Redskins tight end Jordan Reed

Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports

Fantasy Football Preview: Hot/Cold Tight Ends

Keep an eye on Jordan Reed and Charles Clay, Jack Thomason writes.

Jack Thomason
August 09, 2018 - 2:51 pm

(670 The Score) We our look at overvalued and undervalued fantasy football players at various positions by focusing on tight ends today.

The intent is exactly what it sounds like -- to identify who we're hot and cold on, by position, from an average draft position (ADP) standpoint. I'll preview a different position each week. Check out my look at quarterbacks here and my latest positional rankings here.

I'm using FantasyPros ADP as a barometer and welcome all dialogue and banter as well. Feel free to engage on Twitter here.


Tyler Eifert, Bengals -- Eifert is a fascinating player. At one point, coming off a 13-touchdown season back in 2015, he was considered elite and in the category of Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce. The issue is in the other three seasons dating back to 2014, Eifert has played in just 11 total games and recorded 36 receptions. The upside is immense given that he's unquestionably the No. 2 receiver on this team if healthy, but that's an enormous "if." There were early rumblings that his back issue was still lingering, but Eifert is taking part in training camp. If he can stay healthy and show some flashes of old as the preseason carries on, I'll gladly move him up my ranks. But as of today, there are too many options within the top 12 to draft him there. (ADP TE12; My rank: TE17) 

Trey Burton, Bears -- This is splitting hairs given that we're discussing a few spots in tight end ranks, but it has more to do with Burton being drafted inside the top 85 players when the TE12 is going 55 spots later. I like Burton as much as the next guy and can easily get wrapped up in the narrative of coach Matt Nagy coming from Kansas City, hand selecting Burton and giving him big money while expecting him to be the Bears' version of Travis Kelce going forward. That being said, Mitchell Trubisky is going to have to be an MVP candidate in order to support Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Burton, Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen as legit fantasy starters and/or stars. Not to mention, Adam Shaheen is still a large presence in the red zone, having had five of his 14 targets come inside the 20 last season. As I said earlier, I like Burton and will select him when he slips in drafts, but I won't be taking him in the seventh round, that's for sure. (ADP: TE9; My rank: TE12)

Greg Olsen, Panthers -- Once again, this is more about missing on the big two tight ends (Gronkowski and Kelce) and still proceeding to take one inside the top 60 players. We know Olsen has been a stalwart at the position, averaging 80 receptions and 1,062 yards between 2014 and 2017, but the Panthers have more weapons than ever.  They've upgraded from Jonathan Stewart to C.J. Anderson, drafted D.J. Moore in the first round this past spring, drafted Christian McCaffrey last year, added Torrey Smith in free agency and have Devin Funchess coming off a breakout season in 2017. Add these to the fact that Cam Newton has only attempted 500 passes twice in his career, and something has go to give. Olsen will be a fixture in the passing game and should remain a focus in the red zone, but I'm not a firm believer he hits his 118-target average from 2012 to 2017. Therefore, given where you have to select Olsen, I'll pass. (ADP: TE6; My rank: TE8)


Charles Clay, Bills  -- This is criminal! I had to look on three separate occasions to make sure I had Clay's ADP right. TE33?!? I'm not sure how much I need to elaborate here given that prior to injury last year, Clay was a top-five fantasy tight end. He was slowed by the injury when he finally returned yet still finished just outside the top 12. Buffalo isn't a good team, and it may well be the worst team in football (I think so), but young quarterbacks tend to lean on their tight ends. The Bills also should be trailing plenty, so the offense should have to throw a lot a fair amount. Yes, the Bills recently traded for former first-rounder Corey Coleman and they have Kelvin Benjamin, but Clay is the player who will be the first or second option in the pass game. By that fact alone, he should be valued higher than TE33. Dating back to 2013, Clay has 50-plus receptions each season, with the exception of last year due to injury. Even then, he caught 49 passes in 13 games. (ADP TE33; My rank: TE13)

Benjamin Watson, Saints -- The last time Watson was with the Saints, he was a top-12 tight end and caught 74 passes for 825 yards and six touchdowns. We all know the affinity that Drew Brees has for his tight ends, and the Saints tried to replace Watson by signing Coby Fleener to a huge contract back in 2016. That didn't work out well, as Fleener was a total bust. Given the positive regression that should benefit the Saints' passing game, Watson is being undervalued. He's barely being drafted as a second tight end. Even in Baltimore last year, Watson had some strong games, recording 61 receptions in 12 starts. So while people are leaving him for dead, he knows the Saints' offense, he's familiar with Brees and coach Sean Payton and will be a relevant TE2 with upside should anything happen to a Saints starting receiver or Alvin Kamara. (ADP TE24; My rank: TE15)

Jordan Reed, Redskins -- I know, I know -- the injuries have derailed Reed over the years. It hasn't been easy for his fantasy owners to get excited every time they got a glimpse of what Reed can do on the field, only to have their heart ripped out by another injury. While it's a painful situation, the fact remains that when Reed is healthy, he's clearly in a tier with Gronkowski and Kelce. Twice over the last three years, Reed has been the TE1 in terms of points-per-game average. This isn't like Eifert, who makes his living off of touchdowns. Reed is a reception, yardage and touchdown producer and a focal point in Washington's offense. He had surgery to remove bones in his toes this offseason, after which all signs point to him being healthy. His ADP is starting to rise, but if you're getting him between the eighth and 10th rounds and he stays healthy, you're winning. (ADP TE10; My rank: TE4)

Jack Thomason is 670 The Score’s fantasy football expert and co-host of “Chicago’s Fantasy Football Today,” which can be heard every Sunday during football season from 8-9 a.m. CT on WSCR-670 and Follow him on Twitter @jthomason77 and feel free to ask fantasy questions.