Best Case Scenario: Trendy Tight End Sleepers and Sim Scores


We’ve spent all offseason trying to figure out what the hell to do after Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez and Vernon Davis go off the board. Take a look at the Expert Consensus Ranks on FantasyPros and you will see that there is no uniformity amongst rankers. With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to pursue Sim Scores for the absolute best case scenario for several of the fantasy football communities favorite tight sleepers.

Jordan Cameron

Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 2.1 3.2 3.9
Median 3.4 4.5 5.5
High 4.8 6.3 7.8

After fiddling around for 15 minutes, this is the best projection that I could get while still including multiple games. There isn’t a lot of historical precedent for Cameron’s comps to be total fantasy studs, but some plausible upside exists. There are 5 players with greater than 7 targets per game in Cameron’s comps under this data set, and that’s about the best you can hope for. Cameron is a player that I had been targeting heavily in redraft up until this point, and this gives me a little pause, but it’s likely that given his cost I will still continue to select Cameron late.

Rob Housler

Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 4.5 6 7.7
Median 6.3 8.3 10.2
High 7.7 10.3 12.6

Unlike Cameron, I didn’t have to fidget that much with Housler’s scores to create a tight end that I want to own. Housler is an intriguing player for a couple of reasons. Historically, Bruce Arians has not utilized tight ends as receivers, even those who are obviously talented (Heath Miller‘s late career breakout after Arians left can be seen as evidence), but all throughout OTA’s and training camp, Arians and Arizona Cardinals beat writers have been talking Housler up the entire time. Perhaps most confusing is Arians’ insistence that he viewed Housler as a wide receiver coming out of college. This sim score projection makes me view Housler favorably, but then I remember how bad the Cardinals’ offensive line is and that Housler will be relying on Carson Palmer for fantasy value. As a late round flier, it doesn’t get higher-ceiling than Housler, but the floor is pretty low as well. Luckily, you can just cut your losses and move on at his current price.

Kyle Rudolph

Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 5.6 7.6 9.4
Median 6.7 8.6 10.7
High 8.4 10.7 13.1

This one surprised me more than not finding anything rosy for Cameron. Rudolph essentially had a Baby Gronk season in 2012, and our own Jacob Myers argued that there isn’t much upside priced into Rudolph’s 7th round ADP. However, his upside scores are the highest out of this group, and I can see Rudolph sucking up some of the 9.6 targets per game that used to Harvin in the middle of the field. Most likely, however, Rudolph won’t reach any sort of ceiling without having an all-time great redzone season.

Jared Cook

Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 4.5 6 7.5
Median 6.3 8.1 9.9
High 7.9 10.1 12.2

Count me out. Consider that the Rams coaching staff has already came out and stated that no particular player is expected to catch more than 60 or 70 passes, and that Cook has a complete track record of unpredictable production. Even after messing with the games included to get the highest possible upside score, Cook doesn’t even score out as well as Kyle Rudolph, a player that I was already avoiding.

Coby Fleener & Dwayne Allen

Fleener Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 3.7 4.5 5.4
Median 5.8 7.4 9
High 6.6 8.5 10.5
Allen Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 3.3 4.5 5.8
Median 4.7 6 7.1
High 6.8 8.5 10.1

Unless the Colts go 2011 Patriots on us, the 2 players are going to have a negative relationship with the other’s fantasy value. Fleener will likely be heavily used between the 20’s in new coordinators Pep Hamilton system (something I discovered myself when researching Pep Hamilton’s West Coast system), with Allen getting more of the redzone looks. Just as Allen was startable in deeper leagues with Fleener injured last year, I expect the same trend to continue. Both may end up with 60 catches in the new system, but counting on either of them week in and week out is going to be a headache. However, if they end up on your leagues waiver wire, from week to week, they will both be nice streaming options.

James Casey

Standard Half PPR PPR
Low 3.3 4.5 5.8
Median 4.7 6 7.1
High 6.8 8.5 10.1

Whoa! What is an H-back doing on this list? Well, ever since Jeremy Maclin shredded his knee, the larger fantasy football community has been trying to figure out what Chip Kelly is going to do to fill the target void. Of all the possible options on the roster, Casey is easily the most diverse. He can play in the slot, backfield or at either inline tight end spot. When I did his Sim Score table, I used only games where he was used like a wide receiver (3 or more targets) and found that as  weekly fill-in option, you could probably do alot worse. If Kelly ends up using Casey in a offensive weapon-role, these projections may even be a bit low.

Davis Mattek

Davis Mattek is a 21 year old English Major at Kansas State University. He can be found most days writing about fantasy sports for , FantasyInsiders, RotoAcademy and Rotoviz.
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