Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fantasy Football Sleepers Pt. 2: Tight Ends

If any of you read part one, you noticed at the end of the article I said that RB's would be next. Well guess what? I lied.

First off, before writing this article, I think I should define the term sleeper. I have a few definitions that I would use. I would define a sleeper as an undrafted player that obtains unexpected success, or a player that is drafted in the later rounds of a fantasy draft and outperforms his draft position significantly.

The key to winning your fantasy league is finding several of these sleepers late in your draft. I have constructed a list of a couple tight end sleepers for the upcoming fantasy football season that will help you in your search for one of those gems.

When drafting I usually find myself waiting on a tight end, there is a lot of talented tight ends outside of the first few tiers. Some of these guys go very late, or even undrafted.

I don't classify rookies as sleepers anymore. It seems like every draft I am in people just go rookie crazy. That being said, this list will not include rookies.

Visanthe Shiancoe

If you've already drafted and settled for Shiancoe as your tight end you've made a great pick. With the recent signing of Brett Favre, Shiancoe fantasy value skyrockets.

Even without Favre, Shiancoe was a solid tight end last year. He caught 42 passes, for 596 yards, and seven touchdowns. Oh, and he did it all with QB's such as Gus Frerotte and Tavaris Jackson. Even with those QB's he set personal records in receptions, yards, touchdowns, and targets.

Shiancoe is still on the waiver wire in around 60 percent of ESPN Fantasy Football leagues, and his current ADP is 147.

Martellus Bennett

Call this a homer pick, but I really like Martellus Bennett this year. The Cowboys are set to use a two tight end set as their base offense, this obviously boosts Bennett's fantasy value.

As a rookie last year Bennett caught 20 passes, for 283 yards, and four touchdowns in limited action last year. In a two tight end set I can easily see him doubling those numbers from last year with T.O. out of town.

Right now, I will say he's worth a draft pick in deeper 14, 16, or even 20 team leagues. I can see him being a top 15 tight end by years end.

At 6'6" 256 pounds, Bennett could prove to be a good red zone threat. Bennett is only owned in 4.2 percent of ESPN Fantasy Football leagues, and is going undrafted in most.

Jeremey Shockey

I fully expect Shockey to rebound after a horrible fantasy season last year, and should be a nice late round value pick. In every mock draft I have participated in recently, I have noticed he is quite undervalued.

He has looked really good thus far in the preseason. In the Saints' opener he caught three passes, for 61 yards, and a touchdown. The good news is that his touchdown came off a 22 yard pass from Drew Brees, something the duo wasn't able to do last season.

With both Marques Colston and Lance Moore coming off surgery, Shockey has been getting more looks in practice and building up his chemistry with Drew Brees. I would expect around 60 catches, 600 yards, and five touchdowns from Shockey this season in a pass happy, Drew Brees led offense.

Shockey is available in around 30 percent of ESPN Fantasy Football league.

Brent Celek

Celek was solid last season with the Eagles. But now that L.J. Smith is gone and rookie Cornelius Ingram is out for the season, Celek really has no competition for the starting gig.

He is a consistent fantasy option, and goes undrafted in around 83 percent of ESPN leagues. In the ten games he was a starter last season (including playoffs) he caught 38 passes, for 347 yards, and four touchdowns.

For now he could be a nice waiver wire pickup as your number two tight end. But he does have huge sleeper potential.

That's it for the tight ends. Next up: RB's (I hope).

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