2016 was not the year for Tight Ends. Travis Kelce was the top TE in 2016 with standard scoring of 138 fantasy points. In the prior two seasons there were at least five TEs with production greater than that and in each of those seasons there was at least one TE with production greater than 180 fantasy points. So, are Tight Ends still relevant? Absolutely. Rob Gronkowski was injured this year, Jimmy Graham was coming back from injury and several other top TEs are getting to the end of their productive days such as Antonio Gates, Delanie Walker and Martellus Bennett. In 2017 I would look for a bit of a bounce back but it’s anyone’s guess who may finish in the top 10. With that in mind, here are a few players you can grab off of waivers in most leagues who could produce in 2017. With guys like Jake Doyle and Cameron Brate hitting the top 12 in production at the TE position, it’s not far-fetched to see one of these guys step up in the right situation.
- Gavin Escobar – He’s a free agent and most likely leaving Dallas. He has only been moderately productive behind All Pro Jason Witten but depending on his landing spot he could be a great pass catching Tight End. He’s experienced and athletic, now all he needs is the opportunity. In MFL leagues he’s only rostered in 2% of the leagues.
- Seth DeValve – The Cleveland rookie spent most of his time on special teams in 2016 but with a full year to acclimate and a very open situation in Cleveland, it’s quite possible he starts to produce in 2017. He’s very smart having gone to Princeton and also very athletic. He’s also only rostered in 2% of MFL leagues.
- Jerell Adams – Tight Ends on the Giants has recently been a throw away position for undrafted and low drafted picks. Jerell Adams is no exception to that but he started to hit the rotation as a rookie late last year and with a full training camp in 2017 he could compete and surpass Will Tye. It’s a situation worth keeping an eye on.
- Ben Braunecker – Another rookie in Chicago that doesn’t have a great situation at QB but is athletic, stuck to the roster and earned playing time as the year progressed. He’s not even rostered in most leagues.
- AJ Derby – Denver made a bit of a splash last year trading for Derby mid-season. As was expected he didn’t light it up for Denver but with a full off-season to acclimate Derby has the athleticism you look for to be a productive tight end in this league. He’s on more rosters than the other guys above, but he could be available for cheap in many leagues.