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Not every fantasy football team can have Rob Gronkowski on its roster, but many dynasty fantasy squads can have a good tight end that will contribute for the next several seasons.

There should be plenty of tight ends to build fantasy football dynasty league teams around in 2018. Three talented tight ends were selected in the first round of last year’s NFL draft (New York’s Evan Engram, Cleveland’s David Njoku and Tampa Bay’s O.J. Howard) that should all take their games (and fantasy values) to the next level in 2018, and there will surely be some studs in the early rounds of this April’s NFL draft that should make immediate and long-term impacts on fantasy rosters. Lurking in the shadows, though, are some other lesser-heralded tight ends who could be fantasy sleepers in 2018.

Here is a look at the early 2018 dynasty sleepers at tight end:

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Early Tight End Dynasty Sleepers

 George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco’s fifth-round pick from last year had a solid rookie season with 43 receptions for 515 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Kittle was a non-factor during his first dozen games, though. He only managed 40 yards or more in two of those contests and was probably only owned in NFC-only fantasy leagues or rare leagues where fantasy players were required to start three tight ends per week.

Kittle was a changed man once Jimmy Garoppolo wrested the reigns of the offense away from C.J. Beathard’s clutches, however. Kittle accounted for 11 receptions for 194 yards and a touchdown over the 49ers’ final three games of the season. If you project the numbers of that small sample size over the course of a full season, you could theorize that Kittle could have 60 catches for 1,000 yards if he has Garoppolo as his quarterback for all 16 games.

Kittle was thought of as a block-first tight end coming out of college. Now with Garoppolo manning the passing attack, Kittle could blossom into an above-average, all-around tight end. While banking on a 1,000-yard year might asking for too much, grabbing Kittle in the late rounds of your fantasy draft and expecting a few seasons in the 650-to-850-yard range is realistic. And do not worry – even though he only had two touchdowns in 2017, he will score more per year with Jimmy G as his QB.

Adam Shaheen, Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears had the worst passing offense in the NFL last season, so it is no surprise that Shaheen was about as valuable to fantasy football owners as a porterhouse steak is to a vegan. Chicago’s 2017 second-round pick had a dozen receptions for 127 yards and three touchdowns and was a complete fantasy zero for the first two months of the season when he managed one lone catch.

The offense is Mitchell Trubisky’s to run, and if you do not think Chicago is going to build its offense around the second overall pick of the 2017 draft, then you are not paying attention. That bodes well for Shaheen, a physical specimen who can overpower defensive backs and out-muscle linebackers when he runs routes. He also has above-average speed for a man 6’5” and 270 pounds. All Shaheen needs is a little more seasoning and Trubisky to improve and become a passer who can consistently get him the ball.

Chicago’s passing attack has nowhere to go but up, and the same goes for Trubisky and Shaheen. Shaheen will enter the 2018 campaign as the Bears starting tight end and could be one of Trubisky’s top two or three targets depending on how Chicago’s offseason plays out when it comes to receiver acquisitions. Get Shaheen on the cheap this season and it could pay off handsomely for several seasons.

Lance Kendricks, Green Bay Packers

Kendricks was not a fantasy factor in 2017, catching only 18 passes for just 203 yards and one touchdown. For the first half of the season, he had veteran Martellus Bennett preventing him from getting on the field and catching any Aaron Rodgers darts. Once Bennett got himself off the team and conveniently onto the New England Patriots, Rodgers was hurt and Kendricks was left with Brett Hundley throwing one-hoppers in front of his feet.

Now Kendricks does not have Bennett blocking his path and should have a healthy Rodgers throwing pinpoint passes to him (until Danica Patrick drives away with him in a stock car). Kendricks has only had 50 receptions and 500 yards once in his career, but being the top tight end in a Rodgers-led, pass-first offense could help him set new personal bests across the board.

The offseason is in its early stages, so Green Bay may pull a tight end out from its cheese collection we do not expect, either via the draft or free agency. There are rumors tying Wisconsin product Troy Fumagalli to the team, but he would not contribute much as a rookie. Kendricks is durable (three missed games in seven seasons) and a veteran who can block a little and catch more than his stats suggest. If he remains Green Bay’s main tight end, he can have the best year of his career in 2018 and be a sneaky TE2.


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