Upside Only: Swinging for the Fences at Tight End

Downside and risk shouldn't be factors when evaluating and selecting tight ends in fantasy football.

In recent years, positional scarcity has been a key component of fantasy football analysis and draft preparation. Putting a premium on positions that required only one starter per week leaves fantasy GMs with little margin for error at the flex-eligible spots that require multiple starters.

That's why articles like this one for quarterbacks were written last year and refreshed this year with 2020-specific selections. Much of the case for drafting quarterbacks late applies to tight ends as well.

These are the reasons why the late-round quarterback and tight end strategies work:

  1. Positional Scarcity
  2. Flat Scoring Distribution at Quarterback and Tight End
  3. Quarterback and Tight End are Predictable Positions
  4. Quarterback and Tight End are Replaceable Positions

Please note that all assumptions in this article are based on typical league setups (i.e. leagues with 18 or fewer roster spots that allow only one tight end starter).


Positional Scarcity

Here are the starting players in a 12-team fantasy league vs. how many available NFL starters there are at each position.

Position
Fantasy Starters
NFL Starters*
TE
12
24
RB
24-36
48
WR
36-48
52
* The "NFL Starters" column assumes that certain passing offenses aren't palatable in typical leagues (hence the reduction from 32 at tight end and 64 at receiver) and makes assumptions that some committee/third-down running backs are fantasy relevant (thus, a number greater than 32).

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