Friday, June 26, 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Tight Ends for Fantasy College Football

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Best5Zach's Best 5 QBs for 2015

Best5Zach's Best 5 Fantasy Receivers for 2015

Finding productive tight ends is....difficult. Unlike the NFL where there are fully 10 top TEs that everyone knows about, there may be only 10 TEs in all of college football with real fantasy value. And, there is a disturning trend that makes TEs a tough pick. Usually top TEs are found on bottome wrung offenses because the TE is the check down guy. So, I am always wary on picking a guy who finished the previous year on top. I'd rather have someone on a respectable offense who didn't produce the huge numbers the year before rather than a guy who may flake out after a big season. So, let's cut right to it.

Jonnu Smith (FIU)-It's hard to argue with Lindy's who lists this guy as the #1 fantasy TE. I might argue that my next pick is the best, but let's go with it. Smith led all TE with 61 catches, 700 yards, and 8 TDs after a respectable 2013 season. His QB and most of the the offensive line are back. Most importantly, he is the only starting receiver to return. The 6'3" 230 pounder will become a security blanket for his sophomore QB. 

Allow me to play the devil's advocate and say why he wouldn't be MY first choice. FIU is ranked as the 120th offense in 2015. That's nearly dead-frickin-last. Sure, Jonnu got all the touches. But that is something that could be worrisome. Teams will know that he is the go-to guy for the Golden Panthers. But, then again, they knew that last year when he had 3 times as many catches as the very next leading receiver. The Panthers were terrible running the ball, though they broke it open late in the season, esp the last 5 games when Samuel ran for 400 yards. The ability for the Panthers to run the ball will open up the play-action pass, specifically up the seams for Smith. He may not be my number 1 pick, but he is a top 5. Play him the whole way through. 

Evan Engram(Ole Miss)-The kid sat out 3 games in 2014 but still put up nearly 40 catches for 650 yards and a pair of TDs. He averages a whopping 17 yards per catch. At 6-3 220, he moves extremely well and can play in the slot. He is a matchup nightmare against LBs. Though he didn't have as much production as I would have liked, as I paired him with Bo Wallace early, I was able to get a double up effect. He caught at least 1 pass in every game he played and was only held under 3 catches in 3 games. However, he didn't catch TDs. Why? Because when the Rebels were in the redzone, Bo Wallace ran it in. Well, Bo is gone and though Chad Kelly may be the next man up, he won't run it like Bo. The Rebels have no other run game to speak of, so when it is redzone time, it will be Engram time. I would't be surprised in the slightest if Engram goes for 10 TDs this year as defenses are spread out to defend Ole Miss' deep core of receivers.  With the amount of targets he gets each game and he YPC average, start him in all games.

Bucky Hodges(VT)-Two things I hate to admit: Lindy's has another one right. And Scott Loeffler may have one of the best offensive units in the ACC in 2015. But, I qualify that last with a big "MAY." Though they were midpack in every single category last year, this is the year that could be special. The offense returns 8 starters on offense. In that offense are running backs that could do work, if they can stay healthy. They couldn't last year and it forced Tech to be 1-dimensional....and it hurt them. Well, it didn't hurt Hodges fantasy value as he reeled in 45 catches for 525 yards and 7 TDs. He did this mostly by being a checkdown guy, averaging right at 11 YPC. Lindy's says to expect big things this year as the emergence of the run game, a solid line, and field stretching WRs could make work a little easier. Honestly, though, an extra year doesn't make an offensive line who was bad into a good unit. Nor does a few months make struggling and injured RBs top notch. I am actually going to bet they don't improve nearly that much and Hodges again becomes a check down guy and a redzone threat. Outside of the first game, they have a soft schedule, so moving between the 20s SHOULD be easy. Hopefully he will be the man inside the zone. 

However, I am wary of using a player who has the potential to play in a widely shifting offense from year to year. Hodges now has 70 receptions in 2 years and I expect 40 or so in 2015. 

