Running backs are often considered to be the most scare of fantasy football resources, but the reality is that productive tight ends are few and far between as well. With only a handful of elite tight ends out there, some members of your fantasy league will look to this crop of rookie tight ends to take a prominent roll in their line-ups.
Will that be a wise decision, or will this class of tight ends largely prove to be a fantasy disappointment in 2013?
1. Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals
Although it's not often we see rookie tight ends make much of a fantasy impact, Tyler Eifert could be an exception to that trend. As perhaps the most talented skill position player in the draft, Eifert should be a player that you could look to as your TE1. He'll figure to play all over the field, and with some fantastic hands it's likely he'll be able to make plays wherever he lines up.
The only threat to Eifert's fantasy impact would be Jermaine Gresham, and that shouldn't be a problem. Eifert is clearly the most talented of the two, and he'll have no trouble earning frequent looks from Andy Dalton. If you're going to rely on a rookie tight end this year, Eifert clearly the guy you should look to.
2. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
Zach Ertz may not have the same upside that Eifert does, but he's still an intriguing option to use as a TE2. The key here is likely to be the benefit that playing in a Chip Kelly orchestrated offense that Ertz will have. While it's not clear just how much the tight end position will be featured, we do know that the Eagles will be running a ton of plays. That high volume of opportunities increase the value of the entire Philadelphia offense.
While he does have that intriguing factor in his favor, it's not wise to look to Ertz for an early season impact. He has plenty of developing yet to do before the Eagles make him a big part of their offense, which means that Ertz is a better dynasty option than he is in re-draft leagues.
3. Travis Kelce, Kansas City
Looking to late round flyer on a tight end that could be a late season home run? Look no further than Travis Kelce. Even though he's got more upside than any other rookie TE (aside from Eifert), he's probably going to start the season behind Anthony Fasano on the depth chart.
Kelce has Gronkowski-esque potential, but with a veteran ahead of him and some major character red flags, Kelce is certainly not a player you want to draft as a TE1 or maybe even a TE2. Stashing him on your roster could be prove to be a savvy move however, and you could look like a genius if he begins to fulfill his potential.
4. Vance McDonald, San Francisco 49ers
In an offense that already had plenty of weapons to keep defenses busy, Vance McDonald is an interesting addition. To best project his potential value, it'd be reasonable to look at what the man he is replacing has done in years past. While Walker was a very valuable tool on the field for San Francisco, he never averaged more than a couple catches a game. If McDonald has anything going for him, it's the fact that the 49ers employ a two tight end line up frequently and he'll be seeing plenty of playing time.
5. Jordan Reed, Washington
While he's stuck behind Fred Davis on 2013's depth chart, Jordan Reed has a great deal of potential in dynasty formats. His versatility should fit well into Washington's offense long term, and once he's able to pass Davis on depth chart he should become a productive fantasy option. He shouldn't be looked to in 2013 except as a last resort, however.