Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Rookie TEs in the Best Fantasy Positions


Rookie tight ends are notoriously hard to project because so much goes into the position. Players have to be able to show NFL-level blocking and receiving abilities if they want to see the field early.

While some succeed early, others take far longer. Last year was one of the most highly-rated tight end classes in recent draft history, yet only Evan Engram managed to stay fantasy-relevant throughout the season, mostly out of necessity.

That said, there is always the exception and some prodigious pass-catching tight ends could make a splash early on, based on landing spot. Here's a look at the top rookie tight ends, after the NFL Draft.

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!

 

Fantasy Production from a Rookie TE?

Before we tackle this year's crop of tight end talent, let's look back at how the first three tight ends picked have fared their rookie season over the past five years (in standard scoring):

 2017  O.J Howard  TE17
 2017  Evan Engram  TE5
 2017  David Njoku  TE22
 2016  Hunter Henry  TE11
 2016  Austin Hooper  TE35
 2016  Nick Vannett  TE88
 2015  Maxx Williams  TE44
 2015  Clive Walford  TE30
 2015  Tyler Kroft  TE53
 2014  Eric Ebron  TE45
 2014  Austin Seferian-Jenkins  TE43
 2014  Jace Amaro  TE29
 2013  Tyler Eifert  TE29
 2013  Zach Ertz  TE20
 2013  Gavin Escobar  TE50

(By the way, that 2013 tight end class? Travis Kelce was the fifth tight end taken and Jordan Reed was the sixth. THE DRAFT IS BASICALLY JUST A GIANT LOTTERY.)

Henry jumps into the top 10 in PPR in 2016, but still that track record isn't great. Only two of the 15 players on this list had point totals that suggested they were worth starting on a weekly basis. That's not what you want to see if you're on the clock in re-draft and all the top tight ends are off the board and you're really intrigued by one of this season's rookies.

But look at those stats again: the two best seasons came in the last two years, and the 2017 class actually had some productive rookies at the position. Njoku wasn't consistent, but he flashed his talent, and O.J. Howard may have had a chance at finishing in the top 10 if he didn't share snaps with Cameron Brate.

So, let's look at this year's rookie tight end class. Who has a chance to perform in re-draft and, maybe more importantly based on the volatility of the position, who's a good value in dynasty leagues.

(Note: I've left off two players that I like -- Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews -- because they were drafted by the same team. I'm not ready to make any predictions about the tight end situation in Baltimore except to say that two rookie tight ends on the same team feels like a bad move in the short term, but it could pay off great down the line, especially with a new quarterback in Lamar Jackson.)

 

Rookie Tight Ends to Watch in Redraft

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins needed a tight end and they got a potentially good one in Mike Gesicki, who projects to be a good pass catching tight end at the NFL level. With Jarvis Landry and his NFL-leading 112 catches leaving town as well as the departure of Julius Thomas and his 41 receptions, there's a place for Gesicki to see a good number of targets.

The Dolphins did already add Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson to fill that slot role that Landry leaves, but there's still room for Gesicki to make waves, especially down near the red zone. Gesicki has 14 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He's 6'6''. He's going to get a decent amount of chances down around the goal line to make plays for Miami and his track record at Penn State suggests he should be able to take advantage of that.

Take a look at some of Gesicki's college highlights. He's a huge mismatch down near the goal line and has good enough hands to make tough catches. He can score on the shovel pass like a young Travis Kelce. He's going to cause a lot of issues for defenses over his career. Will he be able to do all this as a rookie? Maybe not, especially if he struggles early as a blocker. But at the very least, the upside and opportunity are there in Miami.

Jordan Akins, Houston Texans

The Texans haven't had a consistent tight end since Owen Daniels left town, struggling through a series of inconsistent players at the position like C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin, and Stephen Anderson, who all took snaps at the position during the 2017 season. With Fiedorowicz entering an early retirement due to concussion issues, either Anderson or Griffin were expected to step into the starting role for this upcoming season. Houston fans can't love that possibility: Griffin's 2016 season was fine, when he grabbed 50 catches for 442 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Anderson's 2017 season showed promising as well, with 25 catches for 342 yards and a touchdown, but neither player has the kind of upside that Texans fans and fantasy players want.

Enter Jordan Akins, the Central Florida tight end who caught 32 balls for 515 yards and four touchdowns last season. He's on the older side already, but he's a potentially dynamic player at the tight end position. According to NFL.com's Lance Zierlein, 43.7 percent of Akins's catches last season went for 20 yards or more. He has big play potential on an offense that showed in 2017 that it can make big plays. Deshaun Watson needed a weapon at the tight end position in order to keep the Texans offense running smoothly and to avoid regression in his second season; Akins can be a guy who gives Houston that. If he can surpass Griffin and Anderson during the preseason, he could be worth a late pick in deeper re-draft leagues.

Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys

This pick wouldn't mean much, except Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, a mainstay with the franchise, is rumored to be considering retirement (and by considering, I mean that it sounds like almost a done deal that Witten will leave the Cowboys and join the Monday Night Football broadcasting team.) The Witten news broke after the first round, so the team wasn't able to invest a first round pick in the position, and then the Eagles traded right in front of Dallas to take tight end Dallas Goedert. The Cowboys eventually took Schultz with the last pick in the fourth round.

So, what can he bring to the Cowboys? Let's start by looking at who he'll be competing with for playing time: Rico Gathers, Geoff Swain, and Blake Jarwin. YIKES. Witten's decision to retire after the bulk of free agency was over also means that Dallas can't grab any of the top tier free agents to replace Witten. What's left out on the market? Antonio Gates is declining and likely puts up in exact same situation a year from now. Julius Thomas was released by the Dolphins, but I don't see him as an answer. Schultz, despite being a late fourth rounder, will have a chance to win the starting role. Even if Rico Gathers beats him out, he'll get a chance to see the field on a Witten-less (and Dez Bryant-less) offense.

What can Schultz do? He's a good blocker and has good hands, though he isn't going t0 be the big play receiver that other tight ends from this class can be. But good blocking and reliable hands and good route running? There's a role for a player like that on the Cowboys, a team that was at its best last year while running the ball with Ezekiel Elliott. Schultz can't be expected to step in and be prime Jason Witten, but we could see something resembling late-stage Witten -- his 2016 season in which he had 673 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Dak Prescott's first season at quarterback. Schultz likely isn't worth a pick in re-draft right off the bat unless you play in an extremely deep league, but he's worth monitoring over the course of the preseason to see how his role develops. He doesn't have anyone ahead of him on the Cowboys depth chart that's unassailable right now.

 

More NFL Draft Analysis




More Recent Articles

 

Biggest Breakouts Of 2019: Wide Receivers

As we enter the initial phase of offseason activities you have recently completed a painstaking process of creating and managing rosters, with the goal of winning fantasy championships in 2019. Now, many of you have already shifted your focus toward planning your drafts in Best Ball and redraft leagues, while others are contemplating how you... Read More


Tight End ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward their owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More


Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Conference Championships Matchups Analysis

Welcome to our NFL Conference Championships matchups analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering both of the AFC and NFC contests from the Sunday slate, helping you make the best decisions for your DFS contests this weekend. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries... Read More


Conference Championships Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More


Running Back ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, a sure-fire player is expected to reward his owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they end up as a season-long dud, though,... Read More


Dynasty Players to Sell in 2020

Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano share their top sell candidates for dynasty football leagues in the 2020 fantasy football preseason. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune into RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (channel Sirius 210,... Read More


Biggest Surprises of 2019: Tight End

The 2019 NFL season was anything but predictable. I mean, the Tennessee Titans made the AFC title game! Andrew Luck retired right before the season! [Insert one of many, many other things here, because all lists need three items but I couldn't decide between all the possible third options.] One position where things at the... Read More


Wide Receiver ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward his owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More


Biggest Busts of 2019: Quarterback

The 2019 NFL season is over, and it's time to look back on what happened. 2019 was a year where some quarterbacks -- Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen -- leaped up to the top of the fantasy charts, while other guys faded from where they were expected to perform. Today, I want to talk about three... Read More


Four and Out: Fantasy Outlooks for Divisional Round Losers

For the four teams that were eliminated in the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs, the offseason has begun. For many fantasy football owners, the days have already started counting down to next season. Owners in dynasty leagues have started to mull over their decisions.  How some guys perform in the playoffs can certainly alter... Read More


Quarterback ADP Winners and Losers: 2019 Season Review

I've always believed that it is easier to lose a fantasy championship than to win it on draft day. It makes sense, as sure-fire players are expected to reward their owners with a lower risk-factor than the other way around and thus they're always drafter earlier. If they put up a season-long dud, though, you'll... Read More


Biggest Busts of 2019: Wide Receivers

After a very interesting season of fantasy football action, many owners were left with a bitter taste in their mouth from a few of the “elite” NFL wide receivers. While Michael Thomas dominated and Julio Jones was his usual reliable self, not all was good if you played it safe by taking a receiver early.... Read More


Quarterback Risers and Fallers: 2019 Season Review

This article will examine the biggest risers and fallers at the quarterback position, which proved to be the most impactful in fantasy leagues as is often the case. Of the top-25 players in fantasy this season, 18 of them played the QB position and none of the 18 scored less than 280 fantasy points on... Read More


XFL Fantasy Football Rankings (Preseason)

As of this writing, there is exactly one month until XFL regular-season action begins. On February 8, the latest upstart professional league will kickoff (again) with spring football. It goes without saying that we hope it goes better than the first time, back in 2001, and lasts longer than the AAF. Before you settle in... Read More


Wide Receiver Risers and Fallers: 2019 Season Review

We continue our series covering the biggest risers and fallers of 2019 with the wide receiver position. I'll look at both 2018 and 2019 statistical outcomes from every player, contrast their performances, calculate differences in each category and come up with the most prominent names going forward. This past season, receivers didn't dominate in fantasy,... Read More