Last but not least, we cover the most shallow, as well as the least sexy position in dynasty rookie drafts. That of course would be tight end. While the position lacks the excitement of the wide receivers, there are a few guys to have some optimism about in dynasty rookie drafts. While I’m not expecting a ton from these guys year one, bright fantasy futures are possible. Can these guys catch passes? Yes! Can they block? Who cares? Here are my favorite dynasty rookie tight ends.
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Rookie Tight Ends in 2020
Cole Kmet — Bears
Kmet used his 6’6” 260 lb frame to become one of the top offensive weapons for the 2019 Fighting Irish. While not the most polished route runner from the position, he is able to use decent speed to make a few downfield plays. He will need to work on his pass blocking in order to see more snaps. While blocking doesn’t score us fantasy points, it’s important if it can keep him on the field.
As the Bears learn how to use Kmet’s skill set, his size will be his biggest asset. As he continues to learn the position, he will be able to exploit mismatches. With the signing of Jimmy Graham in free agency, there will be competition from day one. As with the other two players in this article, Kmet didn’t land in an ideal spot for fantasy. However, we know rookie tight ends don’t give you much fantasy production in year one. From a real life standpoint, his situation in Chicago takes some pressure off of him to learn the position in the pros.
What I expect this year: Not much. He will be involved in the red zone, and as the Bears learn how to exploit defenses with Kmet’s size he could become more useful as the year goes on.
What I expect beyond: Kmet could develop into a top-five fantasy tight end if he learns how to be an NFL tight end. He will be the top fantasy rookie tight end drafted, but he will need to be stashed away for a bit.
Harrison Bryant — Browns
While Bryant was mentioned in the same breath as the most talented prospects at the position, his landing spot is less than ideal. In his final season at Florida Atlantic, the 6’5” 240-pounder posted a 1,000-yard season and found the end zone seven times. Bryant is a better blocker than Kmet, but also like the Bears’ rookie, his pass-catching skills are his calling card. He will need to add some weight to his frame in order to become a physical presence. All the tools are here to become one of the top dynasty rookie tight ends off the board.
Unless the Browns make a move with David Njoku, Bryant figures to make a minimal fantasy impact in 2020. Cleveland also brought in top free agent tight end, and PPR machine Austin Hooper to solidify the position. In dynasty formats, this is a great situation as Bryant has two seasoned vets to learn from. You aren’t drafting him as your starter in 2020, so he comes cheap and has a bright future. Bryant will be one of the bigger dynasty rookie tight end values in fantasy.
Adam Trautman — Saints
New Orleans traded up to snag the former Dayton Flyer in the third round of the draft. While some argue his production came against less than stellar defenses, it’s hard to argue with what he did in 2019. With 70 receptions, 914 yards, and a whopping 14 touchdowns, it’s easy to see he was a focal point of the Flyer offense. While he needs to work on blocking and route running at the next level, he will be out to prove he can produce against top-level competition in the NFL.
Much like Kmet and Bryant, he will not be counted on in the beginning to produce. There are plenty of mouths to feed on the Saints’ offense. Trautman will also slot in on the depth chart behind veteran Jared Cook who had success pairing with Drew Brees in 2019. We know the offense will score, but there isn’t a lot of optimism for targets in this offense. Trautman figures to just get the leftovers unless Cook gets injured and he’s forced into duty. Even if that happens, there are some athletic linebackers in the NFC South, so it could be a rough go of it in year one.
What I expect this year: I don’t expect much. Rookie tight ends don’t produce much, and there simply won’t be many targets left over for him in this offense right away.
What I expect beyond: I expect Trautman to learn the position and prove he was no fluke in college. I feel he has the highest ceiling of the rookies. However, his path to targets could take a year or two. Trautman is my favorite dynasty rookie tight end heading into 2020.
- Devin Asiasi — Patriots
Asiasi is a raw athlete who is still learning the position. We know what Bill Belichick can do with little known players and also with tight end prospects. He could end up being the most productive of the rookie tight ends with his main competition coming from fellow rookie Dalton Keene.
- Josiah Deguara — Packers
The Cincinnati product lands in a great spot to learn the position. There is some appeal here, but the floor is pretty mediocre. Not going to be a superstar, but could become productive in deeper leagues.
- Albert Okwuegbunam — Broncos
With 4.5 speed at the position, there is some optimism here for development. Much like Trautman, the former Missouri Tiger will have to compete with lots of other mouths for targets. One of the bigger risk reward dynasty rookie tight ends, but he comes cheap!
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