Five Under 25 — Top Dynasty Tight Ends
To conclude the five under 25 series, let’s check out the catcher of fantasy football, the tight end! Now that I have your attention with that sexy opening line, let’s face it. Tight end is deeper than it has been in a long time. Sure there are a few elite guys, but are they worth your dynasty draft capital? Here are some dynasty tight ends that are much cheaper, but those bargain prices may not last beyond 2020 drafts. Here are five you need to know, especially if you’re trying to find the next George Kittle. If I forgot your favorite, let me know @therealmaday on Twitter!
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Top 5 Dynasty Tight Ends
Mark Andrews — Ravens
Andrews burst onto the scene in his second season and became a big part of Lamar Jackson’s breakout campaign. The 24-year-old posted 64 receptions for 852 yards and ten touchdowns. While his stat line for 2019 will show he played in 15 games, Andrews posted a few low point totals due to injuries. He did lead the team in targets (98) while playing in less than 60% of the Ravens’ offensive snaps. There is no reason to believe he can’t continue to be the go-to-guy for Jackson beyond 2019. Hayden Hurst has left town, leaving no real threats to Andrews’ target share at the position. He was one of the bigger values in 2019 drafts, and while he’s a big more expensive heading into 2020, there’s no reason he can’t continue to be one of the top-five dynasty tight ends for seasons to come.
T.J. Hockenson — Lions
The former Iowa Hawkeye posted a rookie debut of six grabs for 131 yards and a score in Week 1 last season. Unfortunately, this game would account for nearly half of his total yardage and exactly half of his touchdown output for the season. To be fair, rookie tight ends usually don’t become dynasty fantasy studs immediately, so we didn’t think he would approach those numbers every week did we? Hockenson did battle injury, playing in just 12 games as a rookie. The Lions also suited up the likes of David Blough and Jeff Driskel at quarterback after Matthew Stafford went down for the season. Hockenson is a former top-10 pick, and has a ton of athleticism. Stafford has a few more solid seasons and continues to be an underrated fantasy QB. Expect Hockenson to live up to the hype.
Noah Fant — Broncos
T.J. Hockenson’s college teammate was also a first-round draft pick in 2019. Unlike Hockenson, Fant flashed a more impressive rookie body of work. Let’s not get too caught up in the overall numbers though, as he was wildly inconsistent. The 22-year-old Fant tallied 40 receptions for 562 yards and three touchdowns as a rook. Sadly for his owners, Fant posted nine games in which he had two receptions or fewer and didn’t make a dent in your fantasy point totals. He did post two 100 yard games, however, and showed flashes of why he was one of the top tight ends in his class. John Elway made adding weapons on offense a priority to help second-year quarterback Drew Lock. Lock is one of my favorite sleepers heading into the season, and Fant’s success rides on how his QB settles into the role. It may be tough at times for Fant to get a ton of targets, but he figures to be both a playmaker and a check-down option in this offense.
Mike Gesicki — Dolphins
The 24-year-old Gesicki was one of the few bright spots on a bad Dolphins team. In his second season, the former Nittany Lion tallied 51 receptions for 570 yards and five touchdowns. Unlike Fant, Gesicki could be counted on a bit more week to week, especially in the second half. In six of the final eight games of 2019, Gesicki had at least four receptions. There isn’t a breakout candidate list he isn’t on, and with good reason. While the Dolphins will be improved as a defense, they still stand to allow a huge amount of points. This bodes well for the offense to get chances. I believe the coaching staff will continue to figure out how to get the ball into their tight end’s hands and the breakout will come. After all, no other tight end lined up in the slot more in 2019 than this guy. Better buy him in dynasty ASAP.
Ian Thomas — Panthers
Thomas is by far the biggest bargain, as well as the biggest boom/bust candidate on this list. There’s reason for optimism here. There are plenty of tight ends going off the board before him, and he can be drafted as your backup if you have a deep enough bench. If he doesn’t pan out, you won’t be out much, and if he does, you’re welcome. Greg Olson has taken his talents to the great northwest, and that doesn’t leave much competition at the position for Thomas. From Week 12 on, Thomas saw a total of 25 targets after largely being unused most of the season. It’s also worth noting that former LSU passing game coordinator Joe Brady will be calling plays for new head coach Matt Ruhle. Brady will figure out ways to get the ball to Thomas, and when it is all said and done he could stand to be a top ten guy. His price will never be lower in dynasty drafts than it is now.
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