For the 2nd consecutive season, we saw an NFL Draft without a TE go in the 1st round. It wasn’t long after that, however, as we saw Hunter Henry hear his name get called very early on Day Two. Is him not going in the 1st round an indication of his actual ability? How does he compare to recent 1st round TEs such as Eric Ebron and Tyler Eifert? Let’s dive into the short-term and long-term fantasy value of Hunter Henry.
For starters, the Chargers drafted Henry to eventually take the reigns from Antonio Gates as the team’s starting TE – a position which has been heavily targeted by Philip Rivers during his career in San Diego. This gives Henry monumental value in a dynasty league as he should develop into a top 10-15 TE within the next few years under Mike McCoy in San Diego’s offense.
I have Henry ranked in the 20-25 vicinity among TEs for the 2016 season. However, he carries even more upside than that. Realistically, he could serve as a solid backup on your fantasy team and give you a productive spot start here and there. The Chargers want him to replace the production left behind by Ladarius Green (37/429/4) which should be attainable – I see Henry’s numbers in the same neighborhood as Green who finished the season as the 19th ranked TE in points.
I don’t see Henry ever quite reaching the level of Eric Ebron and definitely not Tyler Eifert, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a productive fantasy TE. With that being said, Henry was the premier tight end in a decent 2016 class. He has a big body, runs good routes, plus athleticism and reliable hands which will make him an instant contributor on San Diego’s offense. Plus, learning from one of the greats like Antonio Gates doesn’t hurt either.
At the end of the day, Henry will develop into a solid option as a starting TE and should haul in some solid performances during his rookie year. However, he will never be among the best of the best at the position. Regardless, he will find himself be drafted late in most standard leagues as he is the top rookie TE and carries pretty good upside into 2016. I would say he’s definitely worth a late round flyer as a bench stash to see how early he can produce.