Campfire Chat: Favorite Rookie TE - Footballguys

The Footballguys staff discusses their favorite rookie tight end

In a redraft league, considering their respective ADP, which rookie tight end would you most want to have on your roster? And "none" can be an answer.

Editor's Note: This question was asked an answered before the Thursday night Preseason Week 1 games were played.

Daniel Simpkins: It's not a very high probability bet to take chances on a rookie tight end, but as we've seen with Hunter Henry and Evan Engram, it can pay off. It would depend on how many bench spots I had, but I could see taking a late shot on Dallas Goedert in a league with deep benches. Our Sigmund Bloom probably shares my love of Goedert because, like Sigmund, I love athletic basketball converts as tight ends. They generally understand how to use their bodies to box out people in space, which is something useful to utilize when you are making contested catches. Goedert is also a very good route runner for his size and creates separation down the field. I know he will split time with Zach Ertz, but if any tight end can make a first-year splash, especially in end zone work, it's him.

Jason Wood: The right answer is to pass on rookie tight ends in redraft leagues. Even the best tight ends in history, like Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Rob Gronkowski, and Travis Kelce struggled as rookies. It's perfectly natural because the position requires a steep learning curve since tight ends need to learn route-running, build rapport with the quarterbacks, and also become effective blockers.

Ryan Hester: This is a hard pass. Sure, the rookie tight ends are basically free in redraft leagues, but there are other high-upside targets in the same range. Vance McDonald has shown his athletic ability and plays on a top-tier offense. Vernon Davis is still a star athlete who has TE1 upside any time Jordan Reed doesn't play. It's not worth getting cute and taking a chance on any rookie tight end in this year's class.

Chad Parsons: This is about the safest rookie class of tight ends to pick none of the above in redraft. Mike Gesicki has the clearest path to a starting role, but as a mid-TE2 ADP, there is minimal profit potential. Also, I have no trust in Gesicki's talent (did not see his measured athleticism translate to the field often enough) to seize, hold, and thrive with a starting job. Hayden Hurst has Mark Andrews within the same depth chart and I like Andrews better despite being drafted two rounds later. Dallas Goedert, if Zach Ertz were to miss time, is the best bet from a skill set and situation standpoint to log starting caliber fantasy production for a stretch of the season.

Andy Hicks: The only rookie I want to consider at tight end now that Hayden Hurst has missed a couple of practices is Mike Gesicki in Miami. Even then there will be many options ahead of him that will go undrafted. As others have mentioned the hit ratio of rookie tight ends is very low and unless it is a very deep draft, they should not even be considered.

Devin Knotts: Agree with most here that it really isn't a great strategy to take a rookie tight end based on what history has told us. However, a guy that I have found myself liking more and more is Jordan Akins. The Texans don't have a great option at the tight end position, and Akins is the type of tight end that you can split out wide much like a Jimmy Graham. He is not someone who I would draft, but if you see him do something in preseason he may be worth a pickup.

Will Grant: In a PPR league with a tight end bonus (+1.5 PPR) that allows you to start two tight ends each week, I'm probably STILL passing on rookie tight ends this year. There just isn't enough upside to consider any of them. In 90% of fantasy leagues, even PPR leagues, I'll only draft one tight end during the draft play the waiver wire during the season if someone emerges.

Bob Henry: I'm generally not chasing any of this year's rookie class in redraft / best ball leagues, although I have selected Mike Gesicki and Dallas Goedert in the last rounds a couple of times as a TE3 with potential big weekly upsides.

While not a rookie, Jake Butt might as well be one, and he's my numero uno option in best ball drafts when I opt to go with a third tight end. Butt has gone as early as the 17th or 18th rounds on occasion, but he can also be drafted as late as the 20th, too.

Phil Alexander: The other guys have it right. There is no Evan Engram in this year's rookie tight end class. There may not even be a George Kittle (last year's TE19). Knowing what we know today, the move is to pass on rookie tight ends in your draft entirely. But I will be keeping an eye on the camp battle between Hurst and Andrews in Baltimore.

The Ravens have leaned on tight ends during the Flacco/Harbaugh era. Most recently, Ben Watson (37 years old and fresh off a busted Achilles) quietly finished as the cumulative TE11 in PPR leagues last year and Dennis Pitta was the TE8 in 2016 on the strength of 121 targets. Baltimore's willingness to invest two of their first four draft picks at tight end is a strong indicator they plan on keeping the position heavily involved in the passing game.

It's most likely Hurst and Andrews cannibalize each other's fantasy value as rookies, but if it becomes clear one or the other will receive the majority of the snaps, you can at least look to the Ravens for your weekly tight end streaming needs.

Justin Howe: I could conceivably see another Engram-esque debut from one of these guys. It's true that rookie tight ends usually falter, mostly due to having to learn two separate facets (blocking and receiving) right off the bat. But Gesicki and Goedert are hardly traditional tight ends; they block in-line about as often as I do. Both could be worked into their offenses a little quicker than most as slot-only specialists.

And in that vein, I don't mind making Goedert your team's TE3 in redraft leagues. He didn't ace the combine like Gesicki did, but he looks to me like the more dangerous player. Zach Ertz has long battled nagging injuries, and besides, this offense runs two tight ends frequently. Brent Celek is out of the picture, too, so Ertz could be held in to block a bit more than usual. If Goedert is set loose in last year's Trey Burton role, he could thrive. Goedert averaged 82 catches at 15.2 yards a pop over his final two years of school.

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