3. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
The reason Ebron makes this list isn’t to suggest that he doesn’t possess the ability to get open against slower safeties and linebackers across the middle, but it’s simply to warn fantasy owners against expecting too much out of the North Carolina import.
Ebron is one of those polarizing figures that one can make a case for as a fantasy TE1 by pointing to the fact that No. 85 produced 14 more receptions (61) than he did in 2015, registered nearly 200 more yards than the previous year (711) and yielded a slightly improved catch rate from 67.1 percent to 71.8 percent.
Skeptics, though, can fairly argue that the pass-catching threat led his tight end peers with seven dropped passes in the regular season and added two more when failing to haul in two catchable targets in Detroit’s Wildcard loss to Seattle last January.
Perhaps even more damning was that Ebron scored one touchdown all season.
Slot receiver Anquan Boldin is no longer in the picture—for now anyway—which should conceivably open things up for the fourth-year pro in the red zone.
However, the Lions invested a fourth-round pick in the massive 270-pound tight end Michael Roberts in this year’s draft. What’s especially noteworthy about the young man are his 11 ¾” hands, which should make him one of Stafford’s favorite targets near the goal line.
Sixteen of Roberts’ 45 receptions at Toledo last year resulted in touchdowns.
There’s lots of risk involved in making your bed with Ebron as your starting tight end. My advice would be to let someone else draft him as a top-10 player at his position.
Jack Doyle, Zach Ertz and Martellus Bennett are all better options that can be had in the same part of most drafts.