Fantasy Football Sleepers Part Two: Tight Ends

Nick AllenCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2009

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 16: Wide receiver Visanthe Shiancoe #81 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up for play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 16, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

If any of you read Part One, you noticed at the end of the article I said that RBs would be next. Well guess what? I lied.

First off, before writing this article, I think I should define the term sleeper. I have a few definitions that I would use. I would define a sleeper as an undrafted player that obtains unexpected success, or a player that is drafted in the later rounds of a fantasy draft and outperforms his draft position significantly.

The key to winning your fantasy league is finding several of these sleepers late in your draft. I have constructed a list of a couple tight end sleepers for the upcoming fantasy football season that will help you in your search for one of those gems.

When drafting I usually find myself waiting on a tight end, there is a lot of talented tight ends outside of the first few tiers. Some of these guys go very late, or even undrafted.

I don't classify rookies as sleepers anymore. It seems like every draft I am in people just go rookie crazy. That being said, this list will not include rookies.


Visante Shiancoe

If you've already drafted and settled for Shiancoe as your tight end you've made a great pick. With the recent signing of Brett Favre, Shiancoe's fantasy value skyrockets.

Even without Favre, Shiancoe was a solid tight end last year. He caught 42 passes for 596 yards and seven touchdowns. Oh, and he did it all with QBs such as Gus Frerotte and Tarvaris Jackson. Even with those QBs he set personal records in receptions, yards, touchdowns, and targets.

Shiancoe is still on the waiver wire in around 60 percent of ESPN Fantasy Football leagues, and his current ADP is 147.


Martellus Bennett

Call this a homer pick, but I really like Martellus Bennett this year. The Cowboys are set to use a two tight end set as their base offense, this obviously boosts Bennett's fantasy value.

As a rookie last year Bennett caught 20 passes for 283 yards and four touchdowns in limited action last year. In a two-tight end set I can easily see him doubling those numbers from last year with T.O. out of town.

Right now, I will say he's worth a draft pick in deeper 14-, 16-, or even 20-team leagues. I can see him being a top-15 tight end by year's end.

At 6'6", 256 pounds, Bennett could prove to be a good red zone threat. Bennett is only owned in 4.2 percent of ESPN Fantasy Football leagues, and is going undrafted in most.


Jeremy Shockey

I fully expect Shockey to rebound after a horrible fantasy season last year, and he should be a nice late-round value pick. In every mock draft I have participated in recently, I have noticed he is quite undervalued.

He has looked really good thus far in the preseason. In the Saints' opener he caught three passes for 61 yards and a touchdown. The good news is that his touchdown came off a 22-yard pass from Drew Brees, something the duo wasn't able to do last season.

With both Marques Colston and Lance Moore coming off surgery, Shockey has been getting more looks in practice and building up his chemistry with Brees. I would expect around 60 catches, 600 yards, and five touchdowns from Shockey this season in a pass-happy, Drew Brees-led offense.

Shockey is available in around 30 percent of ESPN Fantasy Football league.


Brent Celek

Celek was solid last season with the Eagles. But now that L.J. Smith is gone and rookie Cornelius Ingram is out for the season, Celek really has no competition for the starting gig.

He is a consistent fantasy option, and goes undrafted in around 83 percent of ESPN leagues. In the 10 games he was a starter last season (including playoffs) he caught 38 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns.

For now he could be a nice waiver wire pickup as your No. 2 tight end. But he does have huge sleeper potential.

That's it for the tight ends. Next up: RBs (I hope).

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