Fantasy Football: 2016 tight end sleepers and busts

Fantasy Football: 2016 tight end sleepers and busts

A few years ago it was Gronk and Jimmy Graham. Now it's Gronk and ... well, nobody.

The Patriots All-Pro tight end is in a class of his own at the tight end position.

However, that second tier is stacked with more than serviceable players at the position, including Jordan Reed, Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen and Coby Fleener.

Snagging one of those five will be difficult if your draft strategy doesn't include taking a tight end before Round 6.

Don't panic if you can't land a top tight end though. The CSN Fantasy crew offers up some input on who to target, which sleepers to keep an eye on and who to stay away from for the 2016 season.

For specific draft questions, drop us a line on Twitter @CSNFantasy or use #CSNFantasy and we'll give you our take.

Top Targets

Coby Fleener, NO: A chance of scenery was needed for Fleener. After four years of subpar play and sharing targets with Dwayne Allen in Indianapolis, the former second-round draft pick signed a lucrative deal with New Orleans this past offseason. Gifted with tantalizing talent from purely a receiving standpoint, Fleener appears poised for a breakout season with Drew Brees now slinging him the rock. Past history shows a chance of bust potential, but I believe Fleener is well worth his 7th round ADP. — Scott Krinch

Travis Kelce, KC: C'mon, did you really expect anything less?? Kelce's my boy and I'm still all-in on this physical freak. Kelce caught 72 balls last year on 100 targets and his 875 yards were a nice addition from a tight end. The only knock on him is his lack of tuddies, with only five last season (and only three after Week 1). If Kelce finds the endzone just a couple more times, he could easily be the top tight end not named Rob Gronkowski and yet Kelce is going in the sixth round and later in drafts. — Tony Andracki

​[RELATED: 2016 Fantasy Football quarterback sleepers and busts]


Martellus Bennett, NE: Remember when Bennett was considered just outside the Top 5 fantasy tight ends? Going into this season, he's on the outside looking in, and even going undrafted in some leagues. I get that he has to share targets with Gronk, but the Patriots have proven they can make it work (Aaron Hernandez, Timothy Wright, Scott Chandler) with two-tight end sets. Don't be surprised if Bennett returns Top 10 value at his position when all is said and done this season. — SK

Clive Walford, OAK: Walford is in his second year in an ascending offense and the young tight end looks on track to become Derek Carr's third option behind Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. In the final five games of 2015, Carr looked Walford's way 26 times, turning it into 15 receptions for 178 yards. Those are still modest numbers, but it illustrates Walford's emerging role in the offense. A breakout is coming and all signs point to this season for Walford and Carr. — TA

​[RELATED: 2016 Fantasy Football wide receiver sleepers and busts]


Antonio Gates, SD: Gates is a surefire Hall of Famer, but "Father Time" is finally starting to catch up with him. Yeah, 56 receptions for 630 yards and five touchdowns is nothing to scoff at, but the 36-year-old started to show major signs of decline last season. For being the 10th tight end off the boards in the majority of fantasy leagues, Gates draft position scares the hell out of me. Plus, San Diego's second-round draft pick Hunter Henry should be ready to contribute immediately which will diminish Gates' targets. — SK

Delanie Walker, TEN: Having a career season at age 31 isn't so much what gets me here, but more so the fact that he was never worth owning in fantasy prior to his age 30 breakout season. Walker is an aging tight end and even though he's had back-to-back good years, the Titans have other, younger receiving options and have stated many times they are going to be pounding the rock on the ground with Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray. It wouldn't take much of a regression for Walker to wind up outside the Top 10 among fantasy TEs. — TA

Bears’ Danny Trevathan considered opting out, explains why he didn’t

Bears’ Danny Trevathan considered opting out, explains why he didn’t

The Bears lost an enormous piece of their defense when nose tackle Eddie Goldman opted out of the 2020 season because of coronavirus concerns, but the defensive void could have been even bigger.

Linebacker Danny Trevathan, perhaps the biggest leader on Chuck Pagano’s defense, admitted Friday that he considered opting out.

“I definitely took some hard thought about the whole situation,” Trevathan said. “I had to see it first-hand, so I came in and I feel like they did a pretty good job handling the situation.”

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It’s too easy to forget that these athletes have lives off the field, and in Trevathan’s case, he had some important family matters to consider. Both his fiancé and kids have asthma.

“My fiancé? That’s like my backbone. So when corona happened, she has chronic asthma and allergies that are crazy. So I really thought about her and all the sacrifices she made,” Trevathan said. “I think she deserves all the credit in the world. And my kids? Um, that definitely comes first to me.”

Considering the damage COVID-19 can do to lungs, especially those with underlying health conditions, Trevathan’s decision could not have been easy. And no one would have blamed him if he chose to sat out.

Ultimately, Trevathan decided to come into Halas Hall to judge the safety of the building for himself. Essentially, he had five days at the facility before the opt-out deadline passed on Thursday. In the end, he committed to playing the season.

“This thing is so wild,” he said. “It’s the first year I’ve ever seen something like this, anybody’s seen something like this, so it definitely made me nervous a little bit. But I feel like I made the right decision.”

And he’s certainly not holding anything against Goldman for sitting out, even though as a linebacker who plays behind the big nose tackle, Trevathan might be impacted the most.

“I kind of chatted with him this offseason a little bit. So I kind of sensed it,” Trevathan said. “I definitely support his decision.”

In addition to losing Goldman, the Bears also saw reserve safety Jordan Lucas opt out of the season. But now that the deadline has passed, Trevathan is all-in, back to talking about Super Bowls again.

“I feel like we're so close right now and to do that would add to that legacy," he said.



Bears defense among top five in NFL entering 2020 season

Bears defense among top five in NFL entering 2020 season

When a team's defense features stars like Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, and Akiem Hicks, it'd be foolish to suggest it won't be one of the top units in the NFL.

That's why The Athletic got it right in their recent ranking of all 32 defenses entering the 2020 season. The Chicago Bears check-in at No. 5.

5. Chicago Bears
Last year: 8th

They have the potential to produce the best pass-rushing defensive line in the league. The combination of Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn on the edge will be as tough to block as any in the NFL. And Akiem Hicks (missed 11 games last season) is one of the league’s most disruptive interior linemen. On the back end, the Bears need second-round pick Jaylon Johnson (or someone else on the roster) to be a competent number two corner opposite Kyle Fuller. They have Pro Bowl safety Eddie Jackson, and Tashaun Gipson could prove to be an upgrade over Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. A couple things need to fall their way, but this group has a high ceiling.

Having a high ceiling is putting it lightly. The Bears have a chance to regain their standing as the most feared defense in the NFL, especially if players like Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan play a full 16 games. Remember: Smith and Trevathan have the potential to be the best inside linebacker duo in the NFL. We had a taste of their upside in 2018, Smith's rookie season, but 2019 was a year to forget. Smith missed four games while Trevathan missed seven. 

As for the rest of the NFC North, the Vikings rank 11th, the Packers are 13th and the Lions checked-in at 28th.

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