For those of you who lost Greg Olsen a few weeks ago, I feel for you. Not only was Olsen arguably the best tight end in football, he was an insanely productive fantasy weapon and the favorite target of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. While the waters appeared to be somewhat murky in terms of finding a suitable replacement for the injured Olsen initially, the Panthers may have finally discovered an athletic stand in for their star tight end. While Ed Dickson is by no means an elite pass catcher, his effectiveness at spreading out opposing defenses combined with his physicality and size, allowed him to have one of the best performances of his career last week against the Detroit Lions.
Team: Carolina Panthers
Position: Tight End
Percent Owned On Fantasy Teams: (Yahoo Fantasy): 32%
Fantasy Points Total Thru Week 5 (Half PPR): Projected: 13.90 Actual: 34.60
While the majority of Dickson’s fantasy points came in week four against the Lions (22), his presence as a reliable receiver was actually on full display two weeks ago against the Patriots where he caught three passes for 62 yards. Although Dickson’s average yards per target are highly impressive for a tight end (19.4) it’s his ability to produce after the catch that has made him an intriguing option as a viable deep threat (128 total yards after the catch, second amongst tight ends).
Despite his immense size (6’4″, 255lbs), Dickson has strong separation skills (average target separation from defensive backs: 2.3 yards), an attribute that is usually indicative of a speedy wide receiver. What makes Dickson a truly exciting prospect going forward is that he has been immensely productive without having a catch in the red zone and end zone this season. Inevitably, Dickson will completely fill the void left by Olsen who was effective all over the field and was a particularly reliable target for Newton near the end zone.
While it’s unlikely that Dickson hits the ceiling he established last week, his big-play ability and versatility as a pass catcher will only garner him more snap shares and targets as the season progresses. Even once Olsen returns from injury, Dickson can be used effectively in two tight end sets, which will alleviate some of the pressure that Olsen usually has to contend with every week. If you have been bitten by the tight end injury bug, Dickson is not only suitable a replacement player but a dynamic scorer that can quickly rack up yardage in any given game.