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Tight Ends: A Recap of 2015 (Standard Leagues)

Heath recaps the 2015 tight end position and begins to look ahead to 2016.

It is still baseball season, so here's a picture of the best tight end in the game throwing a baseball.
It is still baseball season, so here's a picture of the best tight end in the game throwing a baseball.
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Last year at FakeTeams I provided weekly tight end rankings for standard leagues, and will do so again this season. Before that, however, here is a general recap of 2015, in chronological order. I went back and read through each of my write-ups for every week of 2015. Tomorrow (Thursday) I will be offering my first take on standard tight end rankings for 2016...so come back for that. Here goes the recap:

The Raiders allowed five touchdowns to tight ends over the first three weeks of 2015. Through the first four weeks of 2015, every tight end who faced the Raiders finished 4th or better in the rankings for that week.

During Week 5 Jordan Reed was in the NFL’s concussion protocol and everyone was firing up Chris Thompson as the cheap passing game play of the week. Hopefully Reed stays healthy this season, but in the unfortunate event that he goes down, maybe we’ll be calling Josh Doctson’s number this year. Only time will tell.

Through five weeks of 2015, the only tight end with a Top 12 finish in every week he played was Rob Gronkowski (1st, 2nd, 6th, 11th, and had one bye week).

The most consistent tight end not named Rob Gronkowski over the first five weeks was Tyler Eifert (4th, 4th, last, 12th, 2nd). Other than the bagel in Week 3, Eifert was money from the get-go in 2015.

Also through five weeks, Travis Kelce was his usual volatile self (3rd, 19th, 7th, 21st, 18th). Just like last year, you will have to endure the lows with Kelce whenever the running game is clicking for Kansas City.

Jimmy Graham’s finishes through the first five weeks of last season: 11th, 39th, 3rd, 20th, and 23rd. Ouch.

In Week 6 of last season, the Chiefs played their first game without Jamaal Charles (torn ACL) and lost to the Vikings. Travis Kelce only had seven targets and finished as the 13th-best tight end that week.

Through seven weeks of 2015, the New York Giants had allowed the most receptions to opposing tight ends.

Tyler Eifert had three touchdowns against the Browns in Week 8.

The Saints were so bad in Week Nine of last year that they allowed two tight ends from the same team to crack the week’s top ten scores. Ouch. Granted, that game went to overtime and Anthony Fasano caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Mariota to make it happen. But still. Delanie Walker added a pair of scores and seven catches for 95 yards. The Saints were just awful.

Through Week 9, the Raiders were still the best matchup in the league for tight ends.

In Week 10 I ranked Richard Rodgers as the TE9 due to his cheese matchup against the Lions, and he tallied 32 yards and a score to finish as the TE9. I say this not to illustrate my awesomeness but to illuminate the viability of streaming at the tight end position—especially when a guy is tied to a Hall-of-Fame quarterback and has a great matchup. I see you, Jared Cook.

Five of the top 12 scores in Week 11 came from tight ends who were less than ONE PERCENT owned in Yahoo! leagues. Let that sink in. Luminaries such as Vance McDonald, Cameron Brate, Lance Kendricks, Brent Celek, and Darren Fells paced the position. Again...streaming is viable if you don’t have an elite option.

Gronkowski sustained a right knee strain in Week 12, so Scott Chandler immediately entered the TE1 conversation. He delivered as a top 5 TE option in Week 13 against the Eagles. I see you, Martellus Bennett.

The Seattle Seahawks had allowed the 6th-most fantasy points to tight ends through 13 weeks of 2015. Now that is an area to exploit in your DFS matchups if the same trend continues. It makes sense, too—why throw at Richard Sherman?

In his first start back after the injury, Gronkowski finished as the #2 overall tight end. I started Ben Watson over him in one league, like the conservative dummy that I am. If your stud is playing...start your stud!

The Giants had allowed the 3rd most fantasy points to tight ends through 14 weeks of 2015.

I ranked Greg Olsen as my #1 tight end for championship week ahead of Rob Gronkowski. Olsen had a cheese matchup against the Falcons, while Gronk had a showdown against the Jets. Both players were away. Olsen was a colossal bust, as were the Panthers against Atlanta, who endured a 20-13 loss for their only "L" of the season. Olsen managed to lead the Panthers in receiving with only 4 catches for 40 yards. Gronkowski, meanwhile, also had 4 catches but turned that into 86 yards receiving against the stout Jets defense. Big lesson: JUST RANK GRONK #1 EVERY WEEK.

The only studs to crack the position’s top 12 in championship week were: Jordan Reed, Rob Gronkowski, Delanie Walker, and Travis Kelce. Streaming was again viable, as players like Vance McDonald (2nd), Michael Hoomanawanui (8th), Owen Daniels (9th), and Heath Miller (12th) all broke the top 12. Bench guys like Austin Seferian-Jenkins (3rd), Kyle Rudolph (4th), and Zach Miller (10th) showed up as well.

Jordan Reed was a massive fade if you played in a Week 17 championship, due the the crappiness of the Redskins division. The ‘Skins could not improve upon their playoff scenario. Yet another reason of why you don’t play a championship in the 17th week.

Finally, after my 17th week of standard tight end rankings last season, I noticed that my first fantasy baseball article was one where I told you that Mitch Moreland was for real. I hope you listened.