More Speculative Dynasty Stashes 2015: Tight Ends
Earlier this season I posted an article suggesting some potential tight end stashes for 2015. Now that the fantasy season has concluded, let’s re-visit that article. As with the quarterback article I published recently, these aren’t the greatest TEs out there. But they are likely available cheaply, and could have a meaningful impact for your team next season. These are presented in my order of preference, but how much you value these TEs depends on a lot of factors: your team’s contending/rebuilding status, number of bench spots, number of TEs that can be started, and scoring system, among others.
Disappointing season? Surely. But still a fringe-TE1 season. Clay finished 2014 as PPR TE 15 in total points and 13 in per-game scoring. Likely hampered by a lingering knee injury, the still young (26 at start of next season) Clay is a free agent who could end up in a good situation next year. Prior to 2014, some of his RotoViz comparables included Jason Witten, Jeremy Shockey, and Greg Olsen.
Eifert missed all but one game of the 2014 season, so his current owner may not be enthused about keeping him. Remember though, that in addition to a first-round draft pedigree, he also possesses a well above-average Phenom Score. In fact, his phenom score ranks ahead of Greg Olsen, Coby Fleener, Fred Davis, and many more. Fellow Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham is a free agent. A return to health is expected for Eifert, and there’s a decent chance his workload increases next season.
Escobar may or may not be readily available. On the one hand, he did hardly anything this year, never earning more than three targets/game. On the other hand, everybody knows that Jason Witten will be 33 when next season starts. Although James Hanna is more athletic, he hasn’t managed to get ahead of the still-young Escobar (24 when next season starts). Escobar boasts an excellent 1.75 Phenom Score and so far appears to still be the heir-apparent to Witten. If and when he takes over, his price will be much higher. A troublesome salary cap situation also makes it less likely that Dallas brings in a free agent TE.
Any of the big three 2014 rookies
Seriously. None of Jace Amaro, Eric Ebron, or Austin Seferian-Jenkins had an impressive rookie season. But not many TEs do. They’re all still highly drafted, athletic, and collegiately productive prospects. They also have a one-year jump on any 2015 rookie TE, and a longer potential career window than any veteran TE. If for some reason an owner is willing to part, take advantage.
Gillmore has a lot in common with the other TEs on this list: young player stuck behind a productive veteran. However, Gillmore is not an exciting prospect on his own. On the other hand, he might have the opportunity to start sooner, with Owen Daniels aging and Dennis Pitta both aging and injured again.
I wrote a full article about Wright earlier this season. All of those arguments still apply. Predicting non-Rob Gronkowski New England players is always a crap shoot. But Wright posted an impressive rookie season and played well when given the opportunity in New England. A more regular role could make him a fantasy viable option down the road.
I covered him last time as well. The case for rostering Hill remains the same: The handcuff argument. Jimmy Graham will be 29 before next season ends, and struggled at times with injury this year. Hill has also played capably when given the opportunity. Finally, an atrocious salary cap situation means that New Orleans likely won’t be able to bring in other playmakers on offense, giving Hill a slight chance to play more, even when Graham is healthy.
McDonald seems more likely than Escobar to be available. But through two seasons he’s done even less on the field. His Phenom Score is above average, but less impressive than Escobar’s. He also spent much of this season on injured reserve. Still, he’s shown some ability as a run blocker, which could help him stay on the field more next season. Another factor is the brutally disappointing season the soon-to-be-31 Vernon Davis posted. Add in a new coaching staff and there could be enough of a shake up that McDonald gets a chance to play. Still, this is a long shot.