2019 Fantasy Football Impact: Contract Years Tight Ends

Contributed by: Shawn Childs and Matt Brandon
Last Updated: Jul 03, 2019 4:58 PM


TE Contract-Year Players

Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers

After missing all of 2018 with a torn ACL in his right knee, Henry will draw plenty interested in the Fantasy market after showing upside in his first two years in the NFL (36/478/8 and 45/579/4). In 2017, his finals stats were acceptable for his 14 games played, but Hunter did have a better of emptiness and upside. He scored no Fantasy points in two of his first three games plus three other shallow outings (2/11, 1/7, and 3/28). Henry finished with four games of value (7/80, 5/90, 6/76/1, and 7/81). Last year the Chargers' TEs caught 48 passes for 567 yards and three TDs on 68 targets. Philip Rivers will throw to the TE, and the upgrade in talent will command a big jump in looks. Hunter's natural progression puts him on a path for 65 catches for 750+ yards and six to eight TDs.

Here's an interesting tweet: Hunter Henry and OJ Howard lead all TEs in PPR points per target and trail only Gronk, Kelce, Kittle in yards gained per route over the last three years. TB (4th-most) and LAC (16th) have plenty of targets available, too. Can't wait to see these two fully breakout in 2019.
 

Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts

In a way, Ebron continued on his career path in 2018, which was set in 2016 (61/711/1). The big difference last year was his TDs (13), and Andrew Luck's willingness to give him more chances (110 targets). Eric finished with a career-high in catches (66), receiving yards (750), TDs (13), and targets (110). His catch rate (60.0) was below his high level set in 2015 (67.1) and 2017 (71.8). Ebron had four games with double digits targets (11, 10, 15, and 16) with one leading to an impact game (9/105/2). He had two other games with multiple TDs (3/69/3 and 5/45/2).

Unfortunately for Fantasy owners, Eric came up short in two crucial Weeks (15 – 1/8 and 16 – 3/28) costing teams a chance at overall and league titles.

This season Ebron will compete with Jack Doyle for targets, which wasn't the case in many games last year due to Doyle missing ten games with a hip issue. The Colts are one of the top teams in the NFL using the TE, which is showcased by their totals in 2018 (108/1216/21 with 165 targets). I expect Ebron to be active in the red zone, but his chances will regress due Indy having better WR options and a second viable TE. I would lower my bar to about 60 catches for 700 yards and six to eight TDs. Do not overpay for his 2018 stats, but keep an open mind of his playable value.


Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts

In Week 1, Doyle appeared to be on a path for a high catch season after securing seven of his ten targets for 60 yards, The following week, he played most of the game (2/20 on five targets), but a hip issue cost him five games. When Jack returned in Week 8, he shined again vs. the Raiders (6/70/1 on seven targets) giving Fantasy owners hope that he would be an impact player going forward. After the bye week, his output came up short in three games (3/36, 4/43, and 4/16/1) before his season ended with a lacerated kidney. Doyle had hip surgery as the season, which puts him on track to play in training camp.

In 2017, the lack of options in the Colts' passing game with Andrew Luck injured led to Doyle being the king of the dink and dunk passes. Jack caught 80 of his 108 passes for 690 yards and four TDs. He had an exceptional catch rate (74.1), which was lower than his success in 2016 (79.7). In his career, Doyle gains only 8.6 yards per catch with only 11 catches for 20 yards or more.

In 2016 and 2017, Indy completed 207 passes for 2,157 yards and 17 TDs on 289 targets to the TE position with the higher level of success coming with Luck behind center in 2016 (109/1287/12).

Excellent opportunity to provide steady catches from week-to-week in PPR leagues even with Eric Ebron added to the roster. I'll set the bar at 70 catches for 600 yards and five TDs, which will give him a chance at a top TE season.


Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons

After failing to make an impact in his first two years (19/271/3 and 49/526/3) in the NFL, Hooper became Fantasy relevant in 2018. He caught 71 of his 88 targets for 660 yards and four TDs placing him 6th in TE scoring. His catch rate (80.&) was elite with success as well in 2017 (75.4). His next step is adding more yards per catch (9.3). Last year he failed to gain over 80 yards in any game with his best success coming in three games (9/77, 9/71/1, and 10/56/1) while failing to receiver over five targets in ten other games. The Falcons completed 85 passes for 799 yards and five TDs on 104 targets in 2018. Backend TE1 with a chance at further growth in production. Next step: 75+ balls for 750+ yards and a handful of TDs.
 


Draft Kit goes live on July 8th but the Promo Codes expire at midnight of July 7th 


Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals

Injuries crushed Eifert again in 2018. Over the first four games of the season, he caught 15 balls for 179 yards and one TD on 19 targets with his best success coming in Week 3 (6/74). His downfall last year was a broken right ankle. Tyler played only 14 games over the previous three years, which led to 48 catches for 619 yards and six TDs on 71 targets. Eifert was a fun ride in 2015 (52/615/13 on 74 targets) when he appears to be on the rise. He'll enter the season at age 29 leaving Fantasy owners with a big guess of his value and upside.

If healthy, Tyler will be the top TE on the roster while adding more dynamics to the passing game, especially in the red zone. TE2 flier if the summer training reports remain positive.
 

Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

Based on name value, Witten will draw some Fantasy interest in 2019. At age 37 with a year removed from football, his bar will be lowered tremendously in 2019. Dallas projects him as a part-time player this year, which they stated when they resigned him in February. Ideally, they would like to use him on about 45 percent of their plays. I expect him to be on the field on passing downs where he'll continue to be a dump off option. Jason has never caught fewer than 63 passes in his career. I'm going to set his bar at about three catches per game for 450 yards with less than five TDs.
 

Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers

In a semi-starting role, McDonald set career highs in catches (50), receiving yards (610), and targets (72) while scoring four TDs. Last year both Vance and Jesse James were on the field for 564 snaps each. Pittsburgh completed 86 passes for 1,119 yards and six TDs on 117 targets. McDonald has never played a full season in his six years in the NFL. I don't believe A + B = C here, but Vance will surely get a bump in chances if he stays healthy. I'd priced in some missed playing time while understanding a 60/700/5 season is within reach. Just be sure not to overpay for his risk on draft day.


Luke Wilson, Oakland Raiders

Over six years in the NFL, Willson has never been a starting TE. Luke caught 22 passes or less in each year with his best success coming in 2014 (22/362/3 on 40 targets. Last year Oakland had a top passing catching TE, which led to 92 catches for 1,113 yards and ten TDs on 131 targets. There is a massive void at TE for the Raiders in 2019, and Willson has no chance of making an impact even as a low-grade TE2.


Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona Cardinals

In his second year in the NFL, Seal-Jones caught fewer than 50 percent of his targets (69). He finished with 34 catches for 343 yards and one TD.

Ricky is only a flier with a chance to win the starting job. I don't expect an impact year in 2019.
 

Other Contract-Year Tight Ends:

Xavier Grimble

Blake Bell

Nick Vannett

Tyler Higbee

Rico Gathers

Blake Jarwin

Charles Clay

Vernon Davis

Benjamin Watson

Austin Seferian-Jenkins

 

 


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