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Fantasy Football Dynasty League Price Check – Jonnu Smith

Jonnu Smith - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Veteran tight end Jonnu Smith has had an up-and-down career trajectory. The good news is his fantasy value was on the “up” side last season and could go even higher this upcoming season because of the organization he signed with during the offseason.

Smith signed a two-year deal with the Miami Dolphins to serve as their top tight end for the 2024 campaign. While the Dolphins get more production than most teams at wide receiver thanks to the dynamic duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, the pass plays called have virtually ignored the team’s tight ends the past two seasons.

So how is Smith’s fantasy future looking like in dynasty leagues where fantasy managers can pick him up and hold onto him for multiple years? Here is a look at Smith’s 2023 season, what his 2024 season should look like, and what his fantasy worth is in the future.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers won two writing awards and received 12 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. A big congrats to our very own Byron Lindeque (Golf) and Jordan McAbee (NASCAR) for both winning Writer Of The Year awards! Be sure to follow RotoBaller's analysis and advice all year long, and win more. Win More With RotoBaller!

 

Jonnu Smith’s 2023 Season Review

Smith was underutilized during his two years with the New England Patriots in 2021/2022. He was the clear TE2 on the team behind veteran touchdown maker Hunter Henry and never had any fantasy value even though Bill Belichick signed him to a multimillion-dollar deal that made him richer than most starters at the position.

So Smith’s 2023 season was unexpected, especially since he was the second TE in Atlanta behind Kyle Pitts in a run-first offense that had spotty quarterback play throughout the season. That did not stop Smith from setting career-highs with 50 receptions for 582 yards and parlaying that into a monster contract, though.

Atlanta’s head honcho Arthur Smith was criticized over his tenure for how he failed to use Pitts and tailback Bijan Robinson properly in Atlanta’s offense, but thanks to him Smith was targeted 70 times, the highest target total of his seven-year career.  If only the Patriots had used Smith in the innovative ways the Falcons did last season.

 

Jonnu Smith’s Fantasy Football Outlook

Miami ponied up mega-millions for Smith because the Fins have gotten little to no production from their tight ends in recent years. 2023 starting tight end Durham Smythe caught 35 passes for 366 yards but failed to score a touchdown. Former starter Mike Gesicki failed to break the 400-yard barrier in 2022. So to sign a player with Smith’s skill set – a rare athlete with the size to outmuscle defensive backs inside the red zone that also has above-average speed to provide big-chunk plays – was a major coup for the organization.

How Smith will be utilized in Mike McDaniel’s high-powered offense is the bigger issue. The aforementioned Hill is the top option in the passing attack, and he monopolizes the targets. Whatever is left over goes to No. 2 WR Waddle. That means Smith could/should be third in line for targets, but how many will he get every week? Unless Hill gets injured it is hard to fathom Smith getting more than five-to-six each game.

 

What is Jonnu Smith Worth in Fantasy Football? 

Smith is 29 years old, so while he does not have the upward mobility the 23 and 24-year-old tight ends have in dynasty formats, Smith’s fantasy value can definitely shoot up due to the supporting cast around him and the offense he will be a part of. Between his stops in Tennessee, New England, and Atlanta, he has always been in conservative offenses that preferred running the ball instead of throwing the ball 40 times per game. This is the first time in his career Smith will be in an offense that enjoys airing it out.

Two problems with Smith make him a risky proposition. One is that the last time he signed a lucrative contract he became one of the biggest tight end busts for the next two years. That cannot be forgotten, even though that situation with New England was more fraught with disaster than this current one with Miami.

The second problem is Smith’s role with the Dolphins is undefined. Yes, he will be their top tight end, but that did not mean much for Gesicki or Smythe the last couple of years while Hill and Waddle were getting 99 percent of the passes thrown their way. It is difficult to become a fantasy force if you are only seeing four passes per game. Only Hill and Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson can turn four passes into a 100-yard day and a TD. Smith needs to be given opportunities or else he will have a 400-yard year and will not finish the season on many fantasy rosters.

Smith has never had a 600-yard season in the NFL, so to think he will suddenly explode for 800 yards in 2024 is a misnomer. What you should be able to bank on is a solid 650-yard season with at least a half-dozen touchdowns. If McDaniel uses him correctly and allows him to exploit favorable matchups in the secondary brought on by defenses double-teaming Hill, Smith should be a low TE1/high TE2 in dynasty fantasy formats.

Smith is young enough that if you hold onto him in dynasty leagues you should receive decent production for the next three-to-five years. Just do not acquire him thinking he will post Travis Kelce or George Kittle-like numbers. That is unlikely considering he has never shown the consistency to put up Pro Bowl numbers regularly, and he will not get the chances to rack up big-time yardage as long as Hill and Waddle are healthy and on the field with him.



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