It's time to "Make the Right Call." In this edition, we'll dive into the murky waters of the tight end position to try and help you find some clarity as fantasy drafts approach. Read my answers below, or hear Elliot Harrison's in the video above. Or do both. A little extra information never hurt anybody, right?
What is the best overall tight end fantasy draft strategy?
I'm with Elliot here, in that when it comes to tight end strategy there are two options: Get Rob Gronkowski, or wait. In our NFL Fantasy LIVE expert league draft, I was 10th out of 10 and picked up Rob Gronkowski and Julio Jones at the turn. Gronk gives you a huge week-to-week positional advantage, which is why he can be worth a first round pick. When it comes to waiting on the position, I'm keen on either grabbing Travis Kelce (basically baby Gronk) or Julius Thomas in the middle rounds, waiting until after Round 10 to scoop up a high-upside option. People are sleeping on Thomas given his hand injury, but he'll come back early in the season (if not by Week 1) and immediately be the best player on that offense. Peyton Manning wasn't the only reason Thomas had so much success -- he routinely made linebackers and safeties look silly trying to cover him. Same goes for Kelce. He was the eighth highest-scoring tight end last year, despite playing on less than 70 percent of the Chiefs snaps. That'll change this year. As for late-round options, Tyler Eifert, Jordan Cameron and Vernon Davis are all great names to target.
Which tight ends have seen their fantasy stock rise?
When it comes to rising stocks, I look for the late-round guys. Eifert is my favorite late-round tight end to target, as he's finally healthy, in the best offense of his career, and is a physical mismtach wherever he lines up. Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson wanted to give Eifert a more prominent role in the offense last season before he went on IR, and that shouldn't change this season. Kyle Rudolph has been a frequent target of Teddy Bridgewater this preseason, and the two could have a budding connection building in Norv Turner's offense that has been favorable to tight ends in the past. Elliot thinks Greg Olsen's stock is on the rise, but for me, he was already the third-best tight end option, and a few more targets in Carolina due to Kelvin Benjamin's absence isn't going to be enough to put him over the top to get past Jimmy Graham or Gronk. If anything, the lack of a true No. 1 WR could hurt Olsen, as opposing teams will know he's Cam Newton's only reliable option.
Which tight ends have seen their fantasy stock fall?
As Elliot mentions in the video above, trendy offseason sleeper Zach Ertz has seen his stock plummet after having to undergo surgery on his groin. Ertz might not be ready by Week 1, and even when he comes back he'll still have to compete with Brent Celek (a much better run-blocker) for snaps and targets. Thus, Ertz is more on the TE2 radar. Delanie Walker hasn't played yet in the preseason, and will have to fight with a bevvy of new pass-catchers for targets in the Titans offense, as the team acquired free agents Harry Douglas and Hakeem Nicks, while also drafting the uber-talented Dorial Green-Beckham. Many are targeting him as a TE1, but I see his stock more in the TE2 range. Let's not forget he scored 44 percent of ALL of his 2014 fantasy points in only the first four weeks of the season. His 890 yards and four touchdowns might be tough totals to repeat.