In this weekly column, I typically explore some young players who haven’t made much of a consistent impact to date on their fantasy football teams. Some players may be available on your waiver wire, some may be available via a cheap or moderate trade. Acquiring or not acquiring one of these players could decide how well your dynasty or keeper team does for the next few years. This week I take a look at Minnesota tight end Rhett Ellison and New Orleans wide receiver Kenny Stills.
TE Rhett Ellison, MIN- When Kyle Rudolph went down due to injury, there were several choices to take over his duties: Ellision, MarQuies Gray, and Chase Ford. Rhett Ellison, unlike the other two, had already been a vital part of the Vikings offense, just not as a stat producer. The third year utility player from USC has never received more than three targets in any game in his career and that continued against the Packers in a rain-soaked Lambeau Field. The Vikings used him at inline tight end, wingback, fullback, and a special teams player. While Ellison is a good blocker in the passing game and does his best to seal the edge in the running game, his only catch of the night was a wheel route out of the fullback position.
The third year tight end looked good on that play making the most of his reception, but ended up giving way to Ford on many passing situations. When Ellison ran routes, they were mostly of the five to ten yard variety. If I were in a deeper league, I might hold him one more week to see if he develops something with Teddy Bridgewater, but I’m not very hopeful. His tight end competition in Ford saw four targets catching three of them for 31 yards and Gray got two targets late in the fourth quarter. I would not be comfortable depending on any Minnesota tight end right now on my dynasty teams.
WR Kenny Stills, NO- The second year wide receiver has been a disappointment this year so far with only ten catches for 141 yards in four games. He didn’t even start the game against the Bucs, old man Robert Meachem did. Stills is a great deep threat. The wide out did most of his damage last season in that role and most owners (including myself) looked for an improvement on those numbers, not a decline. The underneath routes that he once ran are now being given to rookie Brandin Cooks for the most part, making his dynasty value tenuous at best right now. When the receiver gets the opportunity to run deep patterns, Stills gets separation, catches the ball at its highest point, and always knows where he is on the field using the sidelines to his benefit.
It’s plain to see that Stills and his quarterback, Drew Brees, are not on the same page. Brees missed him on a few occasions, either throwing behind him or too high that exposed him to take big hits. To make matters worse, once Jimmy Graham injured his shoulder in the first half, the quarterback stopped throwing deeper than ten yards down the field. Brees started to check down firing passes at his running backs, then second and third team tight end options. In overtime, Stills tried to adjust himself to catch a ball thrown behind his head and he almost made the catch! The receiver is a buy low candidate if you can truly buy him on the low side, otherwise let his value sink even deeper before you try to buy.
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