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2021 Fantasy Football: 3 Tight Ends to Avoid

The guys tell you which tight ends to fade entering the 2021 fantasy football season.

Washington Football Team Training Camp Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

We are going to continue Tight End Week with a bang today. Just scanning through the names, this one feels more like a bold predictions piece...

Be sure to circle back around tomorrow as Skyler drops his late-round tight ends to target! For now, let’s check out who the lads here at Fake Teams are passing over at the tight end position in fantasy football this year.

Atlanta Falcons Training Camp Photo by Edward M. Pio Roda/Getty Images

Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons (Mark Abell)

ECR: TE6

Similar to many of the avoids I’ve highlighted in the past, it’s not that I don’t like Pitts. But I have a few red flags that have me avoiding him this year. His size is one—Kyle Pitts is 6’4 and 220 lbs. For reference, Greg Kittle is 6’4 250 lbs, Mark Andrews is 6’5 256 lbs, Darren Waller is 6’6 256 lbs, Travis Kelce is 6’5, etc. It’s not massive, but 30+ pounds can make a difference. Second, I’m not sure how Matt Ryan, an aged vet, will handle the cultivation of a rookie who was one of the highest drafted tight ends in the modern draft era. Will there be a learning curve, or will it be smooth? Along those lines, the Falcons targeted tight ends the 10th-fewest times of any NFL team last year, the 12th-fewest in 2019, and the 10th-fewest in 2018. It’s not a position they are used to targeting, despite having 2X Pro Bowler Austin Hooper in 2018 and 2019.

Washington Football Team Mandatory Minicamp Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (Skyler Carlin)

ECR: TE9

Every single year, there seems to be a tight end that pops up out of nowhere to finish as one of the top performers at the position. Logan Thomas was the tight end that held that title in 2020, as he concluded last season as TE6 in half-PPR formats. Thomas, a former quarterback who converted to tight end, exploded for 72 receptions, 670 receiving yards, and six receiving touchdowns with the Washington Football Team a season ago. While Thomas did show that he can be a solid tight end in the NFL, he benefitted from playing with quarterbacks that refused to push the ball down the field. As a result of being targeted by Alex Smith, Dwayne Haskins, Taylor Heinicke, and Colt McCoy, Thomas had an aDOT of only 7.09 yards (28th among TEs in 2020). Not to mention, Washington didn’t have many pass-catchers to target outside of Terry McLaurin, so targets were funneled to Thomas almost by default. But entering the 2021 season, Thomas is now playing with an aggressive signal-caller in Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Washington now has Curtis Samuel and Dyami Brown added to the offense. Plus, Antonio Gibson is expected to handle more pass-game work, which could limit Thomas’ ceiling in fantasy football. I’d much rather have Mike Gesicki, Tyler Higbee, or even Jonnu Smith before Thomas.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Training Camp Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Heath Capps)

ECR: TE15

I assume it’s the name “Gronk” that has him ranked as a high-end TE2 at FantasyPros. And could he get there on touchdowns alone? Sure, maybe. But with a crowded WR corps of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Antonio Brown, there just doesn’t seem to be room for Gronk to hit any sort of a ceiling in 2021. There’s also O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate in the tight end room, both capable guys when healthy (Howard) and/or when called upon (Brate has been a monster in the red area previously). Add in the strong running back room and stout defense...I’m worried there aren’t enough targets to go around for these three receivers, not to mention any of tight ends. I’d rather take a shot on Jonnu Smith (TE14) or wait and throw darts on guys like Gerald Everett (TE19) or Blake Jarwin (TE20). Jarwin’s actually in a similar situation, except the Dallas defense should be more shoddy than Tampa’s, equalling more passing opportunities (at least from what we can expect right now). Add it all up, and I’m pretty well out on the Hall-of-Fame tight end for 2021.

What say you all? Are we too bold, or not bold enough? Which tight ends are you avoiding in your fantasy football leagues?