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Breaking down the fantasy impact of this offseason’s tight end moves

We go over over the top tight end transactions of the 2021 offseason and discuss the fantasy football impact that comes with them.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

With a new season comes a lot of shuffling around. Players join new teams and that could drastically impact how they perform on your fantasy team.

In this piece, we’ll take a look at the tight ends who took their talents to a new city and how that can cause big changes for your fantasy lineup this season.

Jonnu Smith, New England Patriots (from Tennessee Titans)

Smith impact: Smith was the best free-agent tight end on the market this season and should make an immediate impact, helping the New England offense and Cam Newton with an experienced big target that’s pretty reliable. He’s never going to be a guy who racks up a ton of yards week in and week out. In fact, he’s never eclipsed the 500-yard mark in any season. But he’s a massive red zone threat and his touchdown totals increase year in and year out, with a career-high of eight scores last year.

Titans impact: The Titans losing Smith in the offseason hurts their red zone offensive significantly as he produced 10 touchdowns. However, they should be able to weather the missing production with the acquisition of Julio Jones. But the Titans need to have capable options at TE because they play a viable role in the offense. As of right now, their top two tight ends are Anthony Firsker and Geoff Swaim.

Hunter Henry, New England Patriots (from Los Angeles Chargers)

Henry impact: New England going out and signing two top-tier free agent tight ends was a bit of a shock to many. Still, they have different strengths, with Henry more of the guy who can rack up yards and Smith is that lethal red-zone threat. Still, if you’re going to pick one of them to be on your fantasy team, the one who scores more often is the one you want. Though if it’s a PR league, Henry might be the guy you want to go with, since Smith catches an average of just two passes per game.

Chargers impact: With the Chargers not having a consistent WR3, their 3rd or 4th best receiving option was Henry. Without Henry in the fold, they’ll have to lean on free agent signing Jared Cook, Donald Parham Jr., and rookie Tre’ McKitty. Cook wasn’t featured a lot in the Saints offense last season, but managed 37 receptions for 504 yards and 7 TDs. He can still get vertical, despite being 33 years of age. Parham has a lot of untapped ability that could really show this season.

Kyle Rudolph, New York Giants (from Minnesota Vikings)

Rudolph impact: Rudolph will serve as a quality TE2 beside Evan Engram. Engram will be more a vertical threat, while Rudolph could be a tremendous option in the redzone. Last season, the veteran tight end had a down year with 28 receptions for 334 yards and a TD. But in the 2019 season, Rudolph recorded six touchdowns, with five coming inside the redzone. He isn’t worth drafting in your fantasy football league, but could be a nice waiver wire grab.

Vikings impact: The Vikings will officially usher in the Irv Smith Jr. era at tight end this season, which should excite both fans and fantasy football managers. Smith had a solid second season in 2020, producing 30 receptions for 365 yards and 5 TDs. Based on what we saw at Alabama and last season, the 22-year-old could end up being a weekly top-10 TE in fantasy football. Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson will draw attention from defenses on the perimeter, which should open up things for Smith in the middle of the field.

Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks (from Los Angeles Rams)

Everett impact: Everett will be heading to a Seattle offense that loves to throw the football but already has another solid tight end in Will Dissly. Last season, Everett was the backup to Tyler Higbee, who became one of Jared Goff’s favorite receiving targets. The 26-year-old had 41 receptions (62 targets) for 417 yards and a touchdown. Everett will not be drafted high in many leagues and could find himself as a waiver wire add.

Rams impact: The Rams will not be losing much at tight end as they still have Higbee and a loaded wide receiver unit. Last season, the 27-year-old produced 44 receptions (60 targets) for 521 yards and a career-high 5 TDs. 4 out of Higbee’s 5 touchdowns came inside of the red zone, while he had 328 yards and 13 TDs between the 21-50 yard lines.

Jared Cook, Los Angeles Chargers (from New Orleans Saints)

Cook impact: Cook walks into a situation with the Chargers as the team’s top option with Hunter Henry leaving in free agency. The 33-year-old Cook performed well for the Saints last season being a safety valve for Drew Brees and Taysom Hill. The veteran tight end had three double-digit fantasy performances and five redzone scores. Cook should see a good amount of targets with second-year quarterback Justin Herbert.

Saints impact: While the Saints will be losing a veteran tight end, they do have a second-year tight end in Adam Trautman, who is a better option for their offense. He can play both inline and can get vertical. The 6-foot-5 tight end had 15 receptions (16 targets) for 171 yards and a touchdown. New Orleans also has Nick Vannett, who they signed in the offseason and should be a serviceable TE2.

Darren Fells, Detroit Lions (from Houston Texans)

Fells impact: Fells will not make much of an impact in the Lions’ offense as a receiver but will be used more as a blocker. Last season with the Texans, the veteran tight end had 21 receptions for 312 yards and 4 touchdowns. Detroit already has an outstanding tight end in T.J. Hockenson, who was a top-10 fantasy play weekly in 2020.

Texans impact: The Texans will head into this upcoming season with Jordan Akins as their top tight end. Akins had a couple of splash plays last season but finished 1 touchdown. The 29-year-old will be competing with Kahale Warring and rookie Brevin Jordan. Jordan is the best tight end on the roster with the most upside. But as we know young tight ends have to prove that they can block a little bit.