Often time’s fantasy owners select rookies hoping for big payouts on high risk/high reward type players. Last year Eric Ebron was one of those players. After being selected 10th overall by the Detroit Lions in the NFL draft fantasy owners had visions of Rob Gronkowski like numbers in his rookie campaign, despite the fact that rookie tight ends tend to struggle.
Alas, Ebron fell flat on his face in his rookie year, struggling to keep a starting job over Brandon Pettigrew and only amassing 248 yards and one touchdown on a mere 25 receptions. While fantasy owners in redraft leagues are apt to move on to another tight end option after being burned by Ebron’s lack of production in 2014, dynasty owners aren’t always so lucky.
Ebron’s value is too deflated to get any real trade value out of him (he is currently the 21st TE based off of ESPN’s average draft position in redraft leagues), but he still has the potential to succeed in 2015. He is on one of the heaviest passing offenses in the league, and despite his struggles in 2014 he still has a good chance to start in 2015.
Yes, Brandon Pettigrew is still on the team, but at 30 years old he is far from his “glory” days. With a full offseason behind him, I foresee Ebron taking over the starting spot with ease. If one thing is clear when looking at the history of tight ends, even if they struggle in their rookie campaigns, they tend to have breakout sophomore years.
Jason Witten, Rob Gronkowski, Julius Thomas, Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates all struggled in their rookie seasons before having breakout sophomore years.
Witten, Thomas, Graham and Gates all failed to top 400 yards their rookie seasons, and only Graham had more than two touchdowns. While Gronkowski did manage over 500 yards and 10 touchdowns his rookie year, it couldn’t compare to his sophomore year in which he had over 1,300 yards and 17 touchdowns.
All this just goes to show how hard the transition from college to the pros is for tight ends. Ebron still has the skill set that scouts raved about at the beginning of last season. Look for him to capitalize on it in 2015. Expect 850 yards and 7 touchdowns, which with the lack of talented tight ends in the league right now, vaults him into top five consideration.
If you are in preparing for a redraft league, his ADP on ESPN is just over 140, which means you can take a risk on him while only giving up a little. In dynasty leagues if you have him you should keep him, and if you don’t you should try and make a move for him. If the price is right you could come away with a top tier tight end.
Cover Photo Source- Eric Ebron
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