Thursday - Apr 25, 2019

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The Fire Sale: TE Studs, Sleepers and Busts

I conclude my preseason articles and Studs/Sleepers/Busts series with tight ends. I also reviewed quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers if you want to go back and check them out.

Here’s a brief clarification of each section in case you don’t know what a stud is:

Studs – Some of my top picks at each position. I won’t include the most obvious players like Aaron Rodgers and Adrian Peterson. Talking about them is a waste of time. My studs will usually be a tier or two below those elite players unless there’s someone I really want to discuss.

Sleepers – If you follow The Fire Sale over the years you know I have strict rules on what players qualify as “sleepers.” Travis Kelce isn’t a sleeper. He’s a stud. Kelce is being drafted in Round 5 and coming off a year where he caught 67 passes for 862 yards and 5 touchdowns. Jordan Matthews isn’t a sleeper. He’s a stud. If someone wants to give those guys out as sleepers, they’re a year too late.

Busts – Busts are players I think will disappoint or won’t live up to their draft position. Remember though, bust doesn’t mean I think the player is bad. Sometimes it may but it usually means I think the player won’t live up to where he’s being drafted.

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Before we get started, I want to give out one last player for those who haven’t drafted yet. I held my main drafts last weekend, including a draft for a big money league I’m in this year.

I kept one player for myself. I didn’t really because I already gave him out last year but since no one was talking about him this season, I kept quiet about the guy so I could snatch him up.

That player is Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns. Last summer I gave out Hurns as a sleeper. I compared Hurns’ style of play to Antonio Brown. Hurns is a little bigger but they’re both strong for their size in the open field. Remember, Brown was a sixth-round draft pick. He surprised a lot of people, too.

All I know is Hurns can ball. The kid caught 51 passes for 677 yards and six scores last year with a rookie quarterback running for his life. Yes, I know four of Hurns’ touchdowns came in two games. I get it. I also know he was a rookie receiver playing with a rookie quarterback on a terrible team. I took for talent and Hurns has it. He has a lot of it.

I have Hurns ranked as a top 50 receiver this year ahead of guys like Breshad Perriman, Percy Harvin, Terrance Williams and Pierre Garcon. I own Hurns in all of my leagues and if Bortles improves (I think he will), I believe he’ll be one of the big steals of the 2015 fantasy season.

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do; I’m going to put my money where my mouth is with Hurns.

Last week, I announced I’m going to give away $200 to the person who ranks as my most engaged Twitter follower at the end of the season. If Hurns is a top 50 receiver in PPR formats this year, I’ll double it. My most engaged Twitter follower wins $400 instead of $200.

So follow me on Twitter, engage with me and root for Allen Hurns. Seems like an easy way to grab $200, and possibly $400. Hey, if this is the final year of The Fire Sale, let’s go out with a bang.

You can follow me on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy. I reply to all inquiries and answer all questions about your fantasy team. I only have one rule: When asking me a roster question I need to know your team first. I can’t give you proper trade or start/sit advice without knowing your roster.

You can ask me a fantasy question any time but I want to let everyone know that on Sundays during the season I’ll be available starting at 10:00 am ET to answer questions. Feel free to ask me lineup or DFS questions. I’m doing work for DraftKings this season as well.

The Fire Sale will be back every Tuesday once the season starts. Enjoy the opening week of games everyone.

Now on with The Fire Sale

Tight End Studs

Travis Kelce, Kansas City – Kelce’s hype machine has been going strong all summer long and it’s well-deserved. The guy is a beast. In my “Believe the Hype” column back in July, here’s what I had to say about Kelce:

I will say I’m not a big fan of taking tight ends in Round 5. I tend to take one early or wait on tight ends. I’m not saying that’s the best strategy, I’m just telling you what I do. I could change my approach though for Kelce because the fifth round is too low for him.

Think about it. Kelce caught 67 balls for 862 yards and five score last year. Any type of improvement and you’re looking at 70+ receptions, 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns. Are you telling me you won’t take that from a fifth-round tight end?

Kelce is now going in the fourth round of some drafts but he’s still more than worth it. I see five stud tight ends: Gronk, Kelce, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen and Martellus Bennett. After that it’s a crapshoot.

Don’t be afraid to pull the trigger early on Kelce. He’s going to have a huge year.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers – This one is pretty simple.

Olsen saw 122 targets last season with Kelvin Benjamin playing. Add no Benjamin + Mike Shula’s 1950’s passing game + Philly Brown not being an NFL-caliber receiver and Olsen should easily eclipse 150 targets this year.

I like Devin Funchess but we’re asking a former college tight end that’s been nursing a bad hamstring for a majority of training camp to come in and replace Benjamin? Sounds to me like maybe Olsen should be getting drafted higher than Round 4.

For my money Olsen and Kelce are in the same category. If you miss out on Gronk and want a stud tight end, “settling” for one of these two a couple of rounds later isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

About Thomas Casale

Thomas began playing fantasy football back when owners had to mail in their starting lineups and work out trades over the phone. He started writing The Fire Sale in 1998. Since then his articles have appeared on numerous web sites sites including Fantasy Sharks, USA Today and SI.com.