Fantasy football can be an analytical endeavor where you project players statistically for the season and then grab the guys that offer the most value at each pick. But, it is also a game and finding “your guys” and going after them in a draft can be fun too. Of course, “your guys” are also likely players you feel can be had at great value at their ADP, but because you are much higher on them than most of your league mates.
Below, I will give you my guys. These are tight ends I may reach ahead of ADP to grab, as I believe in their talent and opportunity this year. I will draft a top tight end if they fall to a spot I like and there are a good number to choose from, but I’m not restricting myself to one of the Top-5 tight ends. Grabbing Travis Kelce or George Kittle early is a worthwhile plan, but we are still talking about a position where you only start one player and that means there is value out there.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins
Gesicki is going off as the 12th tight end in ADP, which is a little higher than I expected. His usage toward the end of last year was good and with the Dolphins lacking many reliable targets, he’s set to build on 2019. In his last six games last year, Gesicki caught five touchdowns. We know it takes tight ends a year or two to get going and the Dolphins weren’t the best offense to start his career. Now in year three, I expect another step into fantasy prominence.
Jonnu Smith, Titans
Smith showed flashes last season, catching 79.5 percent of his targets and averaging 10 yards per target. He didn’t get a chance when Marcus Mariota was playing, as he saw just eight targets through the first six games. Tannehill then targeted Smith 36 times in the next eight games, with him catching 29 for 342 yards and three touchdowns. Add in that Tannehill and Smith have been working together all summer, and I think we’ll see more targets for the young tight end this year.
Chris Herndon, Jets
Expectations were high for Herndon last year after a strong rookie season. Then last year hit, as Herndon started the season with a suspension and then couldn’t get healthy. But it looks like he is 100 percent and Herndon is already getting hyped up a lot early in training camp. Coach Adam Gase says he is their starting tight end and the buzz around camp is that the team has a lot planned for their tight end. He’s been lining up all over the field, in the slot, outside and in line. The offensive line should get a boost this season while Sam Darnold looks to take a step forward this year with Herndon as one of his top targets.
Irv Smith Jr., Vikings
Smith isn’t someone you can count on for big usage, but he is someone you can count on getting a lot out of what usage he gets. Last season was his rookie year and he was pretty much in a tie with Kyle Rudolph in total targets. We know tight ends take a while to get going in this league and Smith has a step up on a lot of second-year tight ends after a good start to his career. In the end, Smith’s offensive ability is ahead of Rudolph’s and that should show in opportunities this season.
Jace Sternberger, Packers
Sternberger is currently on the Covid-19 injury list, so we need to be aware of that fact, but if he can get on the field soon, he has a great chance to start and see good target numbers. The Packers didn’t upgrade at wide receiver this offseason and only have one receiver guaranteed work in Davante Adams. That leaves a bunch of targets, including those left by Jimmy Graham, up for grabs.