In this article, you will find the next Gary Barnidge! Not really, but hopefully we can find better than expected value here. What Barnidge did last year was not short of amazing, and I am not sure we will ever see that kind of jump in number again. Back in the 1900’s when I started playing fantasy football there was this unwritten rule that most players took 3 or so years to become productive players, which does not seem to be the case anymore, well except for TE’s. For the last few years I kept on expecting that to change and well honestly it has burned me every time. So no more, you will not see guys like Hunter Henry or Austin Hooper here, but rather guys with some experience making them ready to be big-time contributors at the TE position for their team.
Vance McDonald (25th TE – 187 overall) – A tale of two quarterbacks would best describe Vance McDonald’s 2015 campaign. When Colin Kaepernick was running the offense McDonald had a slash line of 7/45/0 in 8 games, and when Blaine Gabbert was at the helm his slash line was 23/281/3 in 7 games. A full season with Gabbert and McDonald could find himself a top 12 TE. If Gabbert does not win the starting QB job I think that will drastically cut into McDonald production, but feel confident that Gabbert will win the job and because of it McDonald has earned the right to be considered a sleeper for me. Factor in the 49ers have virtually no one else to throw the ball to, and that McDonald and Gabbert seem to have a good rapport, I think we are looking at a very solid year for McDonald.
Will Tye (26th TE – 183 overall) – I love Will Tye, but he has one obstacle in his way before I jump on that train, and he goes by Larry Donnell. I believe Tye is flat out better, but Donnell has a history and has played well at times. I think Tye will be the starting TE, but as long as Donnell is active he will cut into Tye production. In the 8 games without Donnell last year Tye had a slash of 34/387/3 and if you averaged it out over an entire season Tye would have been the 9th best TE in the league. That is a TE1 for a guy getting drafted in the 15th or later round. I think the Giants are going to pass a lot this season and if Tye can either separate from Donnell or Donnell gets hurts again, he could be in line for a very solid season.
Cameron Brate (29 TE – 229 overall) – I am actually struggling with this one here. Cameron Brate should be the number 2 TE for the Bucs this season. Austin Seferian-Jenkins should be the number 1 hands down. The problem is ASJ has a short history in the NFL and in that history he has been injury prone. He missed 7 games his rookie year and missed 9 games last year. To make matters worse he was sent home one day this summer for being on the naughty list. All of that has put Brate right in the thick of things to earn the starting TE job, in which he has shown a chemistry with Jameis Winston. This sounds like a slam dunk, Brate is the one to own right? Honestly, I do not know. ASJ is more talented and reports have come out that since the day he was kicked out, he has been a model teammate. Though he is still on the second team, if he manages to keep up the boy scout routine, he should return to TE1 duties, no matter how well Brate is playing. That said if he relapses and does something stupid again, Brate could finally earn the title of TE1. Bottom line as long as ASJ is still in the picture Brate will have a cap on potential, but if ASJ gets hurt to kicked out again, Brate value goes way up.
Antonio Gates (11 TR – 99 overall) – Many people assume Gates is on his last leg, and the are probably right. Normally I would consider Gates a bust candidate, but I actually think he could be a top 6 TE this season. The reason is a simple one. Gates is 8 TD’s away from being 6th all time in receiving TD’s. I know what you are thinking, 6th who really cares about being 6th? The reason why Gates would care is because that would make him the all-time leader in receiving TD’s for TE. I also read somewhere, sorry I don’t remember where that Philip Rivers has promised Gates that he will get him to his goal. Any player with 8 TD’s is bound to be considered a lock for the top 10. If Gates stays healthy I believe he reaches his goal, and in the process, he puts up some very solid numbers.
Jace Amaro (33 TR – 240 overall) – People quickly forget that Amaro was a 2nd round pick in 2014 and that in his final year in college his slash line was 106/1352/7 in 13 games. I know it’s just college, but you have to have at least some talent for those kinds of numbers. Amaro’s rookie year was Geno Smith’s second year, and for those of you that don’t remember it was not a good year for Geno. Then Amaro lost of all last year to an injury and missed an opportunity to play with a decent QB. Fast forward to 2016, Amaro worked with Brandon Marshall on catching technique and has been in the film room working on pass protection and running blocking schemes. There is a lot of talk about how hard he is working to be a big part of the Jets offense. We all knew he had the physical ability to be a very good TE and now it sounds like he is focused on the mental side and working hard to be a top TE in the NFL. I would not run out and draft him just yet, but I will be keeping a close eye on him, and if it looks like he is getting the playing time I might jump on him early as a flier.
Article originally posted on Going For 2 on August 16th, 2016.