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5 sleeper tight ends to consider in 2021 fantasy football leagues

Fantasy football is back for 2021! We take a look at five tight ends who you can get at value in your fantasy drafts.

Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

No position has caused more frustration in fantasy than tight end. With extremely limited exceptions, tight-end production fluctuates wildly from season to season, making investments at the position one of the biggest annual challenges for fantasy managers. But while poor selections have shifted the balance of leagues, the probability of finding an overlooked gem appears a little higher here than at other spots.

Looking for sleepers for fantasy football doesn’t mean uncovering players no one knows — that doesn’t happen anymore. Rather, finding sleepers in the modern sense involves highlighting players that should outplay their average draft position (ADP). Accordingly, instead of using the term “sleeper,” we can instead use “value” to underscore the point.

Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks

Gerald Everett has delivered only modest overall production during his four seasons in the NFL, but the tight end has looked more than capable when highlighted in the Los Angeles Rams’ passing game. He now moves up the I-5 to join the Seattle Seahawks where he reunites with Rams assistant Shane Waldron, now an offensive coordinator. Everett can finally establish himself as a starting tight end while playing with one of the league’s best quarterbacks. The Seahawks’ roster has some competition for the role, mainly Will Dissly. However, at Everett’s current ADP (20th among tight ends), he provides plenty of bang for the buck.

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

Like Everett, Tyler Higbee has effectively worked in a timeshare in Los Angeles. Now, with no clear competition for targets among the Rams’ tight ends, Higbee can expect a larger slice of the pie. He can probably also expect a better passing game in general with Matthew Stafford replacing Jared Goff under center. As of yet, Higbee’s ADP (17th among tight ends) does not reflect that upside.

Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers

Though rarely an exciting choice in fantasy, Jared Cook has finished inside the top 10 at his position two of the last three years. The lone exception, 2020, came in a season when the New Orleans Saints offense lost Drew Brees for four games and saw him severely limited in several others. Cook leaves New Orleans to follow Joe Lombardi to the Los Angeles Chargers, joining an offense with one of the most exciting young signal-callers in the league, Justin Herbert. The Chargers won’t force-feed Cook, but he should see plenty of work as he fills the void left by Hunter Henry.

Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The gold standard at tight end for nearly a decade, Rob Gronkowski has fallen out of favor with fantasy managers due to age (32) and athletic decline. His ADP currently sits outside the top 10 at the position. However, as he demonstrated during his debut season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020, he can still produce more than respectable numbers, posting 45 catches for 623 yards and seven touchdowns. Other than health, Gronk doesn’t need many breaks to deliver similar stats this season, giving him decent upside in fantasy.

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

A low-end fantasy starter the past two seasons, Mike Gesicki enters a contract year with the Miami Dolphins. The offense should also benefit from quarterback Tua Tagovailoa gaining a full, normal offseason as well as putting more distance between him and the debilitating hip injury he suffered in college. Gesicki doesn’t need much of a boost to leap from the No. 7 fantasy scorer at his position to solidly inside the top five. Yet, despite this, Gesicki’s ADP presently sits outside the top 10.