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 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!

 

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

 

Nine AL Rookies Ready to Leap Into Starting Lineups

Every year, there are those rookies who we expect to make a splash right away. Think Kris Bryant, Ronald Acuna, Cody Bellinger, Aaron Judge--those guys. Once we make it through all the service time manipulation shenanigans, there are always youngsters ready to snatch roster spots immediately, and 2020 is no exception. Below are nine of... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Spin Rate

Spin rate has become one of the most recognizable Statcast metrics, with supporters of a given pitcher highlighting his spin rates to make their case. Unfortunately, the baseball world has done a lousy job conveying what spin rate really means. The result has been a ton of owners who know that spin rate exists, but... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Khris Davis

The Oakland Athletics finished 2019 with a record of 97-65, which was good for a second-place finish in the AL West and a second-consecutive wildcard birth. They did this despite a statistically down season from their superstar, Khris Davis. Davis struggled mightily in 2019 by slashing .220/.293/.387 with 23 HR, 73 RBI, 61 R, and... Read More


ADP Cost Analysis: Trey Mancini vs. Christian Walker

One of the most important skills in a fantasy draft is the ability to identify a player with similar value at a lower ADP. When you're able to find similar production at a lower cost, this allows you to use an earlier pick to fill out other areas of your roster, resulting in a stronger... Read More


MLB Closers and Saves: Fantasy Baseball Depth Charts

Saves are an important component for many fantasy baseball leagues. Closers are one of the most volatile positions in fantasy baseball, and one of the highest turnover positions in MLB. Each year, closers drop like flies and many MLB teams make in-season changes due to injuries or poor performance. Stay on top of all closer depth... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More


Bases Loaded Podcast - Relief Pitchers Preview

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is joined by Jorge Montanez, Zach Braff and Mike Simione as they jump into their relief pitcher preview! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well!... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Jose Urquidy

It's been a tumultuous winter for the Houston Astros. Not only were they embroiled in a sign-stealing scandal (which has, naturally, progressed apace to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about ever more sophisticated methods of cheating), but they watched staff ace Gerrit Cole sign a mammoth free-agent deal with the Yankees. Plenty of virtual ink has been... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Mark Canha

Mark Canha had a solid 2019 campaign and is one player that probably deserves more attention heading into 2020 than he is currently receiving. He finished the season hitting .273/.396/.517 with 26 HR, 58 RBI, 80 R, and 67 BB in 410 at-bats. It was a very productive line for a guy that played in... Read More


Four Prospect Sleepers for 2020 Redraft Leagues

Recently, Rotoballer launched a list of the Top 50 MLB prospects for the coming year. The top of the list was populated by names such as Gavin Lux, Luis Robert, and Brendan McKay. These players, among others, feature a promising combination of talent and favorable playing time projections to suggest they’ll be the cream-of-the-crop among... Read More


ADP Cost Analysis – Robbie Ray vs Trevor Bauer

With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, those of us who partake in this joyous game are now looking through as much draft data as possible in a bid to find players we love who have lower average draft positions (ADP) than we believe they should. All this to eke out as much draft... Read More


2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Second Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as "the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – C.J. Cron

As another fantasy baseball season approaches, we once again have the chance to discuss C.J. Cron as a fantasy sleeper. Cron will be playing for his third team in three seasons. It is tough to wrap one's head around the idea that a player of Cron's talent continues to be undervalued by professional and fantasy... Read More


2020 Starting Pitcher Rankings - H2H Points Leagues

Points leagues may seem like a slight variation from traditional 5x5 category scoring leagues but you must approach draft day with a very different strategy if you wish to truly compete. All preseason long, RotoBaller has you covered with the latest rankings for all fantasy baseball league types. Here we present our points league rankings... Read More


Second-Half Improvements: Buy Into These Starting Pitchers

The second half of the season is always put under a microscope for starting pitchers. Fantasy players have a love for the second half of the season, as the belief is that pitchers who take a step forward could carry over that success the next season and perhaps even build upon it. But, as we... Read More