With their second-round pick in the 2016 Draft, the Chargers selected tight end Hunter Henry in hopes he would someday be able to replace perennial All-Star Antonio Gates. When the time comes to draft in fantasy, which of these two players would you want on your team? Let’s look at each player.
This future Hall of Famer has proven time and again to truly be one of the greatest tight ends in NFL history, but at age 36, his time left in the league is quickly dwindling. It was widely believed that last season was going to be Gates’ last, but a disappointing record and his tying of Tony Gonzalez’s touchdown record said otherwise.
Even with Hunter Henry taking many reps that previously would have gone to Gates, Gates managed to catch for over 500 yards and seven touchdowns in just 14 games. While that type of production seems very good from the outside, Gates was fairly inconsistent in terms of his fantasy production.
While Gates is indefinitely past his prime, he still retains a lot of value in fantasy because of his connection with Philip Rivers.
In his rookie season, Henry was able to serve as a successful counter-piece to Gates, accruing almost 500 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Rivers and Henry seemed to gel almost instantly, especially in the red zone, as Henry had the most touchdowns on the Chargers.
Jan 1, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (right) congratulates Hunter Henry after he scored a touchdown during the second half of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chiefs won 37-27. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
While he did split work with Gates, Henry began to take the majority of the workload towards the end of the season, which could indicate that he will continue to be used more in the future. Fantasy-wise, Henry started off very slow with little playing time, but he quickly developed into a consistent and reliable tight end.
Since Gates is on the team, it is questionable whether Henry will see a major uptick in production, but he will remain a major factor in the Chargers’ offense.
Let us know in the comments who you would take first in a fantasy draft and why.