The Lowdown – Tight ends

Niners tight end George Kittle had over 1,000 yards receiving last season.

The tight end position in fantasy football can be like having great tires on an old, beat up minivan. Sure, you have great tires, but do they really make much of a difference on the overall product? After all, even with great tires, the minivan is still beat up, right?

Confused? Ok, sorry. That analogy needs an explanation. So stick with us on this.

In 2019, only three tight ends scored more than six touchdowns, and none of them were named Kelce or Kittle. Only six tight ends scored six or more touchdown in 2019. Again, none of them named Kelce or Kittle.

Clearly, as we state in our draft rankings, the top two tight ends in fantasy football – the only tight ends we would even think about drafting in the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th rounds – are Travis Kelce and George Kittle. Both had over 1,000 yards receiving in 2019, both had at least 85 catches, but both scored only five touchdowns. If you’re in a PPR league, with heavy emphasis on yardage, these are your guys.

Once you get past Kelce and Kittle, you could feel good about drafting Mark Andrews and Zach Ertz. Andrews caught a tight end best 10 touchdowns in 2019, and his role should only increase in the Baltimore offense. Ertz is a consistent producer.

But after the top four guys, what tight end makes you feel all warm and fuzzy? Darren Waller? Maybe. Had 90 catches 1,000+ yards in 2019. Are you confident that a guy who had only 18 catches in his first four seasons is suddenly a big-time talent? Hunter Henry? Love his ability, hate his injury history. Evan Engram? Intriguing, but…

So there’s the point. If you can draft one of the first four tight ends in our rankings – the guys in the top two tiers – do it. But if you can’t, don’t sweat it. You’ll find a guy. In other words, who needs the new tires? (Not sure the analogy is working for us either, but what the hey).

We like a lot of the young emerging tight ends in the league. T.J. Hockenson in Detroit looks like a guy who could become a dynamic player. Mike Gesicki had some nice moments for Miami in 2019. Dawson Knox, Noah Fant, Dallas Goedert, Blake Jarwin, Ian Thomas – all interesting young guys. Hayden Hurst and Austin Hooper have chances to put up very solid seasons with their new teams.

Jared Cook and Darren Fells were quite productive last season, and although we think it’s unlikely that they’re that good again in 2020, you could do a lot worse. Gronk back with Tom Brady? Who knows what could happen, but it could be fun. O.J. Howard with Brady? Well that could be something.

Really want to roll the dice and have some fun? Use the streaming option at tight end – pick up a new guy each week based on matchup. You might be surprised how well it can work.

Bottom line – you want Kelce, Kittle, Andrews and Ertz. If you don’t get them, don’t panic and draft someone else way too high. You’ll find tight ends later in the draft – and even on the waiver wire every week – who can fill the spot sufficiently.