The tight end is one of the tougher positions to draft. There are only a small handful that can change a game, but the difficult part is figuring out when they should be drafted. Do you take the studs before receivers and before RB2’s? Here I will narrow down some options on guys that you want to draft early, some players you can wait on, and players you don’t want to take this season.
Studs – These tight ends will produce week in and week out, so you shouldn’t have any problem getting consistent production out of these guys.
Kelce is the top tight end available this season. He’s just one of two tight ends being targeted at least nine times per game last season, but we could see even more production from Kelce this season. It’s still unknown whether Tyreek Hill will suit up as a Chief again next year, as he has been suspended from team activities for the accusation of assault on his 3-year-old son. This leaves a lot of questions for the Chiefs offense as Hill accounted for 23% of the teams targets, 29% of the teams receiving yards, and 24% of the teams receiving touchdowns.
I’m not saying Kelce will account for everything that they could miss from Hill because Kelce was the next option, accounting for 26% of targets, 26% of receiving yards, and 20% of touchdowns, but the hole missing on offense means Kelce shouldn’t see a decline in Fantasy production this season and he should be the top tight end taken in your draft.
In just his second year in the league, Kittle has cemented himself as a top three tight end. In just his second season, he broke the all-time season receiving yards record with 1377 yards and became the first tight end to lead the league in yards after catch. Kittle also found himself atop the leader board in avoided tackles. His explosive play ability can completely shake up any Fantasy week. Kittle saw 25% of the 49ers’ target share last season while the team hardly saw any changes in its receiving core (except for the addition of Jordan Matthews), so his production should roll over to this year. He will also have Jimmy Garoppolo back under center after recovering from a ACL tear that kept him out most of last season.
Kittle’s only flaw last season was that he only found the end zone five times. He will need to at least double that this season to be a stud, but I don’t think that should be a problem.
Sleepers – These tight ends may fly in under the radar. Be on lookout because finding a consistent tight end can be tough for Fantasy Football purposes.
Henry was supposed to make his first big impact in the league last year but missed the full regular season due to a torn right ACL. Henry is ready to go and ready to make a mark with the Los Angeles Chargers. Phillip Rivers has used Antonio Gates as his main target over the years so finding the Henry shouldn’t be anything new for the 37-year-old quarterback.
In his two seasons in the league, Henry has racked up 117 catches, 1,057 yards, and 12 touchdowns in 29 games. We are hoping for a healthy season for the 24-year-old tight end so he can make an impact in one of the leagues best offenses. Look for Hunter Henry to have a break out year and you should be able to find him at a bargain price.
Fant was selected 20th overall by the Denver Broncos and should serve as a pretty good option for Joe Flacco, who has made a career out of using his tight ends. Over the last three seasons, Flacco has targeted his tight ends on 23% of his passing plays, which is fifth highest in the NFL only behind Carson Wentz (32%), Alex Smith (31%), Andrew Luck (26%), and Marcus Mariota (26%).
Fant is a pass-catching tight end out of Iowa who brings a lot of athleticism to the team. He will be too big for defensive backs and too quick for linebackers to guard man-to-man. If you don’t want to worry about drafting Kelce, Ertz, or Kittle super early in the draft, then you should be able to wait until later rounds for Fant, because the casual fan won’t know about him until it’s too late to pick him up.
Busts – These guys won’t live up to the hype this season. They either won’t produce at all or will be drafted too high and can’t live up to expectations.
Olsens’ prime is well in the past. He’s only played 16 games total throughout the last two seasons due to two right foot fractures and a ruptured plantar fascia in his right foot. He has not broken 300 receiving yards in either of the last two seasons and has only scored five touchdowns. At 34-years-old, Olsens’ career looks to be coming to an end, especially with Ian Thomas looking to take over at the tight end position in Carolina. You shouldn’t have any reason to draft Olsen this year.
WARNING: Ebron is not a complete bust. Please read below to find out why I listed him here.
Ebron came out last season and surprised a lot of people, but I’m not counting on the same production this season. Ebron benefited last season from an injured Jack Doyle and a lack of a receiving core. We will assume Doyle will be healthy for this season, meaning less playing time for Ebron. In fact, last season, Ebron only saw 27.3 snaps per game while Doyle was active compared to 45.7 per game while he was inactive. While Ebron will be the favorable Fantasy option of the two, I would be sure not to take Ebron too early.
His stock also declines with the additions to Devin Funchess and Paris Campbell. These two can actually give Luck help with the passing game overall will hurt Ebrons’ production. It’ll be very tough for Ebron to see the same target share this season and just as tough for him to find the endzone like he did in 2018. Ebron was a huge Fantasy producer because of his ability to be found in the endzone, as twelve percent of his receptions went for TD’s, which will be hard to replicate this upcoming season.