Eric Ebron moved on from Detroit, the team that drafted him after not living up to his first round draft pedigree. He moved onto the Colts and broke out like most expected him to do years ago scoring the most touchdowns among TE’s. The Colts have added some new weapons over the offseason, but this has not seemed to effect his draft stock much as he is still going as he is still going as one of the TE’s you have to spend a higher price on going as the 6th TE off the board in the top of the 6th. Lets figure out if he is worth the draft price after we breakdown how good Ebron really was in 2018. (All stats are based on half point PPR scoring.)
Ebron had the best season of his career with the Colts finally breaking out like most expected him to do before heading to Indianapolis. He finished with a stat line of 66 receptions on 110 targets for 750 yards and 13 receiving Touchdowns adding 1 rushing Touchdown. The 13 Touchdowns were 3 more than the closest TE to him Travis Kelce. His per game averages were 4.1 receptions a games on 6.8 targets for 46.9 yards at 11.4 yards per reception and 6.8 yards per target scoring .8 Touchdowns per game. He was solid for a TE even if he did not end up finding the endzone. All of this gave Ebron a TE4 overall finish scoring 189.2 total fantasy points averaging 11.8 points per game. Ebron was as consistent as it got at the TE position in 2018 and went under 5 points only 4 times. QB Andrew Luck finally being healthy played a big part in this as he has always target his TE heavily and has supported 2 at a time in the past. This is why Ebron was able to produce most of the time even with fellow TE Jack Doyle on the field. In terms of his total finishes amongst TE’s, Ebron finishes 6th in receptions, 4th in targets, 5th in yards, and 1st in Touchdowns. As for his per game average finishes at TE, Ebron was 5th in receptions per game, 4th in targets, 8th in yards, 20th in yards per reception, and 19th in yards per target.
Ebron was the top endzone target for Luck and I helped propel him to some big games and a top 5 finish. He had only 4 games under 5 points with one of them being a 0 in week 11 against the Titans. Jack Doyle played in this game with him and even though Doyle was hurt a good portion of the season, Ebron still produces well sharing the field with him even having his 2nd best week of the season scoring 26.6 points in week 10 against the Jaguars. In games with Doyle, Ebron averaged 13.3 fantasy points and only went under 5 points once with the week 11 goose egg. He went over 20 points twice, once in the aforementioned week 10 and in week 5 scoring his season high 27 points against the Patriots. He only caught 60% of his passes which is less than desirable, but he was the only real threat to defenses for a majority of the season that was not names T.Y. Hilton. Andrew Luck being behind the number 3 overall offensive according to Pro Football Focus played a role in Ebron’s success as he was finally able to be kept upright and rifle the ball with more than 3 seconds for his receivers to get open. Ebron has a tough act to follow with his 13 Touchdown campaign now behind him and this is one of the reasons to draft Ebron with a bit of caution.
Ebron finally showcased his first round talent with the Colts and he did it while sharing the field with one of Andrew Lucks favorite targets and while seeing tough coverage to boot. His Touchdown rate is something that is hard to expect when drafting him, but it is promising that his per game average was higher when Doyle was on the field rather than having him off it. The biggest detriment to Ebron attempting to repeat his successful 2018 season is the signing of another big target, WR Devin Funchess, and the draft selection of WR Parris Campbell. The Colts only real threats at WR and TE were Ebron, Jack Doyle, and T.Y. Hilton. He will now have to compete with another redzone threat in Funchess and will see more targets taken away from him by the rookie Campbell. The Colts addressed their need for a better selection of targets for Luck and it will hurt Ebron a bit. These additions will make it tough for Ebron to repeat his massive Touchdown total and it will effect his plus 100 target share. This is not to say Ebron is not a good TE for fantasy. He gained a solid connection with Luck last season and he will still be a top target for him. He could very well see close to 10 Touchdowns again and will more than likely be targeted over 80 times. His scoring ability will give him a high ceiling, but all the new additions to the offense will lower his consistent floor. He could very well finish as a top 10 TE again in 2019 with the chance to be inside the top 5 if he sees enough targets. He is too good for the Colts to be phased out of the offense entirely and his draft price could drop after all the additions made to the offense.
I think that Ebron will finish higher than Doyle in 2019. I know that may seem like an obvious statement, but I have seen the argument that Doyle will finish better at the position. I think Doyle is talented, but I do not think he has the scoring ability that Ebron does. The addition of Funchess is what scares me off of him a bit. With 3 big targets in the redzone for Luck, Ebron will have a much tougher time scoring double digit Touchdowns in 2019. His targets will come down and this will make him less safe than he was in 2018. You made need to pick and chose when to start him over just plugging him to you line up every week. With that said, I still think Ebron’s talent will shine through and a top 10 finish is a strong possibility. Top 5 may be a bit of a stretch in my opinion, but he should still be a top TE in 2019 with a high ceiling giving his fantasy owners a few big games over the season. His draft price what scares me away. 6th round is a bit high for me to pick a TE in the first place and if I do I want to be able to have a consistent one that I don’t have to pick and chose when to start him. Draft him knowing that he will have a less consistent ceiling, but that he will give you some big performances throughout the 2019 season.
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By Ryan Larrison, Contributor, Fantasy Football for the People