For the next installment of Fantrax’s fantasy tight end depth charts, we’re going to delve into the NFC South. I’ve already ranked the top 30 fantasy tight ends in the NFL, but why not break this down by division? Between the Falcons, Panthers, Saints, and Bucs, there are some sneaky values.
Much like the running back, the tight end position is a scarce fantasy asset. It’s for this reason that my favorite strategy is to draft a running back with my first 4 picks…regardless of league style (redraft, dynasty, etc.). I aim to find value at other positions like WR and QB because if I miss on a bet at those positions, I can always trade one of my RBs for a roster weakness during the season. With my 5th pick, that’s when I take the TE. You have to hit on your TE, or else your streaming one every week. After TE10, your options really fall off. Let’s get into it.
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NFC South Tight End Depth Chart
TE5: Kyle Pitts
TE27: Hayden Hurst
We all know about Kyle Pitts. He was a matchup nightmare in college. Faster than the linebackers, bigger than the corners. Could line up out wide, or at the line. We’re anticipating much of the same in the NFL, and he should get his fair share of targets with the departure of Julio Jones. He’s my TE5, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with how his season goes.
Where the Falcons become most interesting is with Hayden Hurst. He quietly had a very solid year last year. He finished as TE11 with just under 600 yards recieving and 6TDs. I’m actually expecting a similar performance this year with all the passing that the Falcons will need to do. However, that would require the Falcons to run offensive sets similar to the Ravens, with two TEs. The key to fantasy success is acquiring players that have plenty of opportunities. If Hurst isn’t getting many snaps, or if his role switches to a blocking TE, he doesn’t really have a chance to finish top 30.
I don’t have a single Panthers TE in my top 30 this year either. Dan Arnold and Ian Thomas would be the go to targets on this roster if I’m wrong. The way I look at it, this offense is going through CMC on the ground, and through the air. If I had to choose a target here, Ian Thomas is the more athletically promising of the two. I’d steer clear of this group though.
TE24: Adam Trautman
This ranking is contingent on Jameis Winston winning the starting job. Taysom Hill isn’t known for being an elegant passer, and the passing game will suffer if Hill is the starter, dragging down Trautman’s outlook. I think Jameis will win the job, however. Jameis loves his big TEs, especially in the redzone. He’s the only reason we know the names OJ Howard and Cameron Brate, from his time in Tampa. Trautman provides sneaky value considering he’s not a household name in the fantasy community. He finished TE59 last year, and I’m expecting a big jump this year.
TE19: Rob Gronkowski
Last year, I was worried that Gronk’s body would hold up, and hold up it has, as he was a major cog in Tampa’s Super Bowl season. He finished TE8 last year, and the reason I have him lower this year is based on the fact that having a full season with Antonio Brown will mean more mouths to feed. Less targets for Gronk, should correlate to a lower ranking. Further, Tampa may not be doing a ton of passing in fourth quarters due to how strong their roster is. Gronk is always good for a few multi touchdown games per year, but I think they’ll be fewer and further between this year.
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