Replacing a Hall of Famer is never easy, but that’s just what the Atlanta Falcons and fantasy football owners will do with the retirement of tight end Tony Gonzalez. Levine Toilolo is No. 1 on the depth chart right now, and Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com has suggested the Falcons may not draft a starting-caliber tight end in May.
Is Toilolo in line for a breakout season in 2014?
Atlanta drafted Toilolo in the fourth round in 2013 (133rd overall), but his role was obviously limited behind Gonzalez and he finished with 11 receptions for 55 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games played. 10 of his 50 career receptions at Stanford went for touchdowns, and Toilolo’s size (6’8″, 260 lbs.) makes him an ideal red zone option even with the limitations he has athletically.
While the Falcons may not use an early draft pick on a tight end that will be expected to step right in and start, I do think they’ll draft someone as potential competition at the position. Toilolo’s roster spot should be safe in that scenario, but the potential of losing snaps to someone that is a more polished pass catcher limits his fantasy upside even further.
Toilolo belongs on the radar of keeper league owners right now, and he could be useful in touchdown-heavy fantasy leagues next season if he remains in line for a prominent role. Gonzalez’s retirement is great news for the fantasy value of Atlanta’s wide receivers (Roddy White, Julio Jones, Harry Douglas) right now, and Toilolo or any other Falcons’ tight end has limited potential until further notice.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.