Don’t Block Me: Five Overlooked Tight Ends

August 5, 2020

I won’t call myself a tight end whisper here.

Or maybe I will. I started playing fantasy football as a redraft player, but like most of us, dynasty eventually became my fantasy football obsession.

In dynasty, I have been able to key on some quite good tight ends in my day — Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Noah Fant (when he was back at Iowa), Blake Jarwin, Ian Thomas, Jonnu Smith, and I owned Darren Waller when he was a wide receiver.

I’ve had my clunkers too, but who remembers the bogeys?

Here are my Top 5 tight ends that may be being overlooked in your fantasy leagues this summer.

1, Mike Gesicki, Miami: The Dolphins liked Gesicki enough to use a second-round pick on him in 2018. While he did have fantasy playoff clunkers in weeks 14 and 15, he was very good for the Dolphins in the second half of the season, closing out the year with 13-plus PPR points in three of the last five weeks of the season. With a full healthy season under his belt and possibly Tua under center for the Dolphins, Gesicki is a bargain at TE14.

2, Jack Doyle, Indianapolis: You could have played wheel of Colts TE the past few years trying to figure out who was going to get the targets and who was inevitably going to get into the endzone. Doyle is the sole survivor of that dumpster fire of a game. Tight end is by far the hardest position to predict in fantasy football, since even the best tight ends are asked to stay in and block every once in awhile. Doyle is going as TE17 and will likely be available to stash as a backup tight end later in the draft. If TY Hilton misses time this season, Doyle, the most seasoned pass catcher in Indy without Hilton, could shoot up draft boards as a key target for Philip Rivers, who we know loves his tight ends.

3, Jimmy Graham, Chicago: I can’t believe I just typed those words. Graham is going as TE27 and will likely be available on your waiver wires, but I truly believe he is worth a late round stash if you have bench room. Now, you can blame the talent they have had at the position, but the Packers haven’t sustained a worthy fantasy tight end since Jermichael Finley in 2011. I think Graham is ready for a resurgence in Chicago. The Bears have Cole Kmet to fill the (I can’t believe I am typing these words either.) Travis Kelce role in Matt Nagy’s offense. Graham could fill the Gronk role in two-tight end sets and catch passes over the middle and in the endzone from whomever is throwing passes in blue and orange this fall.

4. Evan Engram, New York Giants: We aren’t that far removed from the confident choice of selecting Engram as the third or fourth tight end, which would land him in the top three or four rounds. Engram has fallen all the way down to the sixth TE in ADP and fifth in my rankings. But, an underrated Engram isn’t being drafted there. Engram can be found in the late fifth round, behind Raheem Mostert, AJ Green, Cam Akers and Julian Edelman. When healthy, Engram was very good with Daniel Jones under center, catching 6 passes on eight targets for 113 yards and a score in Week 3 against Tampa Bay in Danny Dimes’ first start. I would feel comfortable drafting Engram in the late fourth to early fifth, but would be okay with my league mates letting Engram fall to me while I stack up running backs and wide receivers.

5, OJ Howard, Tampa Bay: Howard was the first tight end I wanted to put on here, but, for a few reasons I buried him. First, if you’re a longtime follower of the show, Nathan Joyce and I stumped for OJ Howard last year and he fell flat. Like, thin crust flat. Was not good. Second, Michael Sicoli just explained a week or so ago about how Bruce Arians doesn’t produce fantasy tight ends. Third, Cameron Brate was better and the Buccaneers brought in Gronk in the offseason. Now, the reasons why I like Howard this year: 1. I actually believe the Alabama product is a good tight end. 2. I know Bruce Arians isn’t Belichick, but he is a mad scientist of a football coach. Tampa Bay will play plenty of two-tight end sets with Howard and Gronk simultaneously on the field with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, leaving Howard wide open on intermediate routes for Tom Brady to find. Anyone recall if Aaron Hernandez was a good fantasy asset or not?