The tight end position is notoriously boom or bust: either you land one of the top guys or you’re hoping the guy you took in the 10th round amounts to some sort of mildly viable fantasy production. However you want to approach drafting the tight end position, we’re here to help give you some names to target to get the most out of the most barren position in fantasy football.
Without further ado, these are the tight ends we here at Fake Teams are drafting this year. (ADP from Fantasy Football Calculator in non-PPR league.)
Current FFC ADP: 5.09
Heath Capps: If you read my first pass at tight ends, you’d know that I have O.J. Howard slotted fourth behind the big three (Kelce, Kittle, Ertz). That’s not a “default” sort of ranking. His career 11.5 yards per target is the best mark OF ALL TIME and is supported by a gargantuan 12.4 aDOT (average depth of target). The Bucs look to be without a viable running game and have a suspect defense. Jameis Winston’s cupboard is chock full of weapons (Evans, Godwin, Howard) but he’s always shown an affinity for his big guys. Howard is due for a breakout, TE1 type of season if he can just remain on the field.
Current FFC ADP: 6.06
Clark Barnes: It seems like Hunter Henry has been around for a while and for good reason. Henry is going in to his 4th NFL season AND HE IS 24 YEARS OLD. I (and plenty of others) were Pineapple Express high on Henry going in to his 3rd year in the run-up to 2018 fantasy drafts, only see our hopes for Henry dashed by an ACL tear.
With a full year to recover, Hunter appears to be coming into the season at full strength. Antonio Gates, even if signed, is no longer any kind of threat to Henry’s production (citation: Chargers film from last year). We know Phillip Rivers loves to throw to tight ends in the red-zone, and I’m comfortable betting Henry picks up where Gates left off back when he could still ball out.
Henry is coming off the board in the middle of the 6th round, and that is an absolute steal!
Current FFC ADP: 7.02
[smart ass in the back raises hand]: Alvin Kamara!
Ok, I’ll give you that. Name me the third best receiver on the Saints.
[hold for dramatic pause]
It’s Jared Cook everyone. You know it, I know it, yet clearly the fantasy community hasn’t fully realized it. It’s taken him 10 years, but Jared Cook is finally here people and now he’s ready to tear the league a new one. Last year with the Raiders, Cook managed to post TE5 numbers with Derek Carr throwing him the ball. Now he has Drew Brees passing him the rock, in an offense that has produced some truly baller fantasy tight ends (2011-2014 Jimmy Graham anyone?). Yes Cook’s target share won’t be the same, but he’s going to have plenty of space to work in with defenses worried about Kamara, Michael Thomas and that elite take-the-top-off-a-defense speed 34-year-old Ted Ginn Jr somehow still possesses. Cook is currently the TE7 but he’s a lock for a top 5 fantasy tight end finish in my book.
Paddi Cooper: Last year’s TE5 and this year’s current TE7, has me swooning. After a career 2018 season with the Raiders, he gets to go and join Drew Brees on a championship calibre roster and could easily outscore his total from last year. Cook is my most drafted player in my teams this year, I’m all in on him repeating his heroics from a year ago.
Current FFC ADP: 11.03
Mark Abell: The local coaches and media coverage has him as a key piece to their offense. He put up solid numbers last year and I think he is going to be the player who vaults into the top five TE position this year. He has played QB, TE, WR and fullback across his high school and college career, he knows the various roles and reads the field well.
Cooper: Burton was the TE8 in PPR leagues in 2018 and is somewhat unbelievably currently going as the TE19, though this could be due to his recovery from sports hernia surgery but he is on course to make Week 1. With little competition to be the Bears’ top tight end option, Burton should easily match his 54/569/6 season from 2018, especially with Mitchell Trubisky with another off season under his belt.
Current FFC ADP: 14.01
Barnes: This is a target for folks who want to punt on tight end. Rudolph is a reliable but not spectacular options in what I believe will be a more prolific Vikings offense. Gary Kubiak has been hired to ‘help’ Kevin Stefanski improve what was already not a bad unit in Minnesota. When you think about the Kubiak offense, think Mike and Kyle Shanahan, zone-read, play-action bootlegs.
This offensive scheme can make a star out of competent tight ends (see: Owen Daniels) and super-stars out of athletes like George Kittle. Rudolph is certainly more on the Owen Daniels end of the spectrum, but we know Rudolph is competent. A competent, free tight end in this system will give keep your tight end from consistently killing you week to week.
Take Rudolph for free and laugh your way to the title.