With the preseason beginning and many fantasy drafts planned for the next few weekends, it’s time to prep for your 2015 Fantasy Football team.  Here is my advice/predictions as it relates to tight ends, kickers, and defenses:


  • Gronk – There is only one tight end that deserves an early look, and that is Rob Gronkowski.  Gronk should be the only TE to top 1000 yds and probably the only TE to score double-digit touchdowns.  That makes him the only one at his position that warrants consideration for a surprising “go out and grab ‘im” pick.  You could do worse than with a guy as consistent as Gronk.
  • Bye Bye Brees – You might be asking “what about Jimmy Graham?!” and to that I’ll say “what about him?”  Graham was traded from New Orleans to Seattle, from an offensive team to a defensive one, and his numbers will suffer.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s still #2 on my list, but he’s a big step down from Gronk.  Russell Wilson will benefit from a solid pass-catching TE, but that doesn’t help you.
  • Upwards – A few players have moved their way into the upper echelon, and your team could benefit if they fall at all in the draft.  Travis Kelce, Dwayne Allen, Owen Daniels; these guys could potentially have Top 5 numbers but fly under the popular radar.  If you don’t nab Gronk or Graham, you could wait a long time and still find yourself with a great fantasy contributor.
  • Onwards – And of course their are a few who have left their glory days behind them, making them players you should leave behind too.  Julius Thomas, Jason Witten, Antonio Gates; they all used to be guaranteed top scorers, but those days could be over.  Thomas is a Jaguar now, Witten is old, and Gates has a four-game suspension.  Best to look elsewhere.
  • Bitter Bust – Last season I drafted Vernon Davis quite high after his 13 TD 2014.  In 2015, playing only one less game, he scored 2 touchdowns and had 600 fewer yards.  Needless to say, I’m still mad.  And with the 49ers in such a state of upheaval, don’t expect a rebound, regardless of what Davis thinks is possible.  This season he’s a backup, no more.


  • Don’t Reach – Let me start off by saying that no kicker is worth a high pick.  No kicker is worth even a medium pick, and you’re probably safe picking them with your last selection.  It seems that every year the best fantasy kicker is someone who went undrafted and got picked up by a team in your league by accident.  Lay back, let them slide by, and then make a killing on the waiver wire.
  • That Said – There are some top-tier kickers, but they won’t separate themselves enough points-wise to make much of a difference.  To name names, those guys are Gostkowski and Vinatieri, with Mason Crosby as a runner-up.  Just look at the teams those guys play for and you know why they’re locked in at a certain number of points.  Take ’em if they’re there.
  • Middle Ground – Here are some guys that you can wait on and that you should feel pretty happy about landing if they fall into your lap: Hauska, Tucker, & Barth.  Seattle, Baltimore, & Denver are solid teams, put up points, settle for field goals, and give their kickers a lot of air time.  You get one of these players at the very end of the draft and you’ve just won a very small lottery.
  • Go To Bed – Looking for sleepers?  Look no further than Caleb Sturgis and Randy Bullock.  Miami and Houston aren’t the most flashy teams, they don’t score a ton, and they won’t get complete respect come draft day.  But these kickers are projected to do very well this year, which means you could have yourself an under-the-radar player who scores attention-demanding points.
  • Who Dat – It seems like only yesterday that whoever was New Orleans kicker was a hot commodity.  But that ship has sailed, and you should look elsewhere.  Dustin Hopkins will be kicking for the Saints this year, but his numbers shouldn’t be impressive.  Drew Brees & Co. will need to get back on track consistently before you can trust them very far.


  • Twelfth Man – No defense warrants the fantasy attention that Seattle will most certainly gain.  They should produce that rare combination of few points per game and defensive scores.  That makes them the only defense that’s worth an early look.  There is a big difference between them and the next best, so don’t be shy reaching out to grab them if the opportunity presents itself.
  • Where’s The Beef – Last year the Bills had a surprisingly good defense.  This year, with Rex Ryan as their head coach, they ought to have a repeat season.  Peg Buffalo as potential Top 5 defense that could slide down, down, down into your lap.  Don’t expect magic, especially when Tom Brady comes back, but here’s a team that could be a solid pick for a lucky someone.
  • Cheese Steak – Philadelphia is a team that lived & died by the touchdown last season.  They had 11 defensive scores in 2014, an unheard of number, and there’s no possible way they repeat that.  Will they still score?  Yes.  Can they still be a starting fantasy defense?  Yes.  But don’t expect 11, expect more like 5, which would still be higher than the NFL average.
  • Bottom Barrel – For great teams, Dallas and Indianapolis have crappy defenses.  They allow a lot of points, don’t score very often themselves, and rely heavily on their talented QBs to win games.  That’s fine for the real world, but for fantasy that means you need to stay away from their defensive units.  Don’t get sucked in by the chance at a Super Bowl run; that won’t help you.
  • Further Down – And, of course, there are teams that should be even further down the list.  Oakland, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville; those are transitional teams with young QBs who turn the ball over and hand the other team points.  Stay far away from these defenses like your life depended on it.  And, really, your fantasy life may.