What can we expect from Sudfeld in '13?

New England Patriots tight end Zach Sudfeld is the very definition of the word "wildcard" when it comes to the NFL. So goes it when you are an undrafted free agent who has earned a role on a team that less than a year ago had arguably the best TE tandem in league history. When the Pats open their 2013 campaign against the Buffalo Bills this weekend, Sudfeld will be their top TE option, with Aaron Hernandez having been released and Rob Gronkowski still at least a couple of weeks away.

Time will tell exactly how much of a role the rookie will have, but Ben Volin of the Boston Globe thinks that Sudfeld will play "[m]aybe 30-40 snaps" on Sunday.

That's roughly half of the snaps the Pats averaged last season, when Gronk and Hernandez typically were on the field for every play. The key to Sudfeld's fantasy value will be around the end zone, and it's a safe bet that Sudfeld will be in the mix in those situations as a TD threat, especially with Gronkowski out of the mix.

Looking down the line, ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss noted Monday that Sudfeld has replaced Hernandez as the Pats "move" tight end, which seems to imply that the rookie should maintain a significant offensive role even after Gronk returns.

There is quite a bit of depth at tight end this season for fantasy purposes, but it's still a tad surprising that Sudfeld is owned in fewer than 50 percent of ESPN leagues. We can't expect him to rise to the top five amongst fantasy tight ends, but he's certainly worth a waiver pickup as a TE2 or in leagues that allowed TEs in the flex spot. If anyone can coax unexpected stats out of an unknown player like Sudfeld, it would be coach Bill Belichick and OC Josh McDaniels.