Tyler Eifert, Top-5 Tight End

by Drew Ryan ·

Three targets, three catches, 37 receiving yards, and one dislocated elbow.  That is Tyler Eifert’s 2014 season summed up in one sentence. Only three weeks into the 2015 season, his story is already infinitely more exiting.  Despite being a forgotten player at the tight end position, often drafted beyond the 9th-round in fantasy drafts, Eifert is now a top-5 tight end in the game.

That’s correct. Tyler Eifert is now a top-5 tight end in fantasy football, and he’s likely to stay there for a while.

A Hot Start

Through the first three weeks of the 2015 season, it’s beginning to look as though this could be the year of the tight end, with 19 players averaging over 10 fantasy-points-per-game (FPPG).  Considering Gary Barnidge and Darren Fells are two of the names in that bunch, it’s safe to assume this production will not continue at the position.  With that said, Tyler Eifert is one name in particular that should stand out amongst the rest.  While Rob Gronkowski is continuing to rule the fantasy tight end world with a monstrous average of 23.6 FPPG (to no one’s surprise), Tyler Eifert is averaging a solid 15.4 FPPG.

Tight End Fantasy Points Per Game (Weeks 1-2)

Tight End Fantasy Points Per Game (Weeks 1-3)

In week one, Tyler Eifert converted nine of his eleven targets for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns.  That is game-winning production that some fantasy owners are not getting out of their WR1, much less their tight end.  Contrarians, of course, will bring up the fact that this was against the Oakland Raiders, after all.  But perhaps the more surprising and more meaningful takeaway from this game was not Eifert’s box stats or his opponent, but rather his snap share.  Eifert played 66 out of the Bengals’ 68 offensive snaps (over 97-percent) during this game.  As Ray Marzarella previously pointed out, the most successful tight ends are often the players that play the majority of snaps, as this obviously leads to increased opportunity and production.  In Eifert’s case, this is precisely what happened.

Skipping ahead to week two, Tyler Eifert again posted fantasy TE1 numbers, converting 4-of-5 targets for 49 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers.  It certainly was not as sexy as the previous week’s stat line, but he did score in style, splitting out wide and making cornerback Brandon Flowers look silly.  This was a game in which Giovani Bernard ran the ball very effectively (sorry Jeremy Hill owners), leading Andy Dalton to only attempt 26 passes. Nonetheless, the underlying outcome was the same as the previous week, as Eifert played 62-of-66 offensive snaps (94-percent), which once again led to production.

During week three, Tyler Eifert poured a bucket of cold water on himself and finished the day with zero catches and zero fantasy points.  Ouch.  That is definitely the most cringe-worthy stat line in fantasy, but don’t tear down all of the dance party decorations just yet.  First off, the matchup was difficult, as the Ravens have allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season.  Secondly, A.J. Green was consistently torching the Baltimore secondary, hogging 13 of Andy Dalton‘s 32 pass attempts (40-percent) to the tune of 10 catches, 227 yards, and 2 touchdowns.  Considering Green’s talent, this is bound to happen on occasion.  Thirdly, Eifert was one-bad-rule away from salvaging the day with a touchdown.  Lastly, Eifert once again showed his value to the team by playing 77-of-77 offensive snaps (100-percent). He literally did not take a single play off. If anything, week three was more of an outlier for Eifert, rather than the weekly norm.

The Real Deal

A high majority of fantasy owners were shocked by Tyler Eifert’s hot start.  Recency bias kept him low in draft rankings and likely out of many owner’s minds.  After all, it’s rare to see the fantasy world licking their chops over a player who totalled 37 receiving yards the previous season.  But one look at Eifert’s advanced metrics profile makes it clear that he is not just a “flash in the pan.”  In fact, his hot start is a sign there will be more to come.

Standing at 6-6, 251-pounds, Tyler Eifert is the prototypical NFL tight end.  In addition to size, Eifert boasts excellent athleticism.  Every major workout metric on his profile is above the 69th-percentile, and his overall SPARQ-x score is 83.7 (72nd-percentile).  Beyond size and athleticism, Tyler Eifert is actually a good football player.  His College Dominator Rating at Notre Dame was a whopping 26.9-percent (82nd-percentile).  His College YPR (Yards-Per-Reception) of 13.7 (62nd-percentile) shows that his athleticism transferred to on-field play, stretching the field against opposing defenses.  Also, Eifert proved his value early, breaking out the young age of 21.0 (56th-percentile).  All of this was accomplished at Notre Dame, which ultimately led him to being the 21st-overall pick in the 2013 draft.


Tyler Eifert Advanced Metrics Profile

The Best of the Rest

Tyler Eifert’s production is legitimate, but in the fantasy world, production only matters when it’s above other players at the position. In terms of tight end, Rob Gronkowski is obviously still the top dog, and he isn’t going anywhere.  Travis Kelce (aka, Zeus) is essentially a carbon copy of Gronk, and he’s proving to be extremely productive and efficient in Kansas City, despite their offensive woes.  Greg Olsen has become the focal point of the Panthers’ offense, due to their lack of receiving weapons.  This is evidenced by his 28 targets through the first three weeks, which is tied with Gronkowski for most among tight ends.  Beyond these three, there is not a player who checks more boxes than Tyler Eifert.  He has a lethal combination of size, athleticism, and offensive opportunity to warrant being among the top-5 options at the position.


RotoUnderworld was touting Tyler Eifert before the 2014 season started.  Although many fantasy “hype trains” have been derailed after the first three weeks, Eifert’s train has not even hit full steam.  In fact, his week three goose egg is sure to have owners second-guessing his potential, which means now is a perfect time to pounce.  He finished as a top-5 tight end in the first two weeks, and there is not a single red flag on his profile.  With A.J. Green likely to attract defensive coverage during most games, Eifert’s production will only continue.  Pair this with his young age of 25, and that makes him a must-buy target in every league format.  If I were you, I’d make sure he’s on my fantasy team before it’s too late.