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Fantasy Football: Why Coby Fleener is a Bit of a Risk

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There are a number of fantasy football drafts being held this weekend, so let's look at Colts tight end Coby Fleener, and why Stampede Blue's Josh Wilson considers him a bit of a risky pick in fantasy this year.

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There will be a large number of fantasy football drafts held this weekend, I'm sure.  In fact, I'm going to a draft with some friends this weekend, and I jokingly told one of them that I'd write an article about why he should take Trent Richardson with his first pick.

But, since Justin already looked at Richardson's fantasy value this year, and because I was joking, let's look at a guy who in all seriousness I really would caution you on taking, and that's Colts tight end Coby Fleener.  He's a good tight end and he'll probably end up starting for some team in your league, so I'm not ignoring that.  Rather, what I know is that it's all about value.  If you get Fleener with a good value, then he'll be a good pick.  But let me explain why taking might be a big risk.

Last year, Fleener played in all 16 games, 15 of them as the Colts' clear number one tight end.  He caught 52 passes for 608 yards and 4 touchdowns.  While some were disappointed with those numbers, I thought that Fleener had a fine year.  Not spectacular, by any means, but it was still a good year.  He ranked 13th among tight ends in the league last year in fantasy points scored.  For a second year tight end, there's nothing really wrong with those numbers, as they're solid.  But here's the thing - for 15 games last year, Fleener was unquestionably the team's number one tight end.  For nine games, Fleener was really the only legitimate receiving option on the Colts beside for T.Y. Hilton.  While I wouldn't consider it a bad year for Fleener last year, to expect him to get more chances this year is a stretch (he saw 88 targets last year).

The Colts are loaded with receiving talent.  T.Y. Hilton, Reggie Wayne, and Hakeem Nicks lead the group and all three are legitimate threats.  Dwayne Allen is returning and he's now without a doubt the team's number one tight end.  Fleener will certainly get a lot of playing time, as the Colts run a two-tight base offense a lot, so Fleener and Allen will both be in at the same time often.  But Hilton, Wayne, Nicks, Allen, and then even guys like Donte Moncrief, Da'Rick Rogers, Griff Whalen, and running backs Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw will all be competing with Coby Fleener for targets.  There are some guys - like T.Y. Hilton - about who there shouldn't be any concern from fantasy owners about drafting.  But then guys like Coby Fleener?  Yeah, there should probably be some concern there.  Not because Fleener isn't good nor because Fleener won't be playing, but because I don't think he's going to be getting more opportunities than he did last year when he was the number one tight end and for over half of the season one of only two legitimate receiving threats - and despite all of that, he still ranked 13th in fantasy points among tight ends.

Sure, he could have a breakout year and he could be more productive despite having less opportunities, and that's why Fleener will likely be a starter in your league.  He's consistent, solid, and has the potential to have a great game.  But before you draft Coby Fleener, make sure you stop and consider that it's a bit of a risk to take him.  One that could pay off, certainly, but still a risk nonetheless.

Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.