Name a tight end who has seen their dynasty stock increase or decrease based on the last few weeks of changes in the NFL. Describe how this affects their value moving forward.
Adam Trautman, NO - While there are higher profile choices, I'll highlight the second-year tight end out of Dayton. Most tight ends, even those who become all-time greats, struggle as rookies. Trautman was no exception as he played sparingly as the Saints No. 3. But Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis let Jared Cook go and did nothing to bolster the position in free agency. That tells me they're convinced Trautman is ready to assume the No. 1 role. The best time to gain an advantage at the tight end position in dynasty leagues is almost always after their rookie seasons. The good news is Trautman still won't cost a lot, and you'll know if he's going to be a difference-maker this season. If not, you can move on.
Jonnu Smith, NE - Jonnu Smith, NE - Smith saw his value skyrocket after signing with New England, only to see it plummet a few days later after the Patriots signed Hunter Henry. The truth probably lies in the middle and the Henry signing likely makes Smith an attractive player to acquire at his current price point. It is not thought the team has many options at the receiver position or a high-volume passing quarterback. The tight ends will be prominent.
I see value in Smith. It's easy to get hung up on Hunter Henry's signing a day after Smith's ruining Smith's value, but he's still in line for a career-high in targets, he was the higher priority for the Patriots, and the wide receiver still lacks a #1, giving Smith a shot to lead the team in targets. He should still be a target for teams that don't take a tight end early in fantasy drafts.
Hunter Henry, NE - Jeff and Sigmund mentioned that Jonnu Smith’s value probably gets a bump in New England. Not sure whether I agree, but it seems pretty obvious that Hunter Henry’s dynasty value takes a nosedive. Henry goes from playing with one of the most exciting young passers in the league to a run-first offense triggered by a quarterback who averaged 177.1 passing yards a game last year. Granted, Cam Newton was getting acclimated to a new system in a pandemic year and had a paucity of credible pass-catchers, but it still seems pretty far-fetched that Newton could make two tight ends fantasy-relevant in his age-32 season. If he can only make one tight end fantasy-relevant, my money is on Smith. As they might say in New England, Henry’s dynasty value has gone down cellar.
In my opinion, Jonnu Smith falls off in terms of value. He broke the bank early in free agency, only to see the Patriots sign Hunter Henry later in the week. This is not great for Smith, as the hope was he would land in a TE1 role. Smith has yet to reach 500 yards in a season and will find himself in a more muddled role than he projected entering free agency.
Evan Engram, NYG - With Kenny Golladay coming to the Giants, I think Engram becomes the odd-man-out in that offense. Engram’s case for a fantasy target was that he had seen seven targets per game since being drafted in 2017. Last year, he stayed healthy, led the team in targets, and still finished as the TE18. WIth Golladay in New York and Saquon Barkley expected back and likely commanding ten-plus targets per game, that should cut into Engram’s workload. Given his inability to finish as a top tight end with an elite workload, I’m giving up on the hopes that he can do it in a limited fashion.
Tyler Higbee, LAR - Guys, here's one that not a lot of people are talking about, but perhaps they should. Tyler Higbee gets a jump here in a few ways. Gerald Everett left the Rams, signing with the Seattle Seahawks on a one-year deal. The Rams also brought in quarterback Matthew Stafford via a trade with the Detroit Lions. Stafford is an upgrade over former starter Jared Goff, and he will throw the ball to the tight end. There are no guarantees, but the initial stage of free agency leaves Higbee as the clear No. 1 tight end in what should be a productive offense.
Gerald Everett, SEA - Scott mentioned the separation of Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett. Let's talk about Everett. He had a strong metric profile as a prospect and was drafted in Round 2. While utilized as a feature element with the Rams at sparse times in his early seasons, Tyler Higbee outlasted Everett on the depth chart. However, Everett joins Seattle where WR3+ is filled with question marks, and Will Dissly, the most notable incumbent tight end, has sustained multiple significant injuries and appears a step (or two) slower than to begin his career. Everett is paired with an elite quarterback with a quality chance for his best fantasy season-to-date in 2021.
The first four tight ends drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft (T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant, Irv Smith, and Drew Sample) - Allow me to throw a curveball here, fellas. All of these guys have the arrow pointed firmly up in dynasty leagues. T.J. Hockenson already broke out in 2020, but with Detroit going mediocre at wide receiver, Hockenson will be huge. Noah Fant has already been productive, finishing just outside the fantasy starters in his first two years. With the young wide receivers also developing, Fant is the most likely one in Denver to improve. Irv Smith finally is rid of the shadow from Kyle Rudolph. With the lack of depth at receiver in Minnesota, expect Smith to be hyped heading into 2021 and produce well above his redraft ADP. Drew Sample is the least well-known among this group and should be the easiest to grab. After being invisible in his rookie season, Sample registered 40 catches and is developing nicely as the number one tight end in Cincinnati. Further opportunities should occur in 2021 and he will be a borderline fantasy starter by season's end.
T.J. Hockenson, DET - Andy alluded to Hockenson already, but it bears repeating how barren the Lions are currently at wideout. We should expect them to draft more competition at that position, but Hockenson should still be primed to lead the team in targets in 2021. This presumed volume spike lines up well with the natural progression of the position, as the former eighth overall pick will be entering his third season. Hockenson took a hit in terms of his quarterback play this offseason, but the dynasty arrow is pointing straight up for him. He could enter the elite tier at the position very soon.
Logan Thomas, WAS - Logan Thomas managed to finish as a top-12 tight end in 2020 with Kyle Allen and Alex Smith under center. Pairing consistent fantasy-friendly quarterback play from Ryan Fitzpatrick with the predominantly weak fantasy performances from tight ends, in general, gives Logan Thomas top-five upside.
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