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 Tight Ends In The Best Fantasy Situations


The 2019 NFL draft is complete and it's time to start prepping for fantasy football. Today, we're talking about tight ends that could make an impact in the rookie season. The most difficult part of this will be figuring out which tight ends can avoid the rookie wall that most rookie tight ends seem to hit when they jump to the NFL.

Evan Engram was a great player during his first year in the league, but that was more of an exception to the rule than an indication that the NFL is becoming easier for rookies. O.J. Howard was viewed as the most NFL-ready tight end in a decade when he was coming into the league, and he didn't even have 40 targets during his rookie season.

There are a few guys worth looking at in dynasty formats, such as Jace Sternberger of the Green Bay Packers or Kahale Warring with the Houston Texans, but we want those guys that can contribute right away and help you win. These guys can be big focal points of their offense, and they're going to get the opportunity to start right away once they get on the field.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions

When a team drafts you in the Top 10, you're going to be a major focal point of whatever they do on that side of the ball. T.J. Hockenson still has room to grow, but he will get that opportunity right away. The Lions signed Jesse James in free agency, but they don't have any other player on the roster that can take snaps away from him.

This offseason, the Lions changed offensive coordinators to former Seattle Seahawks coordinator Darrell Bevell. That should be an advantageous situation for him. Packers' tight end Jimmy Graham had two great seasons, and they both came under Bevell. He likes to use the tight ends down in the red zone, as evidenced by the 10 touchdowns Graham had.

Hockenson may not be the most efficient tight end this season, and he might not put up the highest yardage totals. However, he's going to get plenty of opportunities. That's what you're looking for in a rookie. He may not be your top option at tight end, but he will put up solid TE2 numbers in this offense when the year is over.

 

Noah Fant, Denver Broncos

Both Iowa tight ends are making this list, and Noah Fant could arguably be higher on the list than Hockenson, although this list is in no specific order. Fant is immediately the number one tight end in the Mile High City, and he is playing in an offense that will love to use the tight ends. Offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello spent the last two seasons as the quarterbacks coach with the San Francisco 49ers. They had a tight end that was a "decent" player.

Fant has the potential to be the next George Kittle. Both are above-average athletes for the position, and they both came out of Iowa. While Kittle is the better blocker, it's all about the receiving game when it comes to the fantasy football world. That is where Fant excels. Despite playing in a run-first offense in college, he was still able to make plays happen. He was especially good in the red zone where he took advantage of his 6'5," 241-pound frame to haul in 18 touchdowns over the last two years.

Similar to Hockenson, Fant has no challengers to his title as TE1. He also quickly becomes at least the third-best receiving threat the team has behind wide receivers, Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton. Fant is a great threat up the seam, and, whether it's Joe Flacco or Drew Lock slinging him the football, he'll get plenty of opportunities to be one of the top tight ends in the NFL his year.

 

Drew Sample, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals brought back tight end Tyler Eifert on a one-year prove-it deal, and they have C.J. Uzomah in place as the second-string tight end. So, why is Drew Sample on this list? In his six-year career, Eifert has played 16 games zero times, and that number has steadily decreased following his injury at the Pro Bowl in 2015. Meanwhile, as the featured tight end last year, Uzomah didn't even crack 500 yards, and he only had three touchdowns. The door is wide open for Sample to insert himself as TE1.

In college, Sample played on a team that was built on winning defensive possessions, and the offense just had to do their job. He was a decent blocker, and he did his job as a receiver. The Bengals grabbed him in the second round because they believe that he can be a big part of what they want to do. Putting Sample in this group is less of a boost to him, and it's more of an indictment of the guys in front of him. If they won't strangle their hold on the position, he's a solid enough player to take over their spot.

He's not going to put up gaudy stat lines that we might see from guys like Fant, but he's going to get consistent targets on a weekly basis. Quarterback Andy Dalton has always liked to use the tight end position, but he hasn't had a consistent player at that spot that could help him out. Sample can be a great safety blanket for Dalton, and he can be a safety blanket for you in fantasy.

 

Josh Oliver, Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars made a splash in free agency when they signed quarterback Nick Foles away from the Philadelphia Eagles. When the draft started, they knew they needed to get him some more offensive weapons. Josh Oliver is a good weapon to go grab in the third round. He isn't Zach Ertz, but he does have some of those elements to his game. He can line up in line, but he can also be moved into the slot. At 6'5" and 250 pounds, there won't be many slot corners that can handle his size.

Not only did the Jaguars grab the Eagles' former quarterback. They went and grabbed a former quarterbacks coach to be the offensive coordinator in John DeFelippo. The Eagles used the tight ends a lot, and Oliver should be used in a very similar fashion. The only tight end in front of him is former Dallas Cowboy Geoff Swaim. Oliver should have no problems pushing past him to become the starter for this offense.

