With the dust of free agency all but settled lets take a look at the position that was most affected over the last two weeks, the tight end position. One of the weakest position groups in fantasy just got a shot in the arm with some key free agent pickups, a retirement, and a trade which changes the outlook of the tight end position for the upcoming 2016 Fantasy Football season.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers sign Ladarius Green to a 4-year $20 million contract. The retirement of Steelers great Heath Miller opened up a need for them to acquire one of my fantasy sleepers over the last couple of years. Green has never lived up to my lofty projections due to old man Antonio Gates being ageless and super productive in his mid 30’s ala Tony Gonzalez. Now in Pittsburgh, in a high octane offense, which will now be without Martavis Bryant, Green gets an opportunity to play without the looming shadow of a future Hall of Famer and showcase the physical talent he possesses.
2. New Orleans Saints sign Coby Fleener to a 5-year $36 million contract. No more timeshare in Indianapolis means a boost in fantasy production for incumbent TE Dwayne Allen in Indy and Fleener who gets a late Christmas gift and will now be catching passes from Drew Brees in a Sean Payton offense. Expect TE1 numbers from the pass catching tight end who will become a fantasy favorite as fantasy drafts approach.
3. Baltimore Ravens sign Ben Watson to a 2-year $8 million contract. In what was a surprising addition to a Ravens team with Crockett Gillmore and second round pick Maxx Williams already on the roster, Watson now becomes the starting TE for Joe Flacco and a Ravens team that desperately needed to improve their passing game. Why do I think the 35-year-old tight end will immediately surpass his younger competitors on the depth chart? Gillmore’s shoulders and back injuries and Williams lack of understanding in the offense last season will make the Ravens rely on and trust the veteran to move the chains in Baltimore.
4. Detroit Lions all time wide receiver Calvin Johnson retires. Megatron decides to walk away from the Lions in the prime of his career, sounds very familiar huh? What is with all time greats retiring early from the Lions organization? Whatever the case, there is a huge void to fill in Detroit and newly acquired free agent WR Marvin Jones can’t do it by himself as Megatron’s shoes are too big to fill with just one man. Enter third year TE Eric Ebron who was a top ten pick in 2014 and has not lived up to that status thus far. From a talent perspective Ebron oozes with ability to become one of the best at his position but he will need to cut down the mental mistakes and drops that have plagued him in his young career. Ebron is a sleeper to remember in your fantasy drafts.
5. New England Patriots trade for Martellus Bennett. Anytime Bill Belichick and Tom Brady get a new toy to play with in the offense, everyone should pay attention. Bennett is not just some toy that the Patriots will try and tweak to get the most out of, he is a bon-a-fide mismatch monster that will be a force to reckon with along side The Gronk. Patriots get another 6’6 260 pound red zone tight end that gets big chunks of yards after contact whom fantasy owners should pay attention to. This trade also creates room for sleeper TE Zach Miller who now becomes the unquestioned starter in Chicago.