Last year was a great year for tight ends named Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. This year will be the year of New England Patriots tight-end Aaron Hernandez.
Last year, Hernandez was one of the best tight ends in the league. Not only was the skill and talent there, but the numbers were too:
- 4th most receiving yards for tight ends (910)
- 5th most receptions for tight ends (79)
- 4th most yards per game for tight ends (65)
- 4th for most touchdowns for tight ends (7)
Remind you that Hernandez put up all of these numbers as the second best tight end on his team (Gronk) and as the third or fourth option behind Gronk, Wes Welker and Deion Branch.
With Branch no longer apart of the team, Hernandez’s role increases. Teams will be paying a lot more attention to Gronkowski after his break out season and the defense knows that Welker is Brady’s number one target. Add the signing of former St. Louis Rams wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (51 receptions, 683 yards & five touchdowns in 2011), who will pose as the team’s deep threat to the list of players that coordinators will attempt to key on when facing off against New England.
This leaves Hernandez as the fourth most important receiver on the team which will equal a pretty good season. Whether he is playing as the slot receiver or the second tight end, he will likely be in a mismatch situation. At 6’2, 250 he is a nightmare to undersized cornerbacks. With a 40 time of 4.56 at his Pro Day, he is usually too fast for opposing linebackers. Safeties have the best bet to guard Hernandez, but they are either too slow or too small which typically means an easy catch for the tight end.
I’d like to remind you that late in the year, Hernandez was one of Brady’s favorite targets. With all of the threat surrouding him, expect a “break out” season from the tight end. If he is available after the third or fourth in your fantasy draft, TAKE HIM. I guarantee you will not regret it.