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Rams Tight Ends

Will Allen, Parkinson have value?

Tyler Higbee tore his ACL and MCL in a January 14th playoff game. Sean McVay confirmed the expected this week, that Higbee is a candidate to open the season on the PUP list. Will some other tight end have value? That one is hazy.

A story at RamsWire maintains Higbee is still one of the team's 24 most important players for 2024. That's a pretty big number, almost half the roster, and Jimmy Garoppolo also makes the list, so I'm not going to make too much of it. But mentioning his importance as a safety valve on third downs, the article says there's no question who will be the team's best tight end when healthy.

I've been holding Davis Allen (last year's fifth-round pick, pictured) in a dynasty league. He didn't play much last year, but had a pair of 4-catch games late in the season, then 2 more in the playoff game Higbee was knocked out of. As a senior at Clemson, he caught 39 balls for 443 yards and 5 TDs; the kind of guy worth rostering in dynasty.

But then the Rams went out and signed Colby Parkinson from division rival Seattle, giving him a three-year, $22.5 million contract, with $10 million guaranteed. That kind of makes it look like I'm wasting a roster spot on Allen, with Parkinson seemingly being paid like a starter, not a modest insurance policy. What exactly he's done to earn that kind of money isn't clear: 57 catches and 4 TDs in 54 games as part of Seattle's three tight-end committee. But the money seems to make Parkinson look like a better bet to open the season as the starter.

The other question is if we should really be placing too much stock in any of these three players. The Rams haven't used the position a ton the past couple of years. Even in TE-premium leagues, there are probably better options.

The past two season, all Los Angeles tight ends have combined for 143 catches for 1432 yards and 6 touchdowns. Only eight teams have completed fewer passes to the position, and only eight teams have fewer yards from their tight ends. Only one team, the Steelers (oddly enough), has thrown fewer touchdowns -- granted, the Steelers haven't thrown many touchdowns to anyone the last two years.

Table sorted by TE receptions.

TEAM TIGHT ENDS, 2022-2023
Kansas City275308024
LA Chargers173163213
NY Jets16716506
Green Bay15314698
New England152162511
NY Giants14514686
LA Rams14314326
San Francisco136199118
New Orleans135140519
Tampa Bay12711789
Las Vegas11813757

I remain intrigued by Allen. His 12 catches last season (including the playoffs) came on just 13 targets, which makes him seem like a nice safety valve. There's that college production, also a selling point.

But realistically, he's one of three guys with a reasonable shot of leading the team in production at the position, with Parkinson about as likely to open as the starter and Higbee perhaps more likely to be the guy by Week 6 or 7. All in an offense that doesn't complete a ton of passes to tight ends, especially around the end zone.

Hard to make a strong case for any of three in fantasy leagues.

--Andy Richardson

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