DYNASTY OWNER: TIGHT END VALUE REPORT
BEST AND WORST VALUE AT TE
Tier 1: Great Value
1). Julius Thomas - DEN [$420k / Year | 21 Avg Pts/Game]
Julius Thomas is not only the top scoring TE, he is the lowest paid starting TE in the league, at least for the rest of this year. Expect that to change next year, as he'll surely get into Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham money territory. And perhaps most importantly, Thomas has been extremely durable and hasn't missed any time, which is what is currently separating him from the likes of Gronk and Graham. He is a good candidate to finish this season with the best [lowest] $DynastyDollar /PT number, as he's averaging a ridiculously low $4k per point thus far.
2). Jordan Cameron - CLE [$630k / Year | 9 Avg Pts/Game ]
Last week's breakout performance versus Pittsburgh got him on this list, as he had over 100 yards and a TD for the first time all year. Cameron has been battling a nagging shoulder injury that has forced him to miss time and play below his potential, but like Julius Thomas he's still on a ridiculous rookie deal that makes him a steal on any Dynasty Owner team. If you spent a mid-round pick on Cameron because of that mix of potential and cost, you are going to be very happy with his output for the rest of the year.
3). Larry Donnell - NYG [$450k / Year | 12 Avg Pts/Game ]
Donnell came out of nowhere and we can't imagine too many people drafted him this year, but if you were able to grab him off the waiver wire congratulations, he's absolutely outperformed his minuscule $450k yearly salary. One note, he is being propped up by a single enormous game where he scored 3 Touchdowns and he's been extremely quiet the last 2 games. The targets are there, especially in the redzone, and he made a circus concentration catch in the end-zone that got called back last week, so we aren't too worried about his outlook.
4). Clay Harbor - Jax [$980k / Year | 90 Pts | $10k per Point]
If Rivers a mild surprise, Hoyer is a shocker to make this list after a third of the season is in the books. Most experts predicted this would be around the time that he handed over the reigns to Johnny Manziel, but Hoyer has certainly silenced any of those calling for Johnny Football. At a measly $10k per Point, with a bye week already in the books, Hoyer is looking like the QB steal of Dynasty Owner drafts. He's been remarkably efficient, and he's on pace for for 4,032 yards, 24 TDs, and 4 INTs this season. And all of this without the leagues most talented WR in Josh Gordon, who he gets back in a few weeks. If you drafted or picked up Hoyer off waivers you may have just stumbled into a franchise quarterback.
Tier 2: Solid Value
1). Greg Olsen - CAR [$ 4.875MM/ Year | 17 Avg Pts/Game]
Olsen is often undervalued and under-hyped on draft day and this season appears to be no exception. He's the epitome of solid value and very reliable and durable. He's not going to get you double digit catches or go over 100 yards like Gronk, Thomas, Cameron,and Graham can but he is a favorite red zone target of Cam Newtons and he already has 5 TDs in 6 games to prove it.
2). Delanie Walker - IND [$4MM / Year | 15 Avg Pts/Game]
Walker came on the scene this year and has been a really taken the next step to become a top 10 performer at the tight end position. He's shown that he can be a very effective pass catcher in the past but never had a full opportunity to be the unquestioned number 1 TE on a roster, since he spent the last several years in San Francisco where they have Vernon Davis. Because he's been in the league so long, he's on a veteran deal so his jump in production puts him in the solid value category here.
3). Rob Gronkowski - NE [$9MM / Year | 14 Avg Pts / Game]
As of last week, all limitations (including pracitce restrictions during the week) have been lifted and Gronk is all systems go. He's had 90+ yards in his last two games and it feels like that signature 150 yard 2 TD game is imminent, possibly as early as this Thursday against a Jets D that really struggled to contain Julius Thomas.
4). Jimmy Graham- NYJ [$10MM / Year | 72 Pts | $17k per Point]
Owners are probably a little disappointed now that Graham is dealing with a multi-week injury, but he was playing to expectations before he went down. Graham is in a class of his own at the TE position, and needs to be with a salary that at least doubles nearly every other TE in the league.
5). Martellus Bennet - NO [$5.1MM / Year | 17 Avg Pts / Game]
Some of the same things said for Olsen can be said about Bennet. He's just solid, and a great end-zone target who seems to always get his 5-7 catches and 60 yards per game, with a TD about every other game. With so many options in that offense, especially the big WRs in Marshall and Jefrey, his upside is capped a little bit and he's prone to the occasional dud, but as reliable TEs go he's comfortably in this class.
6). Antonio Gates - SD [$7,32MM / Year | 15 Avg Pts / Game]
In full disclosure, we had Gates in the overpriced category before the season started as it appeared he was declining and ready to turn over the reigns to the younger more dynamic Ladarius Green. But Gates silenced critics and showed he's still very much a big time red zone threat with 6 TDs on the year, 3 of them coming in a week 2 matchup against a stingy Seattle Defense.
Tier 3: Bad Value
1). Vernon Davis - SF [$7.35MM / Year | 9 Avg Pts/Game ]
Nobody would deny that Davis hasn't been healthy yet this season, but that doesn't mean owners aren't disappointed that their TE who has a top 5 contract isn't in the top 20 in average points per game scoring. He's still suiting up but he's been plagued by drops and doesn't appear to be getting open nearly as frequently as he has in years past.
2). Kyle Rudolph - MIN [$7.3MM / Year | 8 Avg Pts/Game]
Rudolph was the TE everyone expected to make the leap this year into the elite category, but that hasn't come close to happening. And frankly it needed to in order to justify that huge $7.3MM yearly salary he's carrying. Even before going down with a groin injury, Rudolph was very pedestrian during the Vikings first 3 contests. We'd probably cut bait if we owned him, that cap number is just to high to hold on potential.
3). Jason Witten - DAL [$7.4MM / Year | 8 Avg Pts/Game]
Witten's decline was predicted by most, but it still hurts Dynasty Owners that he's only producing 8 points per game with such a high salary cap number. He's still a plenty capable option for the Cowboys, but his ceiling is really limited and on his best nights he's probably good for 60 yards and a TD, but that will be the exception. We would probably cut bait in favor of an emerging young TE just struggling with consistency at this point, like a Travis Kelce or Zach Ertz type player.
4). Jared Cook - STL [$7 MM / Year | 10 Avg Pts/Game]
The 7th highest paid TE in the league, he's on the cusp of being a solid value player, he just needs a statement game. Part of the struggle is the ball is really distributed well in that offense, but Cook is still a mismatch that the Rams should lean on more. Part of that is his own fault with attitude, inconsistency and just too many drops.