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Fantasy Football History: Why you shouldn’t expect another Sam LaPorta season from Brock Bowers, 2024 class of tight ends


The NFL Draft has only been fresh in our minds for a few weeks, so I thought it was a good time to dive into it Professional football reference And see how well they perform certain positions as starters in the fantasy era. The series begins with tight ends, and will continue with other key positions in the coming weeks.

Sam Laporta Destroy Rules rookie tight end last season. We were all witnesses. He had 86 catches, 889 yards, 10 touchdowns, and even a pair of two-point conversions. It earned him a TE1 tag and second-team All-Pro honors.

It was the best rookie season for a TE ever, and easily the best starting tight end in the fantasy era. It is foolish to chase that going forward. Unicorn seasons rarely repeat.

I decided to look into how early selections influenced the fantasy era, loosely defining that era as 2000 to today. Obviously the game is constantly evolving, and I would understand if someone preferred a shorter sample of data.

Let’s see what the draft trends show for starters in this difficult position.

-Five tight ends were drafted with top-10 picks during this span. Kyle Pitts He had a rollercoaster rookie year, with 1,026 yards but just one touchdown. He received a score of TE10 in the standard. He’s been TE33 and TE13 ever since. No one will miss Arthur Smith in Atlanta.

— Kellen Winslow II was the sixth pick in 2004, and he was injured. He played in only two matches.

Vernon Davis He was decorated in all sorts of ways as the No. 6 overall pick out of Maryland in 2006. He missed six games as a starter and didn’t do much in the time he was healthy (20-265-3). Davis eventually became a good player, scoring four times at TE8 or better (and was the No. 1 TE in 2009). He also inspired Classic Mike Singletary rant.

TJ Hawkinson (8th pick, 2019) is part of Iowa’s tight end legacy. His first year was disappointing: 32-367-2. He missed four matches.

Eric Ebron (10th pick, 2014) He never met a pass he didn’t want to drop. He gave Lions a modest 13 games in his first year (25-248-1).

It’s no wonder the fantasy spirit became “ignoring rookie tight ends” during this period.

There are a few spin-offs if we look at the other tight ends in the first round (there were 27 picks in total). Evan Ingram‘s 2017 debut is the best among first-round rookies in target territory: 64-722-6 over 15 games. He surpasses Betts in scoring record. Betts has a slight lead in PPR. Engram was TE5 that year. He was a TE6 his last two seasons, reinventing himself with the Jaguars.

Touchdown Deodorant (six shades each) Convince the TE11 season of Heath Miller And OJ Howard’s TE17 season. Jeremy Shockey and Dalton Kincaid Both exceeded 70 receptions. Noah Fant and Dustin Keller were the only two tight ends in the first round to surpass 500 receiving yards.

The second round draft opens the door to some exciting seasons. Laporta, of course, was the No. 34 pick in the 2023 draft. Rob Gronkowski He had 10 touchdowns as a rookie. Pat Freiermuth He had seven. John Carlson checked in with a solid 50-627-5 season.

The later rounds include plenty of players who went on to become stars, even though most of their debut seasons were tame. Aaron Hernandez had six touchdowns as a rookie. Mark AndrewsChris Cooley, Jimmy GrahamGeorge Kittle and Jordan Reed showed future potential.

I suppose we should also mention Captain Asterisk, Marquis Colston. The Saints took him in the seventh round of the 2006 draft, the 252nd pick overall. His 70-1,038-8 season was a monster, and was especially enjoyable in Yahoo formats where he was a finalist. If you list Colston as a wide receiver, he enjoyed a WR14 season. If you can move Colston to tight end, you will have the highest-graded player at that position. Not bad for someone who was largely undrafted in fantasy leagues.

The 2024 rookie class at tight end is ready to disappoint us.

Brooke Powers He comes into the league with sparkling scraps of Georgia, but landed on a Vegas team that has few quarterbacks, a player who devours touchdowns wideout inside the house (Davante Adams), and a solid tight end is already included (Michael Mayer). Bowers is a modest TE16 in early Yahoo ADPWhich seems fair to me. Talent is great, but fitness is not.

Other tight ends look like slow-developing prospects. maybe Ben Sinnott (Pick 53) will eventually gain some traction in Washington. Ja’Tavion Sanders (Pick 101) heads to a Carolina roster in desperate need of pass catchers.

I was willing to preemptively pick Bowers if he landed almost anywhere but Las Vegas. Now, he’s basically not on my plate. Rookie life is generally tough at first-year tight end — it’s a complex position that often requires gradual rehabilitation — and the Raiders have receiving options that take precedence. And no one comes out Gardner Minshew Or Aidan O’Connell as a kingmaker.

I understand that “all gone” is not a satisfactory result. But as we continue this series of polls, we will find more optimism in some other situations.



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