- 49ers tight end Vernon Davis has begun a hold out. However, his age and salary don’t make it likely that he’ll get a new contract. His dynasty value is in tact.
- The most logical player to replace him was Vance McDonald but he is struggling to hold on to the ball this off-season. McDonald has a golden opportunity but is blowing it.
- Dolphins running back Lamar Miller is still running ahead of Knowshon Moreno in OTA’s. Miller had the better dynasty value anyway but it’s even better for his immediate value.
- Be careful if you’re in the market for a running back in rookie drafts. Titans running back Bishop Sankey is viewed as a change of pace back by many.
- The Texans will roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback to open the year which means Arian Foster’s value will improve.
Click here for complete dynasty tight end rankings.
- The top four is a consensus with Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Julius Thomas, and Jordan Cameron.
- Big risers this month include rookie Colt Lyerla, who doesn’t have much competition in Green Bay; Adrian Robinson who is the de facto starter for the Giants now; and rookie C.J. Fiedorowicz in Houston where new coach Bill O’ Brien loves to run with two tight ends.
- The drops this month include two second year, Rice University products in Luke Willson of Seattle and Vance McDonald of San Francisco. Neither have progressed past second string in their respective offenses but still have some potential if they get opportunities.
- The Bucs have all but anointed rookie Charles Sims as their third down back, taking some of the load off Doug Martin. Martin will still be a RB1 but probably isn’t in the top-tier as many thought he could be.
- Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce isn’t participating in OTA’s and there’s currently no timetable for his return. Kelce could be a break out candidate if he ever sees the field. He’s still a buy for me.
- With the news of Vernon Davis holding out, at least initially, it should get more work in for second year tight end Vance McDonald. McDonald will be able to show what he has which could lead to more playing time.
- Eagles running back Darren Sproles should get 6-8 touches per game in the up-tempo Philadelphia offense. However, Sproles will be 31 and there’s a lot of touches to go around. His dynasty value is extremely low.
- Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is still learning the new offense in Houston. New coach Bill O’ Brien will probably utitlize the team’s strength which is in the running game. We don’t expect a big leap from Hopkins unless Andre Johnson is shipped out.
- Initial thoughts had Anthony Hitchens being first up to replace Dallas linebacker Sean Lee in the middle but now it could be second-year linebacker DeVonte Holloman. It’s a fluid situation and definitely one to monitor.
- Top six remains the same with Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron, Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed at the top.
- Big risers this update include Vance McDonald of the 49ers. Vernon Davis is now 30 years old and McDonald is the current candidate to replace him; same goes for McDonald’s Rice teammate Luke Willson in Seattle, playing behind now-28-year-old Zach Miller; the last big riser is Atlanta’s Levine Toilolo. With Tony Gonzalez’ retirement (almost) official, Toilolo steps in as the starter in a high-powered offense.
- The big drops this update include the previously mentioned Miller; the Eagles Brent Celek, 29, who will be giving more snaps to Zach Ertz; the other big drop includes Jacksonville’s Marcedes Lewis, who could be a decent buy-low candidate if Jacksonville draft’s a quarterback in May.
- The new entries to the rankings include Houston’s Ryan Griffin, who immediately looks appealing thanks to Owen Daniels’ release; and the Giants Adrien Robinson who is currently the starter in New York thanks to Brandon Myers signing in Tampa.
- San Francisco finally went back to Frank Gore and, lo and behold, it worked! He went off for 153 yards. It’s hard to see Gore not being around to see his contract through 2014. Marcus Lattimore dynasty owners might have to wait.
- Vernon Davis didn’t have a spectacular night but still caught a touchdown. It continues to boggle the mind that the 49ers don’t utilize him more in the passing game. It also doesn’t bode well for the chances of young tight ends Vance McDonald and Chris Harper to be productive under the current regime.
- Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is going to pass the ball. A lot. He had 41 attempts last night with four receivers getting eight targets or more. Now, if they could just catch them…
- On the flip side, the Rams will NOT be running the ball this year. See our report in the daily dynasty update.
- 49ers linebacker Michael Wilhoite stepped in for Patrick Willis last night and had seven tackles. With the 49ers ability to pick up linebackers and develop them into IDP studs, keep an eye on Wilhoite.
