Late Round Tight Ends

How to find some late-round TEs with big fantasy upside

When it comes to picking out NFL tight ends for fantasy purposes, it does not take much to figure out who the top candidates are this season. If you are looking for some late value picks, however, you have come to the right place. What I want to find for all of us here are tight ends that should be getting several targets a game. With five or more balls headed their way each week, they should be able to haul in at least three on average and have a shot at 40-50 yards a week and possibly a touchdown. That may not sound like much, but that works out to be 48 catches and 640-800 yards a year, which would put any TE right near the Top 12 last season (provided he scored a few times). Not bad at all.

So what's the plan? I have looked at several different ways to pick up some valuable tight ends later in fantasy drafts before, but this time I am going to get a bit more scientific. Here I will take a look at an overall ADP list and pick out three different types of teams. Oddly enough, I care more about the wide receivers on a given team than about the tight ends. The reasoning is pretty simple - if the quarterback on a given team has limited options, the ball has to go somewhere. What better option than a big guy over the middle?

I broke the 32 NFL teams down and kept the ones that fit into three basic categories:

  1. Teams with no WRs in the Top 50 ADP List
  2. Teams with only 1 WR in the Top 30 ADP List
  3. Teams with 1-2 WRs in the Top 50 ADP List but none in the Top 30

Here are the results:


This may be surprising to some, but there are usually a few teams each year with absolutely terrible wide receiver options. This season has FOUR, which might be a record. Washington, Buffalo, Miami and Baltimore all fall into this group for 2019. The Bills do not have a clear option to target at the tight end position, but the other three teams could offer up some value. Let's break down each team's depth chart at the position:

Washington - Do you still believe in Jordan Reed? Dare you take him as a TE2 (ADP of TE17)? Can he stay healthy? Will the Washington offense be productive enough to make Reed a TE1 once again? Too many questions in my book, and too many other TE2s with TE1 upside to risk a pick on Reed.

Baltimore - Lamar Jackson is now firmly in place as the starting quarterback for the Ravens, and while he hit Andrews for a few big plays last season, Andrew's mid-TE2 ADP (TE19) may be more towards his ceiling than his floor. Andrews will have to share playing time - and targets - with 2018's first-round selection Hayden Hurst. There is not much upside in taking Andrews at TE19, even if he repeats his modest numbers (34-552-3) from last year. Hurst may actually be a better value, but his ADP keeps him on the waiver wire and out of nearly any draft format.

Miami - As typically happens with rookie tight ends, Mike Gesicki struggled in 2018 to be anywhere close to relevant as a fantasy tight end. Year 2 does not look much more promising, as the Dolphins look to be only competing for the first overall draft pick in 2020. With preseason reports describing Gesicki as having a disappointing offseason so far, Gesicki is an easy pass even at a very cheap (TE29) ADP.

Bottom line from Category 1: This group likely comes down to Jordan Reed to salvage any value, and the likelihood of that happening is not very high. Focus on the other groups for better prospects.

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