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Fantasy football tight end sleeper candidates in 2015

The tight end position can often be overlooked in fantasy football drafts. We run down some of the tight end sleepers that could be a key part of a championship season.

The common formula for any appointed fantasy football sleeper is simple. First, you must be coming off an abysmal year; this works especially well if the opportunity was there, but the player still managed to some how produce next to nothing. Next, said opportunity must be around the following season. It's hard to qualify as a sleeper if you're poised to lose targets because of that poor performance the year before. And finally, it helps to have talent. Sure, every NFL player is the elite of the elite in comparison to all other football players throughout the land, but when weighed against one another, the differences become microscopic (and matter). When given the opportunity, Tyler Eifert, for example, would (and will) most likely produce more than, let's say Ben Watson, with the same amount of opportunity.

Vernon Davis is the first that comes to mind when using this formula. Having scored nearly all of his fantasy points during the first 45 minutes of the season, Davis will once again be asked to produce another 13 touchdowns as he did only two seasons ago. That might not be as tough as it appears, as Davis averaged five more fantasy points per game with Crabtree out of the lineup.

Given the opportunity, here are a few more players who qualify as sleepers this season.

Jason Witten

For seven consecutive seasons Witten finished as a Top 8 tight end, only failing to continue that streak last season when he slid all the way to No. 10. 2014 was the least targets Witten had seen since 2006. Though the Dallas Cowboys pieced together their highest run percentage since the Jason Garrett era began last season, a return to his typical 100-plus target form seems more likely than not for Witten. And given that, you can currently draft him in double-digit round territory, I find it hard to believe that Witten won't return his value.

Jared Cook

If some random stranger walked up to you along the sidewalk and told you Jared Cook accumulated a career-high in both targets and receptions last season, you probably . . . well, you would run. But besides that, you wouldn't believe him. Despite those totals, Cook still produced only the third-most yards from scrimmage and touchdowns that he had ever caught for in his underwhelming six-year career. He's seen more waivers in the last two months than any back-to-back Top 15 player at any skill position has seen, maybe ever. I don't blame those results on him. Nick Foles isn't an enormous upgrade over Shauntin Hillavis, but he will surely be asked to continue featuring Cook in the passing game. For the reasonable price of absolutely nothing, you can take Cook after you select your first and only kicker and cross your fingers.

Jordan Reed

In a paragraph that was initially reserved for Niles Paul, Jordan Reed saw his opportunity suddenly flare during Washington's first preseason game as Paul hit the ground with a dislocated ankle, an injury that will unfortunately keep him out for the entirety of the 2015 season. Prior to his injury, Paul had vaulted atop the Washington depth chart and continued turning heads at camp. And admittedly, Paul is the better all-around player (always has been). But where there is life, there is hope (Michael Scott maybe said that) and now is the time for Reed to shine. Though his injury history remains a concern, there is no longer any competition at his position. His price tag alone makes Reed a sleeper worthy of your consideration.

Josh Hill

The departure of Jimmy Graham opens the door for Hill, coming off five touchdowns in 2014. It is unlikely Hill sees anything near the number of targets Graham saw week-in and week-out, but the New Orleans Saints have to figure out some ways to replace Graham's offensive production. Hill remains a late round flyer, but if you can stash him on your bench, he could be a solid value option as the season progresses.