Rob Gronkowski, Jared Cook, and Lance Kendricks Emerging as Sleeper Tight Ends
As we get closer to the start of the NFL season, we’ll continue to provide you fantasy football advice. We’ve given you tips on a few different running backs and quarterbacks thus far, and now it’s time for a few sleeper tight ends to keep your eye on.
Rob Gronkowski is a player I’ve targeted in each one of my drafts. Gronk was one of the two tight ends the Patriots selected early in the draft last season and he had a dynamite rookie season. He caught 42 passes for 546 yards and an impressive 10 touchdowns. More importantly for fantasy purposes, most of his stats came in the second half of the year as he became more comfortable in the offense. 28 of his 42 catches and seven of his 10 touchdowns came in the second half.
Reports have said Gronkowski was dominant throughout training camp and unguardable in the red zone. Tom Brady will rely on Gronk and fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez as some of his best weapons in the passing game. Gronkowski’s yardage numbers might not be great, but if the guy gives you 12 or more touchdowns, you can’t go wrong.
Jared Cook is entering his third season in the NFL and could be headed for a mini-breakout. He’s caught eight balls for 100 yards in the preseason and he could become a safety valve for Matt Hasselbeck. One Titans beat writer predicts Cook will lead the team in receptions this year. Keep in mind that Hasselbeck tends to favor throwing to his tight ends. In 2009, seven of Hasselbeck’s 17 touchdowns went to tight end John Carlson. Tennessee’s offense may not light up the scoreboard, but Cook is worth a flier late in your draft.
Lance Kendricks is a name with which you’re likely unfamiliar. He’s a rookie second-round by the Rams pick out of Wisconsin and he seems to have formed an instant connection with Sam Bradford. Kendricks posted 11 catches for 155 yards and three touchdowns in the preseason. You read that correctly — Kendricks scored in three of the team’s four preseason games. Also keep in mind that seven of Bradford’s 18 touchdown passes last season went to tight ends. Plus, when he was at Oklahoma, he loved throwing to Jermaine Gresham. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing Lance Kendricks blowing up early in the season. The Rams will air it out, and Kendricks stands to benefit.
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