Fantasy Football: Evaluating Cowboys TE Rico Gathers’ Dynasty Value

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Many players across the NFL don’t offer immediate assistance to fantasy football teams in 2017 but are great dynasty league options, and Dallas Cowboys TE Rico Gathers may be one of those guys. While Gathers is stuck behind Jason Witten on the Cowboys depth chart currently, he has the type of upside that could make him an exceptional option in dynasty fantasy football leagues.

Gathers was a former college basketball player at Baylor, who the Cowboys took a flier on in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL draft. The thought process for the Cowboys was simple. They’d draft Gathers and see if he had the upside to become an NFL tight end because it was a low-risk, potentially high-reward move.

This is now Gathers’ second offseason of working at the NFL level, and while he didn’t tally a single regular season statistic in 2016, he started his 2017 preseason campaign with the Cowboys first touchdown. It shows just how far he’s come. But what exactly makes him a player to target in dynasty formats? A few different things.

Jason Witten’s age

Witten is essentially the iron man of the NFL. He’s missed exactly one game in his NFL career and has hauled in at least 64 passes in every season aside from his rookie year. Obviously, for a player who’s seen 90-plus targets consistently as well, the Cowboys love to utilize their tight ends in the passing game, especially as the outlet valve.

Witten isn’t going to play forever, and he’s currently 35, which honestly is much older than most tight ends in the league. Typically, tight ends see some type of a decline in their early 30’s, possibly a bit after, but Witten has been the outlier. Even still, don’t be shocking to see him decide to call it a career at some point in the next season or two, barring something crazy.

Maybe Witten stays in the league for even longer, but even still, Gathers is a player to stash on your fantasy teams, because he’s receiving rave reviews from the coaching staff as of late.

Comments about Gathers’ play

Back in April, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News reported that longtime tight ends coach Mike Pope had a special message for Gathers.

“You’re about to bring havoc to the NFL because there are no guys out there that are as tough as you,” the former Baylor basketball star recently told SportsDay. “There are no guys out there that work harder than you. You got a work ethic that the NFL is really lacking. As long as you keep that work ethic up you’re going to be great, you’re going to be a Pro Bowl tight end, you’re going to be a great tight end.”

When this is said to a player who spent all of last season on the practice squad, it means something. Especially from a guy who’s primarily coached tight ends throughout his 33-year coaching career.

The hype surrounding Gathers is only going to pick up steam, but if he’s able to utilize his 6-foot-8, 275-pound frame, he could become one of the most dynamic tight ends in the NFL. And even better? He’ll become a dynasty league dream for players who don’t throw in the towel on him.

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