In fantasy football, the tight end position can be difficult to navigate. That is true in any format, whether it’s Redraft, Dynasty, or Best Ball. Have no fear, because what follows is a list of tight ends to target. While the notions are similar for all leagues, the key is always to be flexible in your fantasy drafts. With that in mind, here is my TE Draft Strategy for all fantasy football formats.
For each tight end that I mention, I will include their Average Draft position for each of the main formats. Redraft and Dynasty ADP is from Fantasy Football Calculator, while Best Ball ADP is courtesy of Football DieHards. Assuming 12 teams for all settings and no tight end premium scoring.
Travis Kelce ADP: Redraft 2.06, Dynasty 3.02, Best Ball 2.03
George Kittle ADP: Redraft 2.09, Dynasty 2.12, Best Ball 2.08
Travis Kelce and George Kittle are closely linked in average draft position. Both are pretty solidly in the 2nd round of all drafts. Kelce’s Dynasty ADP dips to the 3rd round, but Fantasy Football Calculator’s data also shows that Kelce has gone as high as 1.10 in a startup. If you are planning to take either Kelce or Kittle, the late 1st round may be the place to grab them in order to ensure that you have one.
Tight end is a position filled with a bunch of players who or touchdown dependant. However, Kelce and Kittle are among the few who will garner consistent targets on a week-to-week basis. Having either of these two elite options could provide you with a positional advantage at tight end over most other teams in the league. I would have no hesitation in taking either at their current ADPs. It makes sense that Kelce is, for the most part, still going first in Redraft or Best Ball formats since he is tied to arguably the best offense in the NFL. However, the fact that Kittle has the (slightly) earlier ADP in dynasty takes into account the age difference between the two elite options.
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Mark Andrews ADP: Redraft 4.01, Dynasty 6.02, Best Ball 4.07
Zach Ertz ADP: Redraft 3.09, Dynasty, 5.06, Best Ball 4.10
For me personally, Mark Andrews and Zach Ertz represent the tight ends ranked #3 and #4 respectively in all formats. In your drafts, if you miss out on both Travis Kelce and George Kittle, then Andrews and Ertz are acceptable replacements. Both tight ends lead their teams in targets last year and appear poised to do the same next season. Either should provide the positional advantage over most tight ends. Thus, they are both worthy of being drafted in the range that they are currently going.
The one curious case with these two is in Dynasty formats. According to Fantasy Football Calculator’s average draft position data, Ertz is going off of the board about a half-round earlier than Andrews. I can get behind Ertz ahead Andrews in redraft leagues, but the difference in their respective ages appears to not be respected enough in this ADP. However, Fantasy Football Calculator also shows the range in which a player is being drafted not just the average. According to information available, Andrews has been drafted as early as 3.08 and as late as 7.06. Truthfully, I would select Andrews at closer to the high end of that range. If I committed to one of the top tight ends, in a Dynasty league, I would not let Andrews out of the 4th round in the startup.
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Darren Waller ADP: Redraft 5.05, Dynasty 7.01, Best Ball 5.09
This range of tight end is can be somewhat of a lost zone. Even though I have Darren Waller ranked at TE#5 overall entering 2020, the 5th round is a little early for me. Therefore, he is likely someone that I will not have many shares in Redraft or Best Ball formats. He exploded on to the fantasy scene with over 1,000 yards last season after less than 200 receiving yards combined in his first four years in the NFL. Waller received 117 targets on a team where no other player saw more than 71. The fear with Waller is that the Raiders added several key receivers this offseason, which could cause the tight end’s target share to drop. Considering that most of the key additions were rookies, I can see easily see Waller maintaining close to 100 targets per season while these young players take time to develop.
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When looking at his Dynasty price, I say that it is pretty perfect. Since Waller is only 27, he should just be entering his prime production years. In a Dynasty setting, I would definitely be comfortable with Waller as my starter for the next few seasons. He appears to be receiving an unwarranted drop in value in Dynasty formats. When in reality, Dynasty may be the only format where Waller is actually a value.
Throughout many years in fantasy football, I have subscribed to the late tight end strategy. Where this works best is certainly in deeper leagues where there there is only 1 TE spot and there are are no premium scoring bonuses for the position. In those leagues, I want to build my depth at RB and WR (and QB if it is Superflex). That leaves the tight ends to be dealt with later on. Here are a couple of players that I will be targeting using the late TE plan.
Mike Gesicki ADP: Redraft 9.08, Dynasty 11.06, Best Ball 13.05
Jonnu Smith ADP: Redraft 12.06, Dynasty 11.11, Best Ball 14.10
Mike Gesicki and Jonnu Smith are my favorite targets for this late TE strategy. If there are any tight ends that can elevate into the top 5, it is those two. They are ranked at TE#6 and TE#8 respectively in my 2020 Fantasy Football Rankings.
There are several reasons behind those elevated ranks. The first of which is the sheer freak athleticism that is shared by Gesicki and Smith. Both players have the ability to gain extra yards after the catch. That is key for tight ends to separate themselves from the pack in a position where most targets are in the shorter area of the field.
Another factor why I am picking both Gesicki and Smith to breakout is the relative lack of competition surrounding them. I can easily see both players finishing second on their respective teams in targets. In the case of Gesicki specifically, with a rookie quarterback poised to take over, there is a major x-factor on the Dolphins. Perhaps, once he becomes the starter, Tua Tagovailoa will actually look to Gesicki as his top option, especially in the red zone.
For those reasons, I absolutely love Mike Gesicki’s Dynasty ADP. In the 11th round, if I can get a potential top-end tight end, say no more. Even if you miss on Gesicki at that point, Jonnu Smith should also be available right there. I will say, Smith’s Redraft ADP is the exact area where I really enjoy targetting tight ends. Going in the 12th round, Smith has probably the best chance to be this year’s Mark Andrews and produce a major breakout.
Other Late TE options
Redraft: Jack Doyle ADP 13.06
Dynasty: Hayden Hurst ADP 12.11
Best Ball: Greg Olsen ADP 17.03
Thank you for reading TE Draft Strategy. Be sure to stay connected to Full Press Coverage for more great NFL fantasy content.
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