2014 Fantasy Breakout Tight Ends
Everybody knows Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten, and all the familiar faces at the tight end position. But there are a handful of young tight ends poised to take that next step and burst on to the scene. Excluding rookies, I have 3 good young tight ends who are ready to be great!
TE Charles Clay, BUF - Solid/Safe Pick
Clay is actually ranked #9 in our Tight End Rankings (site bug)
My personal favorite of the three. Clay has one huge advantage that no other tight end on this list or in this league has: Clay (a converted fullback) is also the Miami Dolphins' goal-line runner. The Dolphins have said they plan on making Clay an even bigger part of the offense this year. He's the go-to receiver on 3rd down and in the red zone, and go-to ball carrier on the goal line. The only thing that could hurt Clay's stock is Landry could cut into his receptions when the Dolphins are looking to move the chains. He has top 5 potential this season and you can most likely draft him late for great value!
TE Ladarius Green, PIT - Sleeper (undervalued)
Green is actually ranked #12 (site bug)
Green appears to be the heir apparent to Antonio Gates in San Diego. He showed flashes of greatness last season, but was still clearly the number 2 tight end for the Chargers. However, in a shocking turn of events, Antonio Gates was healthy all of last season. That hadn't happened in years due to his chronic foot problems caused by plantar fasciitis. You cannot count on Gates to play 16 games (and even if healthy, he has clearly lost a step). He still has a big body, but has lost his speed. Green should step into a larger role nicely, and very possibly take over as the Chargers' top tight end this year. We all know Phillip Rivers loves himself a pass catching tight end to throw to. Green has the potential to crack the top 10 this year, and climb even higher in the future.
TE Jordan Reed, WAS - Stud (low risk)
Reed is actually Ranked #3 Overall (site bug)
If not sidelined with post-concussion syndrome, the Redskins' tight end may already be on that next tier. Reed is clearly RG3's go-to guy when he's in trouble. I expect Reed to have an extremely high volume of passes thrown in his direction in 2014. With the exception of Jimmy Graham, he has the potential to have more targets than any tight end in the league; the addition of Desean Jackson only helps his cause. The one knock on Jordan Reed is the Redskins have talented young running backs when they get in the red zone, and RG3 seems to favor Garcon as a red zone target. Reed (like Clay) has top 5 potential.
Tight end all of a sudden went from very shallow to somewhat deep. As the league changes and more and more teams utilize the tight end in new innovative ways, there has been an influx of young talented players getting a shot to make plays. Although the position is much deeper, there is a huge drop off after the elite guys. Getting an elite tight end can put a fantasy team over the top and be the difference in hoisting a trophy or being taunted by your friends for losing the big game. Keep your eye on these guys, and don't be afraid to reach a little on a high upside tight end. Guys like Antonio Gates and Jason Witten won't be in their prime forever. Now is the time to jump on these young guys while you still can.