Tight End Busts for 2019 Fantasy Football
This is undoubtedly the toughest bust article I’ve had to write because of the volatility of the tight end position. There are three elite guys, five solid guys, and then a complete dumpster fire of inconsistency after that. It’s impossible to say that Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and George Kittle will bust but we’ll do our best to navigate through the rest and give you the tight end busts you need to fade.
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Tight End Busts for 2019 Fantasy Football
Eric Ebron (IND)
Gosh, I hate to do this because Ebron carried a few of my teams last season. The simple fact is, this dude has some serious regression headed his way. The Colts tight end was actually one of the league leaders with 13 touchdowns on just 66 receptions. That’s an absurd 20 percent of his receptions resulting in TDs and that’s just not sustainable for anyone.
What worries me is that Indianapolis tends to use numerous tight ends and he was really the only one used last season. Not only was Jack Doyle dealing with numerous injuries throughout the year, but Mo Alie-Cox is also projected to be a much bigger part of this offense. In the six games with Doyle, Ebron averaged just 5.3 targets per game while averaging 8.8 targets per game in the 10 games he missed. People forget just how good Doyle can be too, as he recorded 80 receptions on 109 targets and 690 yards in 2017 before an injury-riddled 2018. That will surely take away targets but more importantly, red zone opportunities. While I do think Ebron will score a handful of touchdowns, it’s simply not worth the sixth-round price tag.
Austin Hooper (ATL)
Has Hooper ever really satisfied a fantasy owner? I know I’ve never been happy with him on any of my teams and it blows my mind that we’re still taking this guy as a Top-12 tight end. While he is a formidable player in a PPR league, Hooper is pretty useless in standard formats. The reason for that is because he rarely provides big yardage totals or many touchdowns. That’s evident by the fact that Hooper never had more than 77 receiving yards in any game last season while recording just four TDs.
That TD total is what really scares me, as his 16.1 percent red-zone target share ranked 17th at the TE position. He also averaged just 9.3 yards per reception and 1.7 yards per route, which are simply some of the worst figures in the NFL. That simply means that Hooper is primarily used as a dump-off target and that’s really not something that I find attractive for fantasy purposes.
Chris Herndon (NYJ)
This might be the most suspiring price of any tight end, as I truly don’t understand how he’s the 12th guy off the board. I get that Sam Darnold is growing and he wants to feed his tight end, but I can’t trust a guy with so many dud performances.
Herndon only had more than four receptions twice all season last year while recording two or fewer catches in 10 of his 16 games. Yes, two or fewer receptions in 10 games last season! I get it, he was a rookie, but c’mon man, that’s unforgivable!
What also scares me is that this offense is slowly getting better. For the first time in years, there are actually three formidable WR’s on this roster. Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa and Jamison Crowder should take away targets from Herndon and that doesn’t even take into consideration that Le’Veon Bell has joined the show. This is a running back who’s notoriously one of the best receiving RBs in the game and that’s another 100 targets off the board. Not to mention, Herndon ranked 30th in snap share, 29th in end zone target share, and 40th in yards per route last season. Why take an unproven guy here when there’s plenty of proven guys being drafted after him?
Tight End Fades
Evan Engram (NYG)
I’m not completely fading Engram but I just don’t like this price. Engram is currently going off the board as the fourth or fifth tight end in every draft and I’d much rather wait five rounds for players with a similar floor. Engram’s floor is what really scares me, with the Giants tight end scoring 8.5 standard fantasy points or fewer in nine of his 11 games last season. While Engram played just 11 games last season, the fact that Rhett Ellison played 83 more snaps than him last season is worrisome too.
Mark Andrews (BAL)
We have to ignore this Fantrax ADP on this one because Andrews is steadily climbing up draft boards. While he’s the 22nd tight end off the board according to Fantrax, I’ve actually seen this guy go in the Top-12 at the tight end position. That absolutely blows my mind and the hype train is going way to fast for me to hop on.
What I don’t like about Andrews is this offense, with Baltimore recording the least pass attempts in the NFL once Lamar Jackson became the starter. That’s why he had only 34 receptions on 50 targets, which is simply not enough from a guy going this high. I’d much rather take a risk on a high-upside guy like Jordan Reed, Jimmy Graham or Delanie Walker.
My Tight End Strategy
I want to give you guys a little insight on how I’ll be approaching tight ends this season. If I miss out on the Top-3 studs, I’ll be waiting for my tight end. I’m going to draft two of either Delanie Walker, Greg Olsen, Jared Cook, Jordan Reed, Tyler Eifert, or Jimmy Graham. These guys are all very risky but they’ve all shown flashes of brilliance too. I believe that if you end up with two of these guys, there’s a great chance that you’ll end up with a Top-8 TE at the backend of your draft.
Which tight end busts are you fading in 2019? For more great analysis check out the 2019 Fantrax Fantasy Football Draft Kit.
Joel Bartilotta is a fantasy addict who gets paid to write about his addiction. He writes for FantasyPros, RotoWire, Razzball and now Fantrax. Joel is a basketball lifer but he also covers MLB and NFL.
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