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Fantasy Throwdown: Jace Amaro vs. Brandon Pettigrew: Which 2nd Year TE Will Emerge?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 4:34
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by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The 2014 tight end draft class could ultimately prove to be an impressive group, though they failed to make much of an impact in their rookie campaigns.  That shouldn’t have come as a surprise, since it normally takes tight ends a few years to become acclimated with the NFL game.  Now sophomores, which of the two more highly touted options has the best chance of emerging?  Let’s take a look:

Jace Amaro – New York Jets
Second Round Pick (49th overall)

Amaro actually got off to a great start to his rookie year, before disappearing in the second half of the season:

  • Games 1-8 – 32 receptions, 285 yards, 1 TD
  • Games 9-16 – 6 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD

He did miss two games in the second half, but that’s not really enough of a justification for the drop.  Part of the problem was likely inconsistent quarterback play, though there’s no guarantee that’s going to improve (Geno Smith/Ryan Fitzpatrick).  There’s also new head coach Todd Bowles, which may lead to the most interesting change for Amaro.

According to Brian Costello of the New York Post (click here for the article):

One of the more interesting things new coach Todd Bowles said this spring is Amaro is now considered an H-back, not a tight end. We’ll see how that designation plays out under new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. It was hard to get much of a feel for it this spring because Amaro often practiced on the second field with the backups. Then he injured his back in the team’s final week of OTAs, which kept him sidelined for the minicamp.

You would think this means Amaro will play more in the slot or on the wing and not be asked to get in a stance as an in-line tight end, something he never appeared really comfortable doing. PFF ranked Amaro 10th out of 34 tight ends in slot performance last season, so that will play to his strengths.”

There was a lot of potential in Amaro coming out of the draft and with the change in philosophy he could really emerge this season, especially with the Jets needing a receiving option (rookie Devin Smith could take some time to acclimate himself).  He has TE1 upside and is well worth targeting as a TE2 in deeper formats.

Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions
First Round Pick (10th overall)

He too missed time due to injury (13 games played), and mustered just 25 catches for 248 yards and 1 TD.  With Calvin Johnson & Golden Tate at the wide receiver spots, there’s only going to be so many opportunities for Ebron to make plays.  It gets even worse when you look at the presence of Joique Bell and Ameer Abdullah, both of which could catch 40+ passes this season, and you start to wonder just how many chances will be there.

The Lions also have a pair of other tight ends who could produce, if Ebron is struggling, in Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria.

So far things aren’t looking too promising.  The fact that he was targeted more than 5 times in a game just twice in his rookie season, never having more than 4 catches in a game, certainly doesn’t help.  Even if he’s going well, can we ever imagine a circumstance where Ebron is targeted 8, 9 or 10 times in a game?

There’s no arguing the talent, and maybe he rises to Top 15 status, but from the outset it appears likely that his chances will be limited.  That makes him a tough sell.

Winner – Amaro, as the Jets appear prepared to feature him and utilize his strengths

Sources – ESPN, New York Post

*** Make sure to pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2015 Fantasy Football Draft Guide!!  The guide comes complete with projections of over 350 players, expended rankings, sleepers, and so much more (including constant updates up until opening day).  For just $5 you will get everything you need to dominate your fantasy league!!  For more information and to place your order, click here. ***


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