Braxton Deaver (Duke)- In the last two years, Cutcliffe has managed to get Duke to two straight bowl games. While challenging for the ACC, specifically without Boone and Crowder, isn't going to happen, Cutcliffe is bound to have a decent offense. Braxton Deaver was ranked as the 7th best option in 2013, but tore his ACL and he missed all of the 2014 season. The senior was granted a 6th year of eligibility. A massive 6-5 240 mismatch is what you get for a guy who had at least 2 catches in each and every game in 2013. He caught 46 passes for 600 yards and 4 TDs while averaging a very nice 13 YPC. Cutcliffe is breaking in a new QB who has only been used as a running threat in the past. He has only one returning WR to throw to. With uncertainty in pushing the ball down the field with a new QB, a line that is being overhauled, and new WRs, you can expect Deaver to become a security blanket. Inside the redzone, he could be Duke's best weapon. The first few games will be easy contests before entering the ACC schedule. Regardless of who they play, defenses will have a tough time matching up with this guy. I look at the Miami game, specifically, as the Canes lost their best LB and are very shaky on D. 

Austin Hooper (Stanford)-Stanford really struggled last year and a lot of fantasy owners felt it. Stanford has produced some of the top fantasy TEs in the last few years thanks to the hard-nosed approached of Harbough and then Shaw. Last years offense was in the lower half of the country in every single offensive category. Between a struggling QB and the lack of a power runner, the offense just couldn't get rolling. However, Hogan is now a senior and looks to be much improved. He has a veteran line, though missing a top NFL pick that left early in Peat. WR Cajuste is back with his ability to stretch the field, though it remains to be seen if CAjuste can fil in for Montgomery. That will be great for Hooper, who will benefit from the Cardinal's lack of a run game...especially in the red zone. Hooper was the 16th best TE last year with 40 receptions and 500 yards. By mid-sesason, he was held to under 3 receptions in a game only once (and he had 2 with a TD). He has a solid 12.5 YPC average. The only thing that kept him from being a top 10 (or better) TE in 2014 was his lack of TDs, which he only had 2. But, an improved offensive unit in 2015 with a dip in the power run game will open up the redzone opportunities for the 6-5 250 TE.  

I didn't exactly label these 5 as who would be my top. But, from a risk perspective, Hooper from Stanford and Evans from Ole Miss are guys that I can circle and be reasonably certain will produce. 

Bonus Pick

Jaylen Samuels (NC STATE)-Listed as a TE, Samuels had 140 rushing yards and a TD in 2014 to go along with 6 receptions and another TD. He had at least 1 rush attempt in every single game as a freshman. 

This isn't a guy that I am telling you to draft. But, with a loaded offensive line, a great dual threat QB and not another skill positions penciled in except TE, this may be a guy that could become a multi-faceted weapon that could blow up in 2015 for the Wolfpack. With TE being a position that is a crap-shoot outside of the top 10 guys, this is a guy that could win you some weekly matchups. If Doeren continues to feed carries to Samuels, it gives him automatic value. Between the loaded line, the trust Doeren already had in this guy as a freshman, and the question marks at the other skill positions, he is worth a stash. 

Zach's Extra Special Get Him Now Guy

Josiah Price (MSU)- Lindy's has him listed at 12, but I have to think he is a Top 5...maybe even the top over-all TE. Starting in 2013, Price put up 17 catches and 4 TDs, despite not playing in 4 games. The same type trend happened in 2014 as he caught 26 balls for 375 yards and a more than respectable 6 TDs in 10 games. We see guys listed above that get tons of touches each game but can't find the redzone. This isn't Price's problem. If I extrapolate his stats to include playing the games he didn't play, he would have had 12 TDs on 43 receptions and 625 yards. That would have tied, almost exactly, the fantasy points of the leading TE, Junno Smith, with 180 total points. The Spartans are going to be one of the best teams in the country, overall, and will return a very very good offense that is reloading at each and every skill position. That's right. Price will be the only returning receiver. Another monster, Price comes in at 6-4 250 and is said to be as athletic as they come. Without a proven receiver or run game, Price will be the man. He is a must have, just watch the news and make sure he isn't getting sat....which seems to happen way to often. But, this is an NFL talent guy going into his Junior year and a chance to leave early for the NFL. He will act right. He will do his best to stay healthy. And, he will make the most of his chances.