For the Love of Ebron

 

The Indianapolis Colts are gearing up for the season behind their favorite returning gunslinger, Andrew Luck. There’s probably nothing else loud enough to top that news out of Indianapolis. However, a soft rumbling can be heard throughout the fandom about another part of their team. The undervalued addition of one of my favorite tight ends, former first round pick, Eric Ebron. “I can’t believe it’s not butter” hands man. Within the confines of this article, I will guide not only the fandom, but fantasy players into the loving arms of Eric himself.

“He Can’t Catch A Cold During Flu Season”

Alright, let’s get your only argument and doubt about him out of the way.

“He. Can’t . Catch. To . Save. Anyone”.

That notion couldn’t be further from the truth. Matter of fact, I honestly don’t understand how this has become his calling card. Everyone has drops and missed catches. Some worse than him, yet he gets BASHED for it.

Here’s a tweet I got from Logan Lamorandier @LLamorandier (a great follow):

“NFL TEs w/ more drops than Lions’ TE Eric Ebron (PER FOX SPORTS):

Jimmy Graham, Travis Kelce, Jack Doyle, Charles Clay, Evan Engram, George Kittle, Marcedes Lewis, Jared Cook.

TEs w/ the same amount of drops:

Rob Gronkowski, Delanie Walker, Martellus Bennett, David Njoku, Vernon Davis, Cameron Brate
and 8 others…”. So relax, it’s not as bad as it looks. I promise you.

Tattoo Him on Your Heart

Now that I’ve softened you up a bit, let’s look at why he will be great for the Colts and fantasy purposes.

First off, both Frank Reich and Tom Manning are in love with him. In their interviews, they’ve showered him with praise for what he’s capable of doing. However, they also really like Doyle. Let’s be real, he is very consistent. What they see is him being that in-line blocker and a super consistent slot type of guy. That’s not what they see for Ebron. What they see for Ebron is flash and talent, effective route running and fixable hands. They see how much of a dynamic is added with him on the field to create big bodied mismatches. They are going to move him around to get things open and create for him. Teams will already have to stay honest because of Hilton and that is going to be great for him.

What the System Says..

What intrigued me most is looking at how the tight end for their team has been utilized since Luck was drafted. Without throwing tons of stats out, I notice this:

In that time period the tight end is always the second or third best in targets.

Why that is important is because they haven’t really had any talent opposite of T.Y. since Luck got there. Sure you had Donte Moncrief (who is always top 3 in targets) who couldn’t stay healthy, but that was it. In 2015, Coby Fleener was in that top 3. In 2016/17 it was Doyle. The jury is still out on the new rookie receivers Daurice Fountain and Deon Cain, so I can’t call them threats yet. At best, Ryan Grant will be the receiver that ends up between Doyle and Ebron statistically. What I’m saying is, this new colts team is primed to feature two tight ends behind Hilton. Not to mention the coaching staff wants to utilize a system similar to Tampa, New England in the past and what I think Cleveland will do at times (don’t sleep on Devalve).

Ebron has the draft pedigree and skill to be the number two option on this team. He’s much better than Doyle and will cause Doyle’s numbers from last year to slide. With staff planning to move Ebron around a ton, it reminds me of how KC used Travis Kelce alongside Tyreek Hill last year.

Last Call For Stats Y’all

I took Ebron’s 4 year stats (186 rec/2000 yds/ 11 TDs) and compared them to TEs since 2000 that have amassed the same stats within their first 4. Guys, the list isn’t as long as you’d think. In the last 18 years, only 16 other guys have done it. On top of that. A lot of those guys make up one year,  not multiple. Years with zero representation include: 00, 01, 05, 11, 12. Notable guys with catch rates lower than his:

  • Antonio Gates
  • Jeremy Shockey
  • Jimmy Graham

Tight end is like a fine wine, you have to let it age before you get the best taste from it. He’s going to be fine, so quit on the hate folks, it’s not healthy.

 

About Chris Nelson

Christopher Nelson is a very avid fantasy football fan and analyst. He loves music and art just as much and tries to find time for all three. Fantasy football has taught him the love of numbers and bolstered his drive for research making it only right that he writes. You can find him @THEffVigilante on Twitter.

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