The struggle is real. Just as actual clubs scour endlessly for the increasingly rare two-way tight end in today’s NFL, many fantasy players covet a difference-maker that won’t cost them a premium pick (Travis Kelce), sleepless nights (Tyler Eifert) or both (Gronk, Reed).
The good news is the TE1 class, though not turned over as frequently as RB1s and WR1s, has seen an average of four newcomers annually since 2007 and at least three have made their debuts in the top 12 of positional scoring in nine of the past 10 years.
The bad news: unlike Jordan Reed, Cameron Brate and Hunter Henry were fantasy mostly fantasy afterthoughts at this time last year. Two seasons ago it was similarly unpredictable that Gary Barnidge and Benjamin Watson would go from journeymen to just grown ass men in the fantasy world (spoiler: it didn’t last).
The following are our top 7 candidates to enter the TE1-sphere for the first time in 2017, ranked from most to least likely.
1. Jack Doyle, Colts — His ranking is accompanied by the same caveat as Donte Moncrief’s in our WR piece: Doyle obviously needs Luck on his side to reach his ceiling, but Moncrief’s durability issues have also helped Doyle’s fantasy production; 3 of his 5 TDs and highest yardage totals came last season with Moncrief sidelined. Doyle’s new deal, which preceded Dwayne Allen’s trade to New England, suggests the Colts eye an expanded role after he was TE13 overall despite making just two starts and playing roughly 67 percent of the time on offense.
2. Dwayne Allen, Patriots — Allen could be poised to…
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