watson was the best available at the time and made the pick since he’s of the mind set that you can’t have enough good TEs. Of course, that’s a death sentence in the fantasy world as TEBC (Tight End By Committee) is worse than its more well known RBBC. To complicate things more, ever since Ben Coates departed, the Patriots have rarely used the tight end. In any case, Watson is not a guy that I personally would be looking to draft. One league I even own Graham as my backup and I didn’t take Watson. In fact, no one in the league took him. Watson is perhaps fourth round material for you if nothing else is left, but beyond that I’d look elsewhere.
Kris Wilson, Kansas City (2, 61, Pittsburgh)
After I wrote the Watson piece and was considering where to put Wilson, I figured he’s another guy that could fit into the Blue Shark mold. I don’t think he’s going to end up doing anything in 2004, but with Tony Gonzalez in front of him, you have to consider the fact that Wilson could at some point see some action. I know, I can’t believe I wrote that either, but Gonzo hasn’t been the stud that he used to be. Sure, he showed flashes of brilliance in a couple of games last year, but can he last forever? Certainly if you are a Tony G owner, you should consider picking up Wilson to cover yourself.
Tim Euhus, Buffalo (4, 109, Oregon)
Euhus will have his work cut out for him for 2004, but of the guys I’m tabbing as Leopards I think he has the brightest future. While Buffalo does have a ton of guys for the position, none of them are that great. Besides, they are probably looking at one more year with Bledsoe then youth will (hopefully) be served with JP Losman, Willis McGahee, etc. Euhus could be a part of that future movement, but don’t get any illusions of granduer if you do take him in the very late rounds of your draft.
Chris Cooley, Washington (3, 81, Utah State)
Washington is a tough team for me to get a read on for 2004. It seems like everything there is new. Coach, running back, and so on down the line. For that reason it’s tough for me to project what kind of numbers, if any, the Skins will get in a fantasy sense from their TE. Like the Bills, they have a lot of guys, but none great. Traditionally, rookie TEs don’t do well in the league, and Cooley will probably be no different. Last round pick for this guy at all and stash him for 2005 or 2006.
Ben Hartsock, Indianapolis (3, 68, Ohio State)
Hartsock would have more potential on another team, but behind Marcus Pollard and probably also Dallas Clark, his prospects for seeing the field are very slim for 2004. Ben might be worth grabbing in the very late rounds as a sleeper candidate for 2005 or 2006. However, should Pollard and/or Clark faulter, could end up seeing some action thrown his way.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, let’s be honest, these guys are not very likely to dress on game day, nevermind make a fantasy impact. I will I could window dress these guys, but I can’t. A couple of Ivy Leaguers in this mix busting their hiney to see if they can make a name for themselves, I wish them well. For your fantasy team, there is no reason to even consider these players on draft day…or any day.
Sean Ryan, Dallas (5, 144, Boston College)
Nate Lawrie, Tampa Bay (6, 181, Yale)
Jeff Dugan, Minnesota (7, 220, Maryland)
Casey Cramer, Tampa Bay (7,228, Dartmouth)
Michael Gaines, Carolina (7, 232, Central Florida)
Eric Jensen, St.Louis (7, 237, Iowa)
Courtney Anderson, Oakland (7, 245, San Jose State)