With fantasy football drafts already underway, Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard is becoming a valuable asset to roster.
With the 2019 NFL season quickly approaching that means so are fantasy football drafts. In this piece I will take a look at the Pro Football Focus (subscription required) tier based tight end rankings and how they view the pass-catchers for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The first tight end that pops up on this list is the former first rounder out of Alabama, O.J. Howard. Howard checks in at tier three entitled “The Next Five” which includes Evan Engram, Hunter Henry, Jared Cook, Eric Ebron and of course Howard. The only players ahead of this tier are Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz and George Kittle, all elite.
Where I feel that Howard separates himself from the rest of the third tier is the fact that he is that rare prospect that has both elite pass catching ability as well as elite blocking skills. Howard has had a relatively quiet start to his career having dealt with not only injuries, but inconsistent quarterback play as well. Through two seasons of play Howard has totaled 60 receptions for 997 yards and 11 touchdowns, appearing in 24 of a possible 32 games.
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Going into year three healthy and with a new offensive coordinator and head coach, fully expect Howard to make a big leap this season. Howard is the bonafide tight end starter in fantasy football and the stats should reflect that next season. Howard will likely cost you a fifth or sixth round pick in your upcoming draft but should be well worth it if one of the top three tight ends cannot be obtained.
Cameron Brate did not make the list of tight ends to target in drafts and likely will not be drafted in 10 or 12 team formats. Brate has shown in the past that he is a more than capable starting tight end and will be one of the very few tight end handcuffs in the league. In the last four seasons Brate has totaled 158 receptions for 1,828 yards and 23 touchdowns. If anything were to happen to Howard, Brate is a must add at the position.
There is also this worry for Howard and Brate that tight ends historically struggle in the Bruce Arians offense but it is nothing to worry about at all. In all reality the Cardinals never had a tight end as good as Brate let alone one with the upside of Howard while Arians was there.
Look for Howard in the early to mid rounds anywhere from late fourth round to early sixth round. When healthy, Howard is a guy that demands to be played every week regardless of matchup. Brate is a waiver wire option to keep an eye on as his upside could skyrocket if Howard misses time with an injury.