One of the most polarizing fantasy players last season was Cincinnati’s Tyler Eifert who broke out and emerged as one of the game’s top TEs. His 13 TD receptions ranked 2nd in the league, this despite missing 3 games. As if losing Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu over the offseason wasn’t enough, Eifert is set to undergo ankle surgery which may keep him out for the first couple games to start the season.
Bengals TE Tyler Eifert is undergoing ankle surgery today and, according to a source, “could miss the first couple of games of the season.”
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 25, 2016
With Eifert out of the lineup, Andy Dalton will have his work cut out for him. While he still has one of the game’s best receivers in A.J. Green, the supporting cast will look very different from last season. Brandon LaFell and Brandon Tate are the veterans who could step up, but I’m looking at 2nd round pick Tyler Boyd to pick up the slack, and maybe even 6th round pick Cody Core.
To put it lightly, Eifert is impossible to replace. While his red zone prowess and overall receiving ability are what jump out at you, he is arguably the game’s most complete TE and excels as a blocker as well – his impact on that Cincinnati offense is irreplaceable.
How will they attempt to replace Eifert in the starting lineup? Tyler Kroft will be that guy. Already on my radar as top sleepers this season, Kroft’s value only increases with the potential absence of Eifert. The 2nd year TE out of Rutgers was drafted in the 3rd round. As a rookie, he hauled in 11 catches for 129 yards and a score.
With Eifert out, Kroft should emerge as one of Dalton’s top targets, especially in the redzone. He’s a big bodied TE with plus athleticism who’s receiving skills have seen steady improvement since his days at Rutgers. I don’t expect him to put up huge numbers during his few games as the starter, but he will get targets un the redzone and should be able to haul in a couple TDs during his starting stint. Definitely a player to keep an eye on.