by Ryan Skolrud
This is not a big group to work with when it comes to analyzing who is over or underrated. But lets see if we can find a few players anyway!
Greg Olsen, CAR
Now don’t get me wrong here. Olsen was a monster at the TE position in 2014-2016 and was a solid performer before then. That being said, he is coming off a season where he was dealing with a broken foot and missed half of the season. Besides the broken foot, Olsen had a bit of a down year anyway. With a 17/191/1 line over 8 games, he was not the productive guy many were hoping for even after he came off IR. To make things worse, most of his production came in week 15 with a 9/116/1 game, meaning that over 7 other games Olsen went 8/75/0. If you look at the last eight games of 2016 he went 35/400/0. Take this downward trend and add in Christian McCaffery who has seemed to become Cam’s favorite target with 113 targets and 80 receptions in his rookie year. There is just too much going against Olsen for me to draft him as the TE4 where he is going in most drafts right now.
Rob Gronkowski, NE
I understand that Gronk is one of the most powerful and dominant players in the NFL right now…as long as he stays healthy. I have no problem ranking him as my #1 TE. And with the lack of WRs in the NE locker room right now, Brady is going to need a target he can trust over and over. Because of that, he is going to be taking a lot of hits this year. With how many surgeries he has had on his back alone and not taking into account the ACL and the broken ribs and punctured lung he has suffered over his career, I hesitate to draft him at #21 overall when there are solid RBs and WRs who will still be available at that point. And lets be honest, the only reason to hesitate on Gronk is his injury history. But for those who tend to be risk averse, this may not be the route you want to go.
Jack Doyle, IND
There are a lot of people jumping on the Jack Doyle train and I find it hard to blame them. Last season with Jacoby Brissett, Doyle finished with an 80/690/4 line. Brissett was a game manager who had a few good games but is not anywhere near the talent of Andrew Luck. In 2016 with and Andrew Luck that was never really all that healthy Doyle finished the season at 59/584/5. Also, take into account that Donte Moncrief is no longer with the team who had 13 TDs between 2015 and 2016 with Luck and Doyle should pick up some extra red zone targets as well. As long as the Colts continue to have trouble finding a run game and need to throw the ball with a (hopefully) healthy Andrew Luck, Doyle should get peppered with targets and by the end of the season he could finish better than the TE11 he is being drafted as.
Ben Watson, NO
Watson is not a name that is going to jump out to many people as a man they “must draft”. However, there are some things to keep in mind with Watson entering the fantasy season. While he is now 37 and has been in the league for 15 years and missed all of 2016 with a torn Achilles, he had an okay season with 61/522/4 in 2017. In his previous stint with the Saints he finished with a career best in receptions (74), yards (825), and tied a career best in TDs (6). Now, I don’t want anyone here saying that I think Watson will finish 70/800/6 this season, because I am not. But having a previous history with Drew Brees, and in a high powered offense that can be productive for TEs (Coby Fleener not withstanding), Ben Watson is a huge value as the TE21 largely going undrafted. Don’t actively seek to draft him, but you should definitely have him on your waiver-wire watch list once the season starts.