The Jaguars' offense has done a lot of ground-and-pound stuff in the past few seasons, but it's likely that they're going to try and open things up more with Foles under center. That will give Oliver more opportunities to succeed. With tight ends, it doesn't take much to make a difference. Even if he is just a red zone guy that catches three balls a game with a touchdown, you'll take that from a rookie tight end all day long.

 

Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills

Dawson Knox wasn't the most-utilized tight end in college, but that was more of an issue with who his teammates were. They had players like A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf and DaMarkus Lodge taking up the majority of the targets, and that left Knox to take up what was left. In a Bills offense that doesn't have a ton of proven pass catchers with a young quarterback, Knox can quickly become the number one tight end option by building his rapport with sophomore quarterback Josh Allen.

Knox will have to work to beat out free agent signing Tyler Kroft, but he shouldn't have any trouble doing that, especially if his blocking is able to translate to the next level. Knox was one of the best blocking tight ends in this draft class. The Bills have put an emphasis on keeping Allen upright, and Knox falls right in with that mentality. His blocking may be his best skill, but he's a good receiver when given the opportunity.

Knox can give Allen a safety blanket that all young quarterbacks look to develop. He knows how to use his size effectively, and he can give Allen an option to dump it down when things aren't going right on a play. Knox will get better as a receiver with more time, and he's playing with an offense that has wanted to use their tight ends. He may not be the most athletic guy in the room, but he's a smart football player that works hard on the football field.

More NFL Draft Coverage




More Recent Articles

 

We Must Overreact Immediately! Week 6 Outliers

In Week 6, several players exploded in fantasy lineups. There were a few receivers that were above the rest of the pack in Week 6, such as Stefon Diggs, Terry McLaurin, Chris Godwin and Tyreek Hill, but there shouldn't be any surprises there as those guys should have been in fantasy lineups. At the quarterback... Read More


Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 7

The bye week difficulties continue this week with Carolina, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay all getting their rest in Week 7. It should be noted, however, that just because a player is currently in their bye week, doesn't mean you should avoid them on the waiver wire. In fact, this is often the easiest way... Read More


Week 7 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

All of a sudden, the Chargers look like one of the worst teams in football and the Jets look like a playoff contender. Maybe things won't shake out that way in the end but it goes to show how quickly things change in the "Not For Long" NFL. For that reason, we advise looking at... Read More


The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 7)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More


Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 7 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 7 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver... Read More


Week 7 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Week 6 is done, and we've seen some outstanding games thus far. We've also seen a lot of surprising teams through six weeks. The San Francisco 49ers, after picking in the top 10 for four straight years, are 5-0 with one of the most complete teams in football. As far as kickers go, we're seeing... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

Some of you have been rewarded for your meticulous roster planning by receiving excellent production from your running backs. Unfortunately, many of you have been equally prepared when making roster decisions, but have been undermined by injuries, inconsistent usage, or underwhelming performances. If that applies to you, then those unwanted outcomes have forced you to... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 7

We weren't really surprised by the top-scoring fantasy wide receivers from Week 6. Out of the top-20 receivers, only Jamison Crowder, Auden Tate and Jaron Brown were less than 50% owned. Jaron Brown (0% owned) was only targeted five times but he scored two touchdowns off of those five targets. Auden Tate (23% owned) hauled... Read More


Tight End Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers – Week 7

Another week, another four teams on bye in the NFL. Fantasy football players are going to have to make due this week without Carolina’s Greg Olsen, Tampa Bay’s O.J. Howard and Pittsburgh’s Vance McDonald, not to mention Seattle’s Will Dissly, who was injured this past Sunday. It could be a worse week for fantasy players... Read More


Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 7

It was another big week at the quarterback position, as five quarterbacks topped 30 points and 12 scored more than 20 heading into Sunday Night Football. Most of the big performers were players we expect, such as Matt Ryan and Deshaun Watson, but we also got some surprising starts from quarterbacks who are widely available.... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 7 Lightning Round

The Jets are back! OK, maybe not back because they were never here but at least there's some actual hope and fantasy value to be had from a previously winless team. The tight end landscape has changed drastically again, as Hunter Henry returns right at 60% ownership, while breakout second-year Seahawk Will Dissly's season appears... Read More


Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups List

Back by popular demand in 2019... RotoBaller has brought back for the NFL season our Ultimate 2019 Fantasy Football Sleepers and Waiver Wire Pickups List.  Be sure to also try our other lineup tools below. Using your phone? Be sure to also download our free app which includes news, notifications, injury alerts & articles.   Rankings WizardWeekly... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 6 Amari Cooper (quad) has been ruled out for the game. Will Dissly went down with a non-contact achilles... Read More


Week 6 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


NFL Matchup Ratings Tool - Weekly Player Projections

  If you see the red "Upgrade" button below, then you are not a Premium subscriber, or have not yet logged in. Learn more about our NFL Matchup Ratings and projections system. Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of... Read More