Understanding and projecting player value is a key factor in dynasty fantasy football. Keeping ahead of a player’s constantly fluctuating value, whether the shift is positive or negative, can promote rapid team improvement and success. Included below are the biggest risers and fallers in Dynasty Trade Value (DTV) over the 2017 NFL season at the tight end position. Additionally, it includes brief analysis on what prompted the changes in value, as well as some brief thoughts on what to expect from each tight end moving forward. Unless otherwise specified, all Dynasty Trade Values are based on a 12-team PPR league.
Zach Ertz entered the 2017 NFL season as the ninth most valued tight end with a DTV of 8.3 and ended the season as the third most valuable tight end with a DTV of 21.7. Ertz proved to be a favorite target of young quarterback Carson Wentz. In eleven games with Wentz, Ertz averaged 7.7 targets per game. In previous seasons, Ertz did not get the touchdowns that owners crave from the tight end position, but in 2017 he doubled his 2016 touchdown total, from four to eight. Three years in a row with more than 100 targets, 70 receptions, and 800 receiving yards, as well as a double-digit average in fantasy points, has Ertz sitting among the top tier of tight ends with Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce.
Evan Engram entered the 2017 NFL season as the eleventh most valued tight end with a DTV of 7.3 and ended the season as the fourth most valuable tight end with a DTV of 19.5. Engram showed his athletic receiving ability in the absence of other Giants weapons: Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard. The 2017 rookie tight end class came in with high expectations which resulted in O.J. Howard, David Njoku, and Engram often being drafted in the first round of rookie drafts, an uncommon round for tight ends to be drafted in. Engram’s workload and production helped leapfrog him over his peers, into the top rookie tight end rung, and one step closer to the top tier of all tight ends. An uncertain quarterback future in New York should not hinder Engram’s value and a repeat performance in his second year would lock him in the top tier for years to come.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins rose from the ashes in 2017. He started the season with almost no value due to his previous season in Tampa Bay where he never reached his potential due to substance abuse and poor work ethic. A change of scenery from the Buccaneers to the Jets, and committed focus on his career’s sustainability, resulted in fantasy owners catching glimpses of his potential. His output and performance faded down the stretch as the Jets quarterbacking struggled after the loss of Josh McCown to injury. ASJ has a long way to go to recover the value that we sought years ago, but 2017 was a step in the right direction. Free agency could result in a team change, but even if he does stay with the Jets they could change quarterbacks and Seferian-Jenkins will need to build a rapport with the new starter.
Dwayne Allen joined the New England Patriots in 2017 after spending five seasons in Indianapolis. Visions of a two tight end offense had owners expecting to be able to get some use from Allen. Those visions did not come to fruition. Allen was rarely targeted in 2017 and never provided any confidence that would have allowed him to be a startable player. Even when Gronkowski was not on the field, Allen was not part of the offense. The Patriots also added Martellus Bennett halfway through the season. Allen’s current value of 0.7 reflects a player that is barely rosterable and should be considered waiver wire material in all but perhaps the deepest leagues that have heavy tight end premium scoring.
Martellus Bennett opened the season as a Green Bay Packer. Fantasy owners expected him catching touchdowns from Aaron Rodgers, and Bennett began the season with a DTV of 6.2 that had him ranked as a top twelve tight end option. Instead of catching touchdown passes, Bennett was rarely involved in the Packers offense. Injuries resulted in more inconsistency and eventually brought on a situation where he was no longer on the same page with the organization. Bennett was waived and returned to New England where he had experienced some success in 2016. He caught six passes for fifty-three yards in two games for New England before going on injured reserve. Bennett’s future is no guarantee. He has hinted at retirement and has many interests outside of football. His value dropped from 6.2 to 2.0 during the season, and it may soon hit zero.
Tyler Eifert was held to high expectations heading into, trailing only Gronk, Kelce, and Hunter Henry in value at the tight end position. Eifert only played half of the 2016 season and owners were ready for him to return to health and production. When on the field, he is a favorite target of Andy Dalton, but Eifert was injured in the second game of the 2017 season and did not return. Nearly an entire season lost to injury and now faced with uncertainty as a free agent, Eifert’s value has plummeted. Eifert can certainly return to a more valuable status, but he will need to be healthy and on the field. He could find himself in an entirely different team situation in 2018, but no matter whose team’s colors he dons, the biggest factor determining his value going forward will be his health.