Fantasy football sleepers: Tight ends

by Cory J. Bonini and Tim Heaney on September 9, 2010 @ 14:32:00 PDT's analysis of fantasy football sleepers for the 2010 season will be updated weekly throughout the offseason. We have separated our sleepers and undervalued players this year, so be sure not to confuse the two.

Sleepers are also undervalued players in some cases. Yet, you can still have a hidden gem on your hands, even if appropriately drafted, as long as you identify the right characteristics that go into making up a sleeper. No one likes doing the dirty work, so let do it for you! Be sure to check for weekly updates.

Note: All average draft position (ADP) figures are based on 12-team, non-PPR leagues unless specified otherwise.

Tight ends

Marcedes Lewis | Jacksonville Jaguars | ADP: N/A

Cleveland Browns TE Benjamin Watson
Better off in Cleveland than NE?

Mostly a block-first tight end for his career, he hasn't lived up to expectations of his receiving skills. Still, Lewis (6-foot-6, 275 pounds) was targeted 60 times by David Garrard last year but only came away with a 32-518-2 line. Most encouraging was his jump in yards per catch to 16.2, aided by 11 catches of 20-plus yards. His quickness and route running reportedly improved this year. He was one of the most dominant players at Jacksonville's camp.

The Jags won't go away from running back Maurice Jones-Drew and top wideout Mike Sims-Walker in the passing game, but receiver Mike Thomas isn't exactly entrenched in the third spot of the pecking order. Garrard is a game manager, which means improved tight end play could lead to more dump-offs and just an increased involvement altogether for the talented Lewis. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will call the plays from now on, and he likes to pass. He might not be able to ignore Lewis' size and potential.

Fantasy value: Consider Lewis an upside No. 2 tight end you don't have to reach for. Save him for your last pick or two if your league warrants carrying a second tight end. If he falls to your league's post-draft waiver wire, don't lose track of him.

Benjamin Watson | Cleveland Browns | ADP: N/A

A new home may be exactly what Watson needed. Coming to Cleveland is probably the best thing that could have happened to his fantasy value, because the Browns' offense isn't exactly loaded with playmakers. There should be plenty of targets coming his way.

Clearly the No. 1 tight end on Cleveland's roster, Watson will have every chance to build chemistry with quarterback Jake Delhomme. Should the veteran passer struggle and cede playing time to Seneca Wallace or even rookie Colt McCoy, Watson could benefit. Wallace has experience utilizing tight ends from his time in Seattle, and rookie passers generally rely on the position as a safety net. Nevertheless, elements of the tight end-friendly West Coast system will be incorporated into this offense.

Fantasy value: Not only is Watson undervalued in drafts, he is a great sleeper candidate this year. The only catch with Watson has been remaining healthy. Athletic enough to create mismatches, the former New England Patriot should be viewed as a second tight end in deep formats. In leagues that require two starting tight ends, he's an excellent flier pick late in your draft.

Daniel Fells | St. Louis Rams | ADP: N/A

Perhaps Fells should be on the super sleeper list since he isn't ever drafted, on average. The Rams have so few weapons in their offense, and with rookie quarterback Sam Bradford starting, tight end, namely Fells, could be a staple in the Rams' offense.

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur's system is a West Coast derivative, which generally relies on the tight end.

Fantasy value: Expect spotty production as Bradford experiences growing pains. Fells should only be drafted in deep leagues or formats that roster two tight ends as a late-round flier.

Facebook Twitter Google +

Also See:
Sleepers: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT
Busts: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT
Undervalued players: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT
Overvalued players: QB | RB | WR | TE | PK | DT

About Cory J. Bonini

Cory is KFFL's General Manager. In late 2002, he joined the KFFL staff as a research analyst and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1996. A member of the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, as well as Fantasy Sports Writers Association, Bonini has been featured in print, on radio and on scores of websites. Bonini co-hosted Big Lead Sports on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio from 2011 to 2012.

Bonini was recognized with the 2010 Best Article in Print Award from the FSWA and was a finalist for the same award in 2011. In '11, he finished first overall in the FSWA NFL experts challenge that featured 60 of the industry's best competitors.

Don't miss these great reports....

What do you think? Sound off!

Recent KFFL releases