The Steelers may not have any elite fantasy football players this year, but here’s why Eric Ebron could be a sleeper for your fantasy team.
Eric Ebron is hardly a name that has flown under the radar. In fact, you could argue the current Steelers tight end has been overrated at points in his career. As a former 10th overall pick back in 2014, Ebron has made just one Pro Bowl (2018) and has never eclipsed more than 750 yards in a single season.
While his numbers have been more than respectable for a tight end, his career hasn’t turned out quite the way that many expected it to. Ebron’s best season came as a member of the Indianapolis Colts in 2018 with Andrew Luck leading the charge. But despite an impressive 13 touchdown season, Ebron still managed to play just 56 percent of offensive snaps, according to Pro Football Reference.
Now, Ebron is about to get his third start with a new team in his seventh NFL season, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have high hopes for him. Though Pittsburgh already has Vance McDonald on the roster, they hope to be able to utilize Ebron’s impressive skill set over the middle of the field.
Steelers tight end could be a fantasy steal
While many think that Ebron will be over-drafted in fantasy football leagues, the evidence actually supports the opposite case. According to Fantasy Pros average draft position, Ebron isn’t being selected in fantasy drafts until the 144th overall pick.
Some of the players being drafted ahead of him, on average, include Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller, Texans backup running back Duke Johnson, and even Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker. Players like Nyheme Hines, Boston Scott, and Wil Lutz are being drafted immediately after.
Of this group, Eric Ebron certainly seems like the player most worthy of taking a flier on. Though the Steelers historically have not used the tight end position a lot in the passing game, it’s possible that could change with a weapon like Ebron in the middle of the football field. For the brief 6-game stint that Pittsburgh had Ladarius Green back in 2016 (a similarly athletic receiving tight end), he earned at least 65 yards and 6 targets in 3 games. In one game against the New York Giants, Green even earned 11 targets and managed 110 yards and a touchdown.
While there’s no guarantee that Ebron will be used as the same seam-stretching target that Ladarius Green was, he could garner more targets than we’ve initially anticipated. With a deep and mostly unproven group of wideouts, Ben Roethlisberger is essentially starting from a clean slate. He may end up relying on a more experienced pass-catching target in Ebron over the middle of the field.
According to Fantasy Pros, Ebron has been taken in fantasy drafts anywhere between pick 108 and pick 246. Obviously, if you have a smaller league (8-12 teams), you could probably find a more consistent fantasy option at the tight end position. However, in deep leagues, Ebron could end up being a steal for your team late in the draft.