Training camp is kicking into high gear. Let’s see what we got:
- Of course, the season-ending injuries to Jeremy Maclin and Dennis Pitta were the big stories. We looked at what they mean, fantasy-wise, here.
- Vance McDonald looks to get a good look in the pre-season to determine what his role will be early on. We looked at McDonald’s long-term prospects here. With a good, young offense and the mentoring of one of the best, the situation is ideal for McDonald to become an asset in dynasty leagues.
- Kevin Kolb got more first-string snaps early on but E.J. Manual had his share. He’ll be given every opportunity to win the job so draft accordingly.
- Jake Locker looked shaky in the beginning of camp but has picked it up. With a finite supply of starting quarterbacks, this is good news for those forced to roll with Locker as a backup.
- Zach Ertz is also off to a good start. While, at first glance, it didn’t look like there’d be a place for Ertz, his receiving ability is too good to ignore. And with the same finite options as quarterback, drafting a quality tight end with promise is crucial. Ertz is a full-go in dynasty leagues.
Remember, if you’re able to read this, it’s the best day ever.
While updating the latest tight end rankings, there were several rookies that stood out. If you’re in a dynasty league, adding unknown rookies at the end of your draft can result in the next Dennis Pitta. And while such rookies as Tyler Eifert, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz and Jordan Reed have already popped up on dynasty rankings, there’s several others that haven’t. Let’s take a look at a few that you may want to become familiar with before your dynasty draft.
- Dion Sims (MIA) – At 6′ 5″ and 262 pounds, Sims has the prototypical build of a successful tight end. Brought it primarily as a blocker and backup to newly-signed Dustin Keller, Sims has nonetheless seen a lot of the field in OTA’s. Keller only played in eight games last year due to injuries so if history repeats itself, look for Sims to play even more snaps. Long-term, if Sims can evolve as a pass catcher, he can ride the wave that Ryan Tannehill and Mike Wallace are creating.
- Vance McDonald (SF) – While carrying the same size as Sims (6′ 4″ / 267), McDonald actually has the opposite profile heading into his NFL career in that he was primarily a receiving tight end and rarely lined up in the three-point stance. Drafted in the 2nd round to take Delanie Walker’s role in the offense, he’s impressed the coaches and the quarterbacks so far with his catching ability. Of course, teams have yet to start making contact and the 49ers have yet to determine if McDonald can fulfill his primary duty of blocking so they can free up Vernon Davis. McDonald has entered into an ideal dynasty fantasy situation with a young franchise quarterback, a great team foundation that should be good for years to come and a tight end playing in front of him who will turn 30 next year with an expiring contract not long after.
- Chris Gragg (BUF) – While Gragg is a tad shorter than either Sims or McDonald (6′ 3″), he was, without a doubt, the fastest of the bunch coming out of the draft after clocking a 4.5 40-time. Thanks to Scott Chandler still recovering from his ACL tear suffered at the end of last season, Gragg has been taking the first team snaps in OTA’s. Already, Coach Doug Marrone has mentioned using him vertically to create matchup problems with his combination of size and speed. I believe Gragg will have the earliest opportunity of these sleepers to contribute early. His dynasty prospects are even better as he’s playing behind Chandler, who not only turns 28 this year but has an expiring contract as well.
- Luke Willson (SEA) – Perhaps the most physically impressive sleeper of the bunch, Willson stands at 6′ 5″ and 251 pounds with a 4.51 40-time. He’s also the biggest question mark after making only 78 catches in his entire collegiate career at Rice. Additionally, he spent his senior season missing six games to injury while backing up Vance McDonald (see above). But with incumbent Zach Miller coming off a torn plantar fascia in the playoffs and previously thought second stringer Anthony McCoy tearing his Achilles not long ago, the door is wide open for Willson to make an impression. In fact, he already has at rookie minicamp in May. Willson was able to get behind the defense, make tough catches, and find the end zone. Willson’s performance in training camp will be the sole factor in just how much he contributes early. For dynasty, he’ll have to outperform no less than three candidates for the starting job. But with no clear-cut leader, that may not be difficult.