More often than not, owners in College Fantasy Football tend to forget about the tight end position until it is too late. And rightly so, as there isn’t a whole lot out there to choose from.
However, there are a handful of Fantasy studs, led by Missouri Tigers TE Michael Egnew, who puts up the numbers of a low-end WR1 or must-start WR2. If you can get him in the neighborhood of Rounds 5-7, you’ll be doing yourself a great service, as he is heads and tails better than anyone on the list. If one of your rivals is able to nab Egnew, though, don’t panic. There are plenty of serviceable options on the list below. However, during bye weeks or difficult matchups, you might be in for meager production from the tight end spot. Notre Dame Fighting Irish TE Tyler Eifert is a nice backup plan if you miss out on Egnew, as the Irish love to use their TE. See what TE Kyle Rudolph did last year before his injury, what Eifert did in his place, etc. You’ve also probably heard of TEs Jeff Carlson, Anthony Fasano, etc. They’re former Irish TEs who moved on and made a name for themselves in the pros.
The best course of action is to try and draft Egnew early, and then add one of the others from the Top 10 as a backup plan. This will give you a tremendous advantage over the rest of your league, as there is plenty of depth at the quarterback, running back and wide receiver positions.
College Fantasy Football Preseason Rankings by Positon: QB | RB | WR | TE
Tight End Rankings (1-10)
1. Michael Egnew, Missouri: Egnew is the gold standard at TE, as he puts up numbers similar to that of wide receivers. The only worry about Egnew is whether or not he can jell with new QB James Franklin like he did last season with QB Blaine Gabbert. Egnew rolled up 90 receptions for 762 yards and five scores in 2010. Look for his reception totals, and perhaps his yardage to slip, but expect more trips to the end zone.
2. Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame: Eifert is on the 2011 Mackey Award watch list, but a review of his numbers makes it a bit of a head-scratcher unless you remember he took over for Rudolph last season when he was hurt. He posted just 27 catches for 352 yards and two scores in 2010. However, he was limited to just one reception for 17 yards in the first six games due to his backup status.. Double his production from from the second half of the season, and he is right up there with the top TEs in the game. He has developed a nice rapport with QB Dayne Crist, so a hot start is expected.
3. Ladarius Green, Louisiana-Lafayette: Green might be one of the best college players that few have heard about. Playing for an awful Ragin’ Cajuns team in 2010, Green posted 33 receptions for 794 yards and seven touchdowns last season. That’s an average of 18.0 yards per catch. His production has increased in each of his three seasons, all impressive campaigns from a statistical perspective. He had seven games last season with at least 87 yards, and he had two streaks with a TD in three straight.
4. Coby Fleener, Stanford: One of the happiest guys on campus in Palo Alto was Fleener, when QB Andrew Luck announced he was returning for his senior season. Fleener was a solid option for Luck last season, and the duo combined for four scores in a six-game stretch from Sept. 11-Oct. 23. After a little bit of a disappearance down the regular season stretch, Fleener erupted for six grabs, 173 yards and three scores in the Discover Orange Bowl against Virginia Tech. So will Fleener revert back to his old ways, or will the coaching staff find ways to duplicate his OB success? That’s the big question. His ranking is obviously based on the latter, but he is as risky of a pick as it gets.
5. Drake Dunsmore, Northwestern: Dunsmore was rolling right along until a late-season injury to QB Dan Persa (knee) ended his Fantasy relevance. Persa is expected to be 100 percent for the regular season, and that means Dunsmore will once again be a viable Fantasy option. The fact he is Top 5 at his position is a bit deceiving, as he puts up marginal numbers. But that just shows how weak the position is as a whole.
6. Joe Halahuni, Oregon State: Halahuni (shoulder) actually took a step back statistically in 2010, after a breakout year in 2009. Halahuni saw a decrease from 35 to 30 in receptions, and 486 to 390 in yardage. However, he was able to find the end zone five times, which is usally what makes or breaks Fantasy College Football TEs. Keep in mind that if you draft Halahuni, you might have to be without him for the first month, as he deals with a shoulder injury. However, he is targeting a season debut Sept. 24 against UCLA.
7. Kyle Efaw, Boise State: Efaw jelled nicely with QB Kellen Moore at times, posting a pair of two-score games during the regular season. Efaw’s yardage total wasn’t great, and he has a lot of one-reception games mixed in. However, he might get the eye of his QB more with an inexperienced wide receiver corps, at least in the early going. In fact, he might be the No. 3 option in the prolific BSU passing game behind WR Geraldo Boldewijn and RB Doug Martin.
8. Philip Lutzenkirchen, Auburn: It will be interesting to see what Lutzenkirchen does in 2011. He posted five TDs in 2010, including three in the final four games. However, QB Cam Newton is gone, which will hurt him initially. The good news is that the Tigers are expected to use Lutzenkirchen in the slot, so his catch total might rise exponentially. For all of the good he did last season, he managed just 15 receptions total.
9. Vance McDonald, Rice: McDonald is a deep sleeper who is expected to rise. In fact, some might argue that he should be in the Top 5 on this list. After all, he was able to post eight total scores and a respectable 396 receiving yards. Still, the Owls are more of a running team, and unless QB Taylor McHargue airs it out a lot more, McDonald’s ceiling is limited. There is also the presence of TE Luke Wilson to be aware of.
10. Kyler Reed, Nebraska: Reed is another like McDonald, who is on the rise. After some inconsistent production early on, Reed posted four scores in the final three games, including a touchdown against Washington in the Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl. The Cornhuskers move to the Big Ten this season, and it will be interesting to see if the offense is as prolific against stronger defenses.
Best of the rest
11. Jacob Pedersen, Wisconsin
12. Ted Bolser, Indiana
13. Jordan Reed, Florida
14. Dion Sims, Michigan State
15. James Hanna, Oklahoma
16. George Bryan, North Carolina State
17. Josh Chichester, Louisville
18. Cooper Helfet, Duke
19. Brandon Barden, Vanderbilt
20. Luke Wilson, Rice
21. Orson Charles, Georgia
22. Travis Kelce, Cincinnati
23. Jack Doyle, Western Kentucky
24. Ryan Deehan, Colorado
25. Lucas Reed, New Mexico