I label my players to fade as “fades” versus “busts,” because a bust connotes an awful season on the field. But, if a player is healthy and has some chance to see meaningful playing time, he has fantasy value. Does that mean I’ll draft that player? It all depends on where they go in the draft I am in at that moment. Average draft position is our best tool for predicting where a player will be drafted. When selecting sleepers and busts and breakouts and the like, we must do it within the ADP landscape.
Mark Andrews, Ravens
Update Aug 19: Ravens defensive backs and linebackers have struggled to “stay with” Mark Andrews in camp, per The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. A healthier Andrews in 2020 could help offset his extreme touchdown efficiency.
The question with Andrews is if he and Lamar Jackson can keep up their incredible efficiency. Andrews put up 852 yards and ten touchdowns on just 64 receptions. His 10 touchdowns led the league and helped him to fifth in fantasy points for tight ends overall. His current ADP is at TE3, which is his upside in an offense that won’t throw the ball enough to give Andrews more work in 2020.
Hunter Henry, Chargers
Henry has been a strong tight end when on the field and playing with Philip Rivers, but Rivers is gone and Henry’s injury history is spotty. The Chargers have a defensive oriented coach and are weak at quarterback, as Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert battle for the starting job. Mostly the likely decline of the offense has pushed the Chargers starters ADP down, but Henry is still going as the No. 8 tight end off the board. I’ll look elsewhere this season.
Tyler Higbee, Rams
Update Aug 19: Sean McVay: “I think Tyler Higbee did a phenomenal job, but I think Gerald Everett’s a guy that I’ve got to do a better job of utilizing his skill set because he’s a difference-maker. But he’s got to get the opportunities and I think that starts with some of the things I know I can do a better job of,” per USA Today’s Cameron DaSilva.
Higbee is the frontrunner to start at tight end for the Rams, but it isn’t set in stone that he won’t share work with Gerald Everett. If Everett weren’t such a strong prospect who has shown good ability already, this might be an easier competition to call. It will be tough keeping Everett off the field enough to pick Higbee at his TE7 ADP.
Jared Cook, Saints
I love Cook and a full 16 games out of him last season would have likely put him in the top five for fantasy tight ends. The trouble this season is that Emmanuel Sanders has been added to the competition for targets and Cook wasn’t exactly a target hog without him last season. Cook made good on his 4.6 targets per game due to a massive 16.4 yards per reception and nine touchdowns, but a repeat of that efficiency seems unlikely.
Austin Hooper, Browns
Update Aug 19: Austin Hooper said he spent 2-3 weeks in Austin, TX at Baker Mayfield’s house working out together this offseason. In a year with no offseason practices, this news can’t hurt.
I think Hooper will help the Browns and Baker Mayfield, but there is also a lot of competition for targets. The Browns have a healthy Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Kareem Hunt and Rashard Higgins all vying for targets. The Browns are flush with underneath and mid-range threats in this group and Hooper might also cede some work to David Njoku.