Deep Fantasy TE Sleepers 2017: Don't drop the ball on Brate

Tampa’s Cameron Brate is getting seriously slighted according to Brad Evans. (AP)
Tampa’s Cameron Brate is getting seriously slighted according to Brad Evans. (AP)

In the darkest recesses of every fantasy draft hidden value exists. Find an uncovered gem and your team could soon gain the upper hand. With flashlights and pickaxes in hand, our Yahoo Fantasy treasure hunters dig deep in attempt to score late-round riches. Friday’s topic: TEs.

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Neal Sterling, Jax (N/A ADP, TE30+)

A converted wideout, Sterling is expected to work as the Jaguars move TE, filling the void left by Julius Thomas’ departure. At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Sterling is surprisingly athletic, earning an agility score of 11.32 from the metrics site Player Profiler. In the stead of a hobbled Thomas (back), Sterling flashed towards the end of last season. His most impressive effort came in Week 13 vs. DEN, a game in which he led all receivers in catches, posting a 5-43-0 line. I’m digging deep here, but given Bortles’ accuracy issues, an imposing and dexterous body in the red area of the field has appeal. (Liz Loza)

David Njoku, Cle (152.7 ADP, TE19)

Njoku is an uncommonly gifted athlete, even by NFL standards. He was a seven-foot high-jumper in high school (which is ridiculous) and he ran a sub-7-second three-cone drill at the combine. We’re supposed to advise you to ignore all rookie tight ends in fantasy, but Njoku has almost no serious competition in Cleveland. He has a clean path to a substantial first-year role. Remember, the Browns released Gary Barnidge the day after they drafted Njoku. If any Cleveland quarterback can perform competently in 2017, the team’s rookie tight end has a chance to make noise. He produced a 43-698-8 season at Miami last year, and he should develop as a dominant red-zone receiver. (Andy Behrens)

Cameron Brate, TB (158.5 ADP, TE21)

The amount of silly sauce consumed over O.J. Howard is staggering. Yes, he’s an athletic marvel who’s turned heads in training camp, but the chemistry between Jameis Winston and Brate is unbreakable. The duo clicked midway through last season as the tight end tallied the sixth-best position line from Week 8 on. As Sharp Football points out, whether on short, medium or long connections, Winston-to-Brate hookups were around 80 percent successful. That efficiency combined with the monolith’s solidified red-zone role (25.4% red-zone targets share in ’16) and benefits of playing alongside Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson arrow to another top-12 return. At worst, anticipate a slight regression from last year’s 57-660-8. He’s a prime example why you should wait on a tight end. (Brad Evans)

Dwayne Allen, NE (198.9 ADP, TE27)

First of all, I love the Brate call, above. If I had an earlier pick in the exercise, I’d be on Team Brate, too. Remember, poor blocking is a feature for a fantasy tight end, not a bug — so long as that tight end can catch the ball. Brate sure can.

My Allen endorsement is a reminder that Tom Brady loves to steer short touchdown flips to tight ends — and they don’t all go to the traveling party known as Rob Gronkowski. Martellus Bennett had seven touchdown grabs last year, leading the team. Scott Chandler siphoned four spikes in 2015. Tim Wright, of all people, had six scores in 2014. And five years back, Aaron Hernandez had five scores in 10 games.

Allen never was a star with the Colts, in part because of durability issues, but he did flash from time to time. He snuck inside the Top 20 at the position last year, and he was the No. 13 tight end in 2014, scoring eight times on just 29 catches. The Patriots are loaded on paper as we enter August, but football is a game of attrition; players will get hurt, roles will shift. Allen is a good depth play in larger leagues, or a watch-list/FAAB-friendly name to consider in-season. (Scott Pianowski)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, NYJ (204.5 ADP, TE28)

Seferian-Jenkins seems like a knucklehead with plenty of past red flags, but he’s also still just 24 years old with a strong pedigree (an early second round draft pick). He doesn’t have the best QB situation, but ASJ is sober, lost weight, and the Jets’ coaching staff have raved about him. The Jets lost Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, freeing up approximately 250 targets. Seferian-Jenkins doesn’t come without risk, but he has the upside to be a top-five type fantasy tight end who won’t cost you much at draft tables. (Dalton Del Don)

Follow the Yahoo fantasy gang on Twitter: Brad (@YahooNoise), Andy (@andybehrens), Scott (@scott_pianowski), Dalton (@DaltonDelDon) and Liz (@LizLoza_FF)

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