Grabbing an elite TE like Antonio Gates early in the draft has always been a goal of mine. I have vivid memories of guys like Bubba Franks putting up big fat zeros on the stat line. A top-tier TE that consistently got 60 yards and a touchdown was the equivalent of playing with an extra man on the field.
This year is different, though. A tight end like Tony Gonzalez is going to cost you a fourth- or fifth-round pick. I’d much prefer grabbing a RB with high upside like Darren McFadden or Knowshon Moreno than grabbing an elite TE. No one wins a fantasy football league because of their TE. Leagues are won by selecting guys with high upside, like Matt Forte and Chris Johnson last year.
You could also secure a solid WR2 like Wes Welker or “Whosyourmama,” especially if you’re in a league that plays three wide receivers. Even selecting a second-tier QB like Philip Rivers or Donavan McNabb is a smarter idea than wasting a high pick on a TE. Why am I so convinced of this?
Consider Jason Witten, a consensus top three TE this year, who had 952 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2008. Contrast that with a guy like Owen Daniels, who had 862 yards and 2 touchdowns. That’s a difference of 90 yards and 2 touchdowns, or roughly 1.3 points a game. Most fantasy football players only draft one TE. Even if someone does select a second TE, they rarely grab them before one of the final two rounds. What this means is that you can get comparable value at TE 10 rounds later than the guys in your draft that select a top TE.
In 2009, getting an elite TE is an unnecessary luxury. It’s like buying the special edition DVD of
Transformers that contains an exclusive interview with Shia LeBeouf, when you already have the wide-screen version of
Transformers sitting on your DVD rack. Who wants to pay $20 to see LeBeouf talk about fake robots? Follow my advice this year and wait to draft a TE. It’s a much smarter investment. It will be like taking that $20 and bringing a hot date to
Revenge of the Fallen, instead of sitting on your couch alone watching bonus material of Even Steven?