Should you draft Scott Chandler this season?
Let me be as clear on this one as possible.
Not if you are in a points-per-reception (PPR) league.
Maybe if you are in a TD only league. I get it, “maybe” isn’t exactly a clear answer, but hear me out.
As we noted with Stevie Johnson in last week’s column, the QB play in Buffalo leaves a lot to be determined. Let’s first take a look at Chandler in PPR formats.
When it comes to fantasy, I never see a need in having a back-up tight end. Once you get through the top performers, you can try to pick up someone off of waivers for your bye week. While Chandler puts up some decent numbers, he isn’t one of the top 10 fantasy tight ends. The list of players that should be drafted ahead of Chandler includes the following (in no particular order):
Jimmy Graham, Jason Witten, Tony Gonzalez, Greg Olsen, Heath Miller, Brandon Myers, Rob Gronkowski, Jermaine Gresham, Owen Daniels, Martellus Bennett, Jermichael Finley, Antonio Gates, Kyle Rudolph and Brandon Pettigrew
This isn’t a knock on Chandler, but the majority of these players are targeted significantly more than he is, and have superior QB play. There are some exceptions – particularly Rudolph – who does not have a great QB. He is coming into his second year and should become more of a consistent safety valve for Ponder this season. While Gates is on the downside of his career, he is showing signs of taking better care of himself, and could be a late round bargain. With at least 14 names ahead of Chandler in PPR formats, look to him as a bye-week pick-up.
If you are in TD only leagues, then Chandler is a borderline starter. Last season he finished tied for 8th in touchdowns with 6, and should be a red-zone option for the Bills this season. The fact that he is 6’7, has a new QB, and good hands make him a viable option if this is your league’s format. But if you miss out on the top tier tight ends, I wouldn’t take Chandler, or anyone, until the late rounds.
Chandler’s chances can also be hurt this season by a healthy Mike Caussin and 7th-round pick Chris Gragg. Both have shown flashes so far, and could factor into the passing game this season. Chandler has made a Wolverine-like recovery from last season’s knee surgery, and let’s hope that he is healthy for the start of the season. Just because Chandler may not be a top tier fantasy option, he should remain an important piece to the Bills’ offense, despite the presence of Caussin and Gragg.
In summary, I will look at Scott Chandler as a viable bye-week pick-up in my PPR leagues, and a late round starter in TD-only leagues.