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ADP Fallers at Tight End - Albert Okwuegbunam, Tyler Higbee, Robert Tonyan

In this series, I’ll highlight players at each skill position seeing significant fluctuation from mid-May to mid-June using data from FFPC drafts.

We've already evaluated ADP fallers at wide receiver, running back, and quarterback.

Today, it's time to look at three tight end fallers.

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Tight Ends - ADP Fallers

Albert Okwuegbunam, Denver Broncos

While not an incredible drop – as is the case with all TEs covered here throughout the past few weeks – Albert O still has fallen more than half a round in terms of ADP of late. The lowering price has more to do with a "settling" more than anything. If you remember, the Broncos just traded for QB Russell Wilson early in the offseason and that ultra-boosted the ADP of every living breathing player in Denver. Okwegbunam\s case was even more pronounced as the Broncos' former TE Noah Fant was sent to Seattle, opening the door for Albert O to become Wilson's new starting TE target at the position.

Is the price worth the gamble, though? Hard to think of it in that way, all things considered. Perhaps the only positive about his upside is what I have already commented above: he'll be the bona fide TE1 of the team, and Denver didn't change any other part of its offense this offseason other than getting Wilson. Even with the number 1 role though, PFF projects Okwegbunam to a putrid TE29 finish next season, nearly the worst TE among starters in the NFL and way below Noah Fant's (the player he'll be replacing in the pecking order) projected TE13 finish playing under Drew Lock in Seattle. As long as the ADP remains above the 160th+ overall pick in fantasy drafts, I'd advise passing on Okwegbunam. Add him from waivers if you please, but don't use a draft pick on him.

 

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

Higbee is one of the best under-the-radar tight ends available "late" in fantasy drafts as I'm writing this. Just for context, only 12 (your TE1 cohort) tight ends are projected by PFF to score more than 145 PPR points over the full 2022 season. Only nine of those 12 players are expected to finish the season as a top-130 overall player (all positions). Just two of those nine have ADPs at 85+. Only one has an ADP above the 10th round in 12-team leagues. That's correct, your man Tyler Higbee.

Taking Higbee's projection (158 PPR points and a season stat line of 87/65/650/5) and his current ADP of around 125th overall (which keeps getting cheaper by the day somehow), there is no player expected to have a higher Return On Investment than the Rams tight end. This looks to me like a unique opportunity to grab a set-it-and-forget-it tight end with a really late pick with the potential to finish as a high-end TE1 in 2022. The worst-case scenario we're looking at is probably a low-end TE1 finish, and that's something most fantasy GMs would love to draft from the get-go at the tight end position considering its scarcity. Don't hesitate and draft Higbee at his current ADP and anything even as high as the ~90th pick if you want to snatch a legit value from other the hands of other GMs.

 

Robert Tonyan, Green Bay Packers

Tonyan was an afterthought for the Packers last season. Of course, that perception probably got magnified by a massive regression hitting the tight end following his 2020 career season. Back in that year, Tonyan came absolutely out of left field to score 11 (!!!) touchdowns on just 59 targets... of which he hauled in 52 of them for a ridiculous 88.1% catch rate and an 18.6% TD rate. I mean, sure...those numbers were never going to hold over a large span of games, and that's precisely what happened. With the added bonus of injury. In other words: Robert Tonyan couldn't catch a break, no pun intended.

Tonyan could only play eight games last season, but it's not that his per-game stats were that great in the time he was available. Tonyan went down from an average of 11.0 FPPG in PPR leagues in 2020 to a measly 6.3 FPPG last season. It makes sense: he caught a league-average 62.1% of his targets (18 of 29) and could only turn two of those receptions into touchdowns. The final stat line: 29/18/204/2. Yikes.

Tonyan is still recovering from his ankle injury but he's expected back in camp before the start of the season. With Davante Adams out, Tonyan should be the third/fourth option on the passing game at least, but he's nothing more than a TE2 with injury concerns now. The ADP drop is understandable. However, the ADP is getting so low that there is a huge opportunity of drafting him and his TE1-upside (if things go according to plan and he stays healthy for 17 games) for a massive Return On Investment. Tonyan is a risky pick, but a potential league-winning play if all of the stars align for Tonyan once more.



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