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Dynasty Sell-High Candidates for 2019 - Tight Ends


The tight end position in dynasty fantasy football leagues has never been as important as the running back, quarterback or wide receiver positions, but it is gaining ground.

New records were set for most receptions in a season for a tight end (Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz) and most receiving yards in a season for a tight end (San Francisco’s George Kittle), so the argument could be made that 2018 was the “Year of the Tight End.”  Tight ends are probably being held onto more than ever in dynasty leagues, which is why it is so important to pick the perfect time to sell high on a tight end whose fantasy value is about to take a turn for the worst.

Selling high and buying low are two of the best ways to ensure your fantasy squad will have its best chance of winning a title, especially in dynasty leagues where you can keep the core of your roster together for several seasons. Here are the tight ends you should sell high in dynasty fantasy football leagues heading into the 2019 season.

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Jared Cook, Free Agent

2018 Stats:  68 receptions, 896 yards, 6 TD

Cook had the best year of his decade-long career in 2018 as he set personal bests in receptions, yards and touchdowns. His career-high numbers made him a top-five fantasy tight end and will make him multimillions this offseason since he is a free agent. This should also make Cook attractive in dynasty leagues considering once you clear the top tier of tight ends the fantasy value at the position suddenly gets scarce.

Fantasy players know how Cook rolls, though. The truth is that while he has been a serviceable player over the years, he was never a dependable fantasy option until last season. Cook has only averaged 540 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per season during his career and suddenly had an amazing year on a pathetic Oakland squad where he was the only option quarterback Derek Carr had to throw to once the Raiders traded Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys.

Cook will be 32 years old at season’s start and which team he signs with might not matter much as you would think. In his one season with the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers, all he mustered up was a 30-377-1 campaign that disappointed his fantasy owners as much as the finale of The Sopranos disappointed its fans. No one should bank on Cook duplicating his 2018 stat line in 2019 and should trade him while his fantasy needle is at its highest point.

 

Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts

2018 Stats:  66 receptions, 750 yards, 14 TD

Ebron proved that when a pass catcher goes from having overrated Matthew Stafford throwing him the ball to a healthy Andrew Luck being his signal caller, his fantasy value is going to skyrocket. Ebron set new career-highs in receptions and receiving yards, but what stood out like a thumb in a finger factory was his position-high 13 touchdown catches (plus one rushing touchdown). He only caught 11 touchdown tosses in four years with Stafford and the lowly Detroit Lions.

Is Ebron a bubble waiting to burst, though? Fantasy players know of his past inconsistency and injuries. And while Ebron was lucky to have Luck as his quarterback, he was even luckier that fellow Colts tight end Jack Doyle missed 10 games due to hip and kidney injuries. If Doyle is injury-free and on the field 65-80 percent of the time, Ebron’s target and touchdown totals will likely drop.

It might be hard to convince yourself to trade Ebron when he is still young and has found new life with Luck and the Colts, but this is probably the ideal time to trade him in a blockbuster deal. You will likely reel in a humongous haul. It is doubtful Ebron takes his talent to another level and posts numbers like the aforementioned Ertz, Kittle or Travis Kelce, especially if Doyle is around to split snaps and targets with him.

 

Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers

2018 Stats:  50 receptions, 610 yards, 4 TD

 McDonald probably went undrafted in many fantasy leagues at the onset of last season, but he finished in the top 12 in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns among tight ends. While Pro Bowl wideouts Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster kept secondaries occupied and attracted double teams, McDonald was able to have his best NFL season while only having one-on-one coverage to deal with.

McDonald has been in a timeshare/targetshare battle with Jesse James the past two seasons, but James is a free agent and could move onto another organization. That might sound like great news for McDonald on paper, but the reality is that the Steelers could bring in a better tight end who is a bigger threat to McDonald’s fantasy worth than James ever was. An even bigger problem for McDonald is that the top target on the team, off-the-field headache and Masked Singer failure Brown, will likely be traded this offseason. So while McDonald’s role in the offense could expand, defenses will key on him more than ever if Pittsburgh’s pass-catching corps loses its No. 1 receiver.

McDonald did not break the 50-yard barrier in any of his last 10 games of the season and has only shown sporadic flashes of brilliance during his career. While many of the stars are aligning towards McDonald having a solid-to-super 2019 season, trading him now before Pittsburgh signs a tight end or makes other impactful roster moves is a fantasy option to explore.

 

C.J. Uzomah, Free Agent

2018 Stats:  43 receptions, 439 yards, 3 TD

 Uzomah was thought of as a block-first tight end during his first three NFL seasons, but he showed another side in 2018 when he had to step up as Cincinnati’s top tight end when Tyler Eifert suffered a gruesome season-ending injury. He set new career-highs across the board in all of the major fantasy categories, and although he was nothing more than a spot starter in fantasy leagues and was only really worthwhile in PPR leagues, he had more fantasy relevance than he ever had prior.

Uzomah picked the optimal time to have his best season since he is a free agent searching for a multimillion-dollar deal. The reality is he should stay in Cincinnati where he would undoubtedly be the No. 1 tight end and is comfortable with quarterback Andy Dalton and his teammates. If he signs somewhere else, which is a strong possibility, he could very well be the No. 2 TE and be the blocker on running downs while a different tight end is the one on the field during passing downs and thus the more appealing fantasy option.

Uzomah is a decent role player who is now rounding into more of an all-around tight end than he was earlier in his career. That is all well and good, but for fantasy players looking for Uzomah to elevate himself into a 750-yard, eight-TD tight end in 2019, be warned that it will not happen. If you have Uzomah in your dynasty league, talk up his 2018 season and the fact he is only 26 years old and get what you can for him from an owner starving for a tight end. 

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