When it comes to Dynasty Fantasy Football leagues, rookie tight ends might not get the love every other skill player gets. But depending on how your original team looks, a tight end who has the chance to start as soon as this year will always be a top-10 pick in most Dynasty Fantasy Football drafts. This year is no different. Even though we only have one tight end going within the top picks this year in most drafts, this small aspect continues to show us that teams will continue to utilize the position as much as possible going forward.
Here are my top-5 rookie tight ends and how much of an impact they should make this year and over the long haul.
1. Travis Kelce - Kansas City Chiefs
I'm going against the grain compared to other sites' No. 1 tight end and taking a chance on Kelce as my overall top choice. Kelce could have easily pushed for the first or second spot before the draft, but major off-field issues pushed him down the rankings. Andy Reid has shown his love for utilizing his tight ends in the passing game, as seen by Brent Celek and Chad Lewis in Philly. Not to mention Alex Smith gave Vernon Davis his biggest fantasy production while he was still the starter in San Francisco. Reid has already admitted that Kelce will compete for the team's starting tight end job. Anthony Fasano and Tony Moeaki have both shown they can't be consistent producers week in and week out, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Kelce starting Week One or by at least the mid-season. Of course this will all my a moot point if Kelce continues to hold onto his baggage.
2. Tyler Eifert - Cincinnati Bengals
While Eifert was the first tight end taken in this year's NFL Draft, that doesn't necessarily make him the slam dunk No. 1 rated rookie tight end in my book. The biggest obstacle: Jermaine Gresham, who is still the team's starter as of now. There are a couple scenarios that can play out:
- Gresham pushes harder and keeps Eifert down as nothing more than a bit player.
- The Bengals use both players and hope it works just as well as the Patriots have used it.
- Gresham fails to live up to his potential and Eifert takes the job sometime during the season.
Regardless of what happens above, it's hard to push Eifert any lower than No. 2 just because of his potential to be everything on a Bengals offense that needs someone to take pressure off A. J. Green.
3. Zach Ertz - Philadelphia Eagles
I expect Ertz to have a decent-sized role as soon as 2013, but how he exactly fits into Chip Kelly's offense is unknown. There are a lot of mouths to feed for whichever quarterback winds up nailing the starting job. You have DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Brent Celek, LeSean McCoy and also newly-signed Arrelious Benn and James Casey. Another reason for Ertz's questionable rookie season is the fact that he can't participate in any team activities until his class graduates. So while his big 6'5 frame makes for a perfect red-zone target, it could take Ertz awhile to fully grasp the playbook.
4. Gavin Escobar - Dallas Cowboys
Escobar won't come anywhere close to pushing Jason Witten for the starting job, but owner Jerry Jones is excited for the possibilities of using both Witten and Escobar in the offense at the same time. Something they tried doing with Martellus Bennett. With that said, Escobar won't be a true fantasy option anytime soon. But with Witten having just turned 31, he won't be around forever. Escobar is a draft-and-stash option this year.
5. Jordan Reed - Washington Redskins
With Fred Davis still mending from an Achilles injury, and on a one-year deal, Reed could find himself battling for the starting job as soon as this year. A player in the same mold as Dustin Keller, Reed posted a 12.4 yards-per-reception average last year while at Florida. Although he's a poor blocker, he could have a strong chance at beating out Logan Paulsen for starting duties if Davis starts the season on the PUP. However, it will take a few things falling into place for Reed to have true dynasty value.