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TE Eric Ebron | Detroit Lions | 4th Year
2016 Stats: 61 receptions for 711 yards, 1 TD, 1 rushing TD
If it feels like we’ve been here before regarding Ebron as a fantasy breakout candidate, it’s because we literally have been. Last year he set career-highs in receptions (61), targets (85) and yards (711), but he also missed three games and acknowledged he was banged up beyond that. So from a certain perspective he did breakout in 2016, but Ebron seems to consistently be leaving production on the table.
The Lions added tight ends in free agency (Darren Fells) and the draft (Michael Roberts), which is expected to take some blocking off Ebron’s plate and allow him to be used more often as a mismatch in the passing game.
Anquan Boldin is leaving behind a team-high eight touchdowns and 23 red zone targets from last season, as well as 67 receptions. Ebron only has seven receiving touchdowns in his career, including five in 2015, due in part to a total of 19 red zone targets in three seasons. That’s inexplicable, and borderline inexcusable, for a man of Ebron’s size (6-foot-4, 253 pounds) to be used that little in the scoring area. Health has probably played some role in that, but the stars seem to be aligning for Ebron to at least reach double-digits in red zone targets in 2017.
Until further notice, a missed game or two has to be built in to any season-long projection for Ebron. His current ADP (TE14 in 12-team standard leagues, via Fantasy Football Calculator) reflects some lingering pessimism about durability, with only a slight bump (TE13) in PPR leagues. But there’s still top-10 fantasy tight end potential here, and if it doesn’t happen this year it may never happen.
Eric Ebron 2017 Projection:
68 receptions, 750 yards, 5 TDs
Breakout Percentage: 50%