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Tight End ADP Risers and Fallers - Noah Fant, Zach Ertz, Mike Gesicki, and more

Noah Fant - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

I am going to start this column by reviewing the concept of ADP, which you are likely familiar with. Average Draft Position (ADP) indicates the average position where a player is drafted over more than one fantasy football draft. You can consider it as the price you have to pay to draft and get a player on your team. A high ADP (that is, actually, a low-numbered ADP) means that a player is going off draft boards early, and thus you'll need to draft him in the first rounds if you truly want him.

Low or high ADP values, though, are not gospel. Each of us fantasy GMs have our strategies and value players differently depending on what we think is the most important for them to have in terms of abilities. No matter what, though, ADPs are good to know the average value of the "average GM" you'll be drafting against.

It's been a few weeks since the free agency opened its doors and we're still a few weeks away from the NFL draft, so I figured it'd make sense to look at how ADPs have varied during the last few days as we start to gear up for the real-life draft and our very own fantasy draft season. In this series and throughout all of the offseason, I’ll highlight players at each skill position seeing significant fluctuation from just before the past NFL draft to right after it finished, using data from FFPC drafts that have taken place in that period. Let's get it going!

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Tight Ends - ADP Risers

Albert Okwuegbunam - Denver Broncos

Did you hear about it? Sounded to me like the Broncos made a trade or something... Well, they did, and not just your random offseason trade. Denver is moving on from Teddy Bridgewater and whatever you think Drew Lock is as they enter the Russell Wilson era. That's correct, and that's the main reason for Albert-O raising the super-early ADP leaderboard. Oh, that, and the fact that TE1 Noah Fant is now a Seahawk as part of the package that Denver had to send Seattle's way to land Wilson.

Considering Fant was a top-20 TE in his three years with at least a 66/40/562/3 line in all those seasons, it makes no sense to believe Albert-O can improve on that by staying in Denver and having a much better QB throwing him the rock next season. Okwu caught 33-of-40 targets last season, put up 330 yards, and scored 2 TDs over 14 games played. An understandable uptick in ADP, though you should keep an eye on it because this offense is loaded and there is a chance Denver has not enough food for Wilson to feed all those pass-catching WR/TE/RB mouths.

Robert Tonyan - Green Bay Packers

Of course, Tonyan is rising in the ADP ranks. Green Bay has been making the headlines for weeks now and odds are that is not going to change for a few more weeks at least until we're deep into May. First of all, GB brought back MVP Aaron Rodgers to man the pocket for at least one more year. Second, they traded WR1 Davante Adams away leaving an awfully thin WR depth chart in town. Finally, they did nothing to address the WR/TE positions in free agency, and on top of that, they're losing Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown. It's now down to Allen Lazard and Robert Tonyan to get Rodgers' targets without anyone else in tow as I'm writing this.

Logic says GB will draft one or two receivers early to address their pass-catching issues, but this is the Packers we're talking about... Tonyan was a very disappointing play last year coming off a sublime 2020 and playing just 8 games for 50.4 PPR points (6.3 FPPG). He should bounce back because last year was a true aberration and there must be some positive regression working in his favor. Not a man to chase crazily but with massive Red-Zone TD-upside.

Zach Ertz - Arizona Cardinals

Interesting to find Ertz here, though the bump-up in ADP feels more a product of his environment than his true exploits last season. Ertz rebounded a bit after his last season and a half (before getting traded last year) in Philly, finishing with 180.7 PPR points (10.6 FPPG) in 2021. Arizona was forced to trade for and rely on Ertz more than it might have wanted to, but with DeAndre Hopkins missing seven games entirely there was not a lot the Cards could do other than look the veteran TE's way.

Arizona is entering this year's NFL draft having lost WR1 Christian Kirk and WR2 A.J. Green. They have also let RB2 Chase Edmonds (43-of-53 receptions, 311 yards) go. Other than Hopkins there are no other viable pass-catching weapons in the dessert excluding any potential rookie addition, so even if Ertz doesn't reach his best levels (he shouldn't, as he's clearly past his prime these days) he is still fantastically well positioned in a barren-of-talent offense that will undoubtedly keep feeding him 100+ targets.

 

Tight Ends - ADP Fallers

Noah Fant - Seattle Seahawks

If you read Albert-O's blurb above, you know what's popping. Noah Fant has gone from playing under QB Drew Lock in Denver... to doing so under QB Drew Lock in Seattle. Uh, oh, you weren't expecting that, eh!? Well, poor Fant can't escape purgatory, it seems. Fant has been sublime throughout all of his career. It is what it is. You can't often draft a TE with a receiving baseline around 90/65/670/3 past the 10th round, but that's what is currently happening with Fant's ADP, as it's cratering of late. Are we sure it should, though? Seattle isn't worse at QB than Denver was for the past couple of years, honestly. The offense has two studs in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, yes, but Denver isn't precisely barren of talent either (not to that extent, I know). It's hard to trust Fant for another top-12 TE season, but there are much worse ROI players at the position getting drafted earlier than 120 and that, to my eyes, is making Fant a true bargain and under-the-radar sleeper right now.

Mike Gesicki - Miami Dolphins

Gesicki is, at the very least, the OG version of Kyle Pitts. Tons of talk about how this new kid is redefining the position, how he's a WR playing the TE position, etc, etc... Don't fall for the fake hype, folks. Gesicki was doing it years before you even heard Pitts' name for the first time, so there's that. Is this fall down the ADP ranks legit, though? It is indeed.

Miami is going all-in this offseason with the moves they're doing, even though it is not clear yet whether QB Tua Tagovailoa is something or not, and what will happen with him if he underperforms in the slightest of ways. Tua has a new backup in Teddy B, though, who should be good enough to keep Miami's WR/TE floors at a reasonable level. Gesicki's availability has been great bottoming at 15 games played in 2020 and getting 85+ targets in each of the past three seasons. He's finished those three years inside the top-12 TE averaging 8.5, 10.6, and 9.7 FPPG. Lots of folks out there dropping critics on Mikey, but those just don't hold if you ask me. Of course, he will now have to battle WR Tyreek Hill/Cedrick Wilson/Preston Williams on top of Jaylen Waddle (and RB Chase Edmonds/Raheem Mostert too) to get targets, but given his playing profile, it's not hard to see him reach nice enough numbers. Not the most optimal situation, but a clear bargain if his ADP keeps tanking.

Hunter Henry - New England Patriots

Did you even remember Hunter Henry exists? The Pats went on a spending spree last offseason but they are now saving the goods in their coffers. Brought to New England along with fellow TE Jonnu Smith, the truth is that Henry was the better of the two--and it wasn't even close. Henry should retain his TE1 role entering 2022 with an improved (we hope) Mac Jones at the QB position in what will be the second pro-season of the young, surprisingly good quarterback.

Not much has changed in New England's offense through the past few weeks other than the acquisition of DeVante Parker but he may simply replace Nelson Agholor if the team parts ways with him as rumored. In other words, you can choose your angle here: Henry retains his value as the clear-cut go-to TE on the team, but he also doesn't benefit from NE bolstering an offense that is not one of the top O's in the NFL as currently constructed. Another bonafide top-12 TE with his ADP dropping a full round since the FA opened. As long as it stays there, you bet I'd be Hunting this Henry.



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