Finally, the time has come. It’s not that we want bad things for 35-year old Antonio Gates. It’s actually the opposite after the San Diego Chargers’ ageless wonder finished as a top-five tight end in fantasy football a year ago, largely thanks to a ridiculous 13 touchdowns. He was entering his NFL deathbed, or we all thought, yet he instead put up a career-ish season and kept one of fantasy experts’ favorite sleepers, Green, at bay.
That’s changing to start 2015, as Gates is due to serve a four-game ban for PED abuse. That obviously leaves an old tight end with a max 12 regular season starts (even less when we’re talking fantasy schedules) and gives the talented LaDarius Green a monster role for the first four weeks of the 2015 fantasy football season.
Does that mean we need to completely forget about Gates and promote Green as a potential TE1? No, but we need to brace ourselves for that possibility. Green is a real deal talent with elite size and plus athleticism. He hasn’t proven his worth consistently yet, but he also hasn’t gotten a crazy amount of chances to do so. In 2015, he’ll be the main man at tight end for the Bolts for the first four games of the year and if that goes well, it’s not too crazy to think he maintains a pretty big role in the passing game.
The ADP numbers are late to the game right now, as Gates is still being selected around round nine, while Green is lasting until round 13. I expect Gates to dip a little further and Green to ascend a round or two. We already knew Green’s star would slowly be rising this year, but this Gates news could make his impact bigger and have us see it a lot earlier. While this is an encouraging development for Green, we still have to temper our excitement and expectations. Gates is still going to be around for much of the year, while the Bolts are still going to use the likes of Keenan Allen, Malcom Floyd, Stevie Johnson and Danny Woodhead a lot in the passing game. But if you want to stream tight ends this year, Green is a great guy to start the fantasy football season off with.
To get a better idea as to when and where you need to be drafting both of these guys, be sure to practice with FantasPros’ Mock Draft Simulator. It’s the best way to get ready for your league’s fantasy football draft – period.