Our advance preseason series on best case and worst case seasonal performances at FanTrax concludes with the Fantasy TE position. Considering the floors and ceilings of many notable players at Tight End, we have compiled a list of the most extreme potential outcomes.
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Unexpected Fantasy TE Scenarios That Could Become Reality in 2019
- Jared Cook is even more productive than he was in 2018: For so many seasons, Cook was a much-ballyhooed and often underperforming source of Fantasy frustration. Annually overrated in the preseason for years, Cook was finally a deserved afterthought heading into 2018. So of course, Cook came through with his best season ever, with 68 receptions for 896 yards and six TDs for the Raiders. Cook can certainly improve on such totals in a Saints offense that has always tried to feature the TE under Sean Payton. Plus, Cook now becomes a prime target for TDs in the goal-line area. Cook could finish as a clear Top 4 Fantasy TE in 2019.
- O.J. Howard arrives as an elite Fantasy TE: Howard looked like was on his way to a breakthrough campaign in 2018, with 34 catches for 565 yards and five TDs in 10 games before an ankle injury ended his season. He averaged 16.6 yards per catch in each of his first two pro seasons and had 11 TD catches in seasons one and two combined. Howard could emerge as the true second-most productive pass-catcher on the Buccaneers as he starts to really blossom this year. He has the pure ability and potential to be one of the best Fantasy Football TE starters in the game.
- David Njoku disappoints: The Browns TE has all the natural talent to succeed in a big way, but he has been plagued by inconsistency so far. Two seasons of four TDs so far just haven’t cut it. With Odell Beckham Jr. arriving in Cleveland, and Jarvis Landry still drawing a lot of targets, plus Nick Chubb getting a heavy amount of touches, Njoku may not get enough opportunities to start fully tapping into his considerable potential. There is much hype surrounding the Browns, but Njoku could find himself out of that new and brighter spotlight in Cleveland.
- Delanie Walker fades away: Walker has long been an admirably solid TE for several seasons, but his 2018 campaign was quickly cut short by a season-ending ankle injury. Walker will be 35 years old when the season starts and the Titans have started to construct their passing game around other potentially productive WRs. Walker’s outlook is iffy after coming off a major injury at an advanced age, and at some point, Jonnu Smith may show he is ready to become Walker’s successor as the Fantasy Football TE option from Tennessee.
- Mark Andrews has a breakout season: The Baltimore TE showed us glimpses of his best form later in 2018, catching a 74-yard pass in Week 12, scoring on a 68-yard catch-and-run in Week 16, and totaling 137 receiving yards in the final two weeks of the season. Andrews is only one of two familiar returning targets for Lamar Jackson. The Ravens QB could start to look Andrews’ way more frequently on key passing downs and near the goal line in 2019. Andrews has aready shown he can mix in a few big plays as well.
- Noah Fant is an impact Fantasy Football TE as a rookie: I think Fant may actually be the best Fantasy TE in this year’s class. He is a do-it-all pass-catcher with incredible athletic gifts. Stardom will come for Fant, and it may come quickly. He is my favorite Fantasy TE2 type for lots of upside.
- Trey Burton meets higher expectations: Burton was a disappointment as he finally got a chance to be a TE1 in Chicago last season. But in the second Matt Nagy season, the passing game can improve and Burton still has some promise to be a featured pass-catcher in the attack. If Mitch Trubisky is more consistent and effective overall this year, Burton can certainly benefit and establish himself as a firm Fantasy Football TE starter.
- Chris Herndon solidifies himself a Fantasy TE1: Herndon averaged over 11 Fantasy PPR points from Weeks 6 to 8 in his rookie season, had a 12-point outing and scored 20 points in Week 16. He developed an early rapport with Sam Darnold last year and could improve to the point where he is just more than an occasional significant contributor in 2019.
- Ian Thomas is the new TE1 in Carolina: Greg Olsen is admirably trying to gut out another season, but Thomas displayed some significant signs of what he can bring to the Panthers offense late last season. A very athletic target who also has the ability to be a frequent option on key downs, Thomas’ future may be here sooner than you and Olsen might think.
- Ricky Seals-Jones posts Fantasy Football TE starter numbers: If Kyler Murray puts the hoped spark into the Arizona passing game, Seals-Jones could become a favored big target for him, especially in shorter scoring situations. RSJ stands out as the clear sizable receiving option for Murray on important passing downs.
Scott Engel is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame and a four-time award winner. He was one of the driving content forces in the rise of RotoExperts.com and was the lead host on the RotoExperts in the Morning for six years on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. He was also instrumental in the launch of the FNTSY Sports Network. Scott was the first-ever Senior Writer and Managing Editor at CBS SportsLine and won a company Hall of Fame Award. He was also an Associate Editor and Fantasy analyst for ESPN.com. He has been the featured Fantasy Writer on Seahawks.com since 2012 and his work has been syndicated to the Associated Press, NFL.com, New York Daily News, New York Post, Yahoo Sports, Bloomberg Sports, Sports Illustrated and many others. He is a credentialed media member who won an FSWA award in 2016 for his Insider Fantasy Reporting. Known as “The King”, Scott is on Twitter @scotteTheKing
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