15 Value Plays at Tight End

The Footballguys staff finds value at the tight end position

A fantasy draft is all about obtaining the most value with each selection. There is value available throughout a draft, and grabbing it is one of the most important keys to a successful fantasy team. In an attempt to point out this value, we asked our staff to look through the Top 150 and identify players that should outperform their draft position.

They gave us 15 names. That's a lot, especially at tight end.

If you want all of the players, keep on reading. If you just want the top vote-getter, he goes by the name of Mike Gesicki and had six votes. Finishing second was Hayden Hurst with four.

NOTE: We know all these different opinions can be a lot. And certainly, not everyone agrees on everything.

If you want to cut straight to the chase and get our "Bottom Line" for where we project every player right down to the last yard, you can see that here. That's our Bottom Line and where we plant the Footballguys Flag for all these players.

If you'd like to see more detail about how the staff sees different players, here is every wide receiver who was mentioned and the reasons why.

Player Receiving 6 Votes

Mike Gesicki, Miami

Sigmund Bloom: Gesicki took off in the second half of 2019 and should continue to be a key target after Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns opted out of the 2020 season. If Preston Williams isn't ready for Week 1, Gesicki should get an even bigger target share against a new look Patriots linebacker/safety group. Gesicki is a priority whether you wait at tight end to get a TE1 at a discount or take your TE1 early but want an upside bench play to free up your stud TE1 for trade or otherwise deprive a rival of an out after they waited at tight end.

James Brimacombe: Gesicki finished the season strong last year scoring all five of his touchdowns in the last six games. Now entering season three in the league, Gesicki is in a prime spot to continue his 2019 late-season breakout. There is a solid shot that he could open the season as the second option in the Dolphins passing game next to DeVante Parker. Preston Williams might need extra time to get ready for the season coming back from his ACL injury. Playing in 15 games in 2019 he finished as TE11, finishing with 51 receptions on 89 targets for 570 yards and five touchdowns.

Jeff Haseley: Looking at fantasy stats since Week 9 last season, Mike Gesicki was 8th among tight ends in PPR scoring. In this time frame, he finished with 1 point fewer than Darren Waller and 3 points fewer than Mark Andrews. In his last six games of 2019, he scored five touchdowns and scored in four of those six games. The 2020 Dolphins have stockpiled young talent and Gesicki is a big piece of their offensive game plan. He has the athleticism, talent, and opportunity to finish inside the top 10. Chan Gailey's offense has not been too kind to tight ends in the past, but it's hard to ignore Gesicki's rise at the end of last season and the continued growth and development of the Dolphins offense in 2020 and beyond.

Ryan Hester: He has wide receiver skills and will be catching passes from a quarterback who either A) isn't afraid to throw 50/50 balls, or B) will likely find short-to-intermediate targets as security blankets. And Miami didn't add anyone of significance to usurp Gesicki's spot in the priority list for targets.

Dan Hindery: Gesicki emerged in the second half of the 2019 season as one of Miami’s top playmakers. He was the fantasy TE8 in the second half of the season. He could take another step forward in his third season. Miami’s top two slot receivers (Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns) both opted out for the season. Gesicki, who took 72% of his snaps from the slot last season, should take on an even bigger pass-catching role from the slot in 2020. We also don’t know what Gesicki’s ceiling is yet. He is a freakish athlete. At 6’6 and 252 pounds, he ran a 4.55 forty-yard dash and had a 41-inch vertical at the combine two years ago.

Jason Wood: Finding value at the tight end position can be difficult because the difference between finishing TE6 and TE14 could be a few extra touchdowns over a full season. But Gesicki is one of the more exciting options if you wait at the position because he was an elite producer in the final half of last year. Normally you don't want to overvalue an 8-game stretch, but in this case, it was a light switch going off. The tight end position is among the hardest to figure out, and Gesicki finally found his footing midway through 2019. He came into the league an elite athlete with questionable polish. But as 2019 progressed, the film shows a more aggressive, willing blocker and a far smarter route runner. If those gains were real, he could be this year's Mark Andrews. And the Dolphins receiving corps leaves much to be desired, but Tua Tagovailoa needs reliable weapons.

Player Receiving 4 Votes

Hayden Hurst, Atlanta

James Brimacombe: Out goes Austin Hooper and in comes Hayden Hurst. That is how I am seeing it for the Falcons at the tight end position this season. Hurst will look to take over all the targets that Hooper is leaving behind and QB Matt Ryan will look to Hurst as his third option in the passing game behind Jones and Ridley. Playing second fiddle to Mark Andrews in Baltimore last season, Hurst still managed to put up a 30/349/2 stat line and will look to double those numbers in a full-time role in Atlanta's pass-first offense.

Andrew Davenport: Austin Hooper's numbers last year were a product of several favorable conditions in Atlanta that still exist in 2020. Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter and quarterback Matt Ryan both like to utilize the tight end to the tune of 121 targets to the position in 2019. The Falcons also have an elite pass tendency (sometimes resulting from a poor defense) that has seen them chuck the ball over 1,200 times the past two seasons, good for third in the NFL. It isn't necessary to believe Hayden Hurst is the next Tony Gonzalez to see the fantasy potential. His ADP leaves plenty of room for him to outperform current expectations.

Jeff Pasquino: Atlanta's offense was successful with their incorporation of Austin Hooper, who stepped up for over 70 catches and 700 yards along with five scores on average the past two seasons. As Jason states, you cannot just plug Hurst in for Hooper and expect the same results, but Hurst fits the same mold. Hurst is a former first-round pick for Baltimore - a team known for drafting tight ends well - and then making moves to give players opportunities elsewhere if they are really blocked on the depth chart. Darren Waller of the Raiders is one clear example. Hurst was plagued by injuries as a rookie and was never able to push for enough playing time, but Baltimore traded Hurst to Atlanta plus a fourth for a second and fifth-round selection, which points to both sides attributing solid value to Hurst.

Danny Tuccitto: My True Fantasy Points system assumes league-average performance from players switching teams, for which Hurst qualifies. Having said that, the expected volume of a tight end in a Dirk Koetter offense is one of the few things to hang your hat on in fantasy football. This is an offensive coach who, except for 2014, has given his tight ends upwards of 80 targets each season for the past decade.

Player Receiving 3 Votes

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