TE2s with prime 5 potential (2021 Fantasy Soccer)
As with any off-season, fantasy managers always want to discover the next big sleeper. Finding players in depressed ADPs who are well beyond their cost can help their managers win a championship.
In fantasy football, the tight end position is bizarre. There are basically two top tiers – Tier 1 is Travis Kelce and Tier 2 is Darren Waller and George Kittle – ahead of a number of “equals” for the next places. In fantasy, there isn’t much of a difference between everyone else unless you have one of the top tight ends. We saw this in 2020 when Kelce and Waller scored 260.3 and 225.1 Fantasy points, respectively, in semi-PPR formats (Kittle only played eight games but averaged 12.6 PPG, which is a little below Kelce 17 , 4 and Waller 14.1). Meanwhile, the TE3 through TE12 were only separated by 32.3 Fantasy Points – or just 2.0 per game – according to FantasyPros data.
I recently wrote an article covering some of the minor receivers (e.g. Tee Higgins, DJ Chark Jr., and Brandin Cooks) that I think have the greatest potential to finish as WR1s (top 12). In this iteration, I’ll be looking at various TE2s (TE13 and lower) that have the best chances of finishing in the top 5 this season. Let’s discuss!
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Evan Engram (NYG)
After an impressive, if volume-based, rookie debut, former first-round pick Evan Engram has seen his game decline despite certain “awards” (he surprisingly made it to the NFC’s Pro Bowl team before Robert Tonyan last season) . In particular, Engram saw his total drop from 64 in his rookie season to 40s in the next two. He recorded only 63 last season. His touchdowns also went from six in 2017 to just one last year.
As a player selected as an elite and athletic option in the end, the overwhelming reception numbers are cause for concern. However, his athleticism and role with the Giants (he was supposed to act as a second option behind Kenny Golladay) should lead to over 90 goals again this season, which is a nice perk to a narrow end in the imagination, especially given his TE13 -Consensus rank considering.
If we see the Giants’ overall offensive, particularly third year quarterback Daniel Jones, improving this season, Engram could be a great value pick for fantasy managers. At his current ADP (115 in semi-PPR leagues), fantasy managers who hit the tight spot can target him and hope for a solid return.
Blake Jarwin (OF THE)
Blake Jarwin is currently classified as TE18 in the semi-PPR leagues and could be a minor matter for many fantasy managers as the next season approaches. Several analysts, most notably Mike Wright of Fantasy Footballers, touted Jarwin as the next big dream sleeper in fantasy leading into the 2020 season. However, a cruciate ligament tear in week 1 immediately destroyed this prospect.
However, Jarwin is on a top 5 NFL offense (assuming Dak Prescott fully recovers from his gruesome ankle injury in week 5) that relies on his passing game to cover a porous defense. Since passing attacks are becoming more and more efficient and optimized in the modern NFL, there really shouldn’t be “too many mouths to feed” on this offensive. In fact, at 6 feet 5 and 260 pounds, Jarwin is an above-average athlete, according to Player Profiler, and looks like a matchup nightmare for the defense – largely having to cover Dallas’ elite group of wide receivers as well.
If you’re looking to forego tight end in your draft entirely this season, or just want two sleepers in the late rounds, Jarwin is an exceptional destination.
Cole Kmet (CHI)
Cole Kmet is a sophomore tight end drafted relatively high (43rd overall) by the Chicago Bears in 2020, which led many fantasy analysts and managers to hope for a performance boost in the late season, around to help them win their leagues. It never really came to fruition, however, as Kmet only caught 21 passes for 157 yards and a score in the last six games of the season after his departure in Week 11.
However, in those last six games, Kmet scored 33 goals, which would average 88 in a 16-game season. With the bears exploiting an inexplicable fall of the highly touted signaler Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL draft, the bears should be better off on the offensive this season. We’ve seen how heavily indented quarterbacks like Deshaun Watson, Baker Mayfield, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow have changed their teams’ offensives in their rookie seasons. So if Fields can live up to expectations, this offensive could take people by surprise.
Let’s not forget that the 2018 Bears – head coach Matt Nagy’s first season with the team and Mitch Trubisky’s second – were the ninth-best team in the NFL. With improved quarterback play and a formidable reception corps led by Allen Robinson II and Darnell Mooney to strip Kmet’s primary coverage, the tight end of 2021 could see a nice surge in goals and efficiency. Currently ranked a TE20 in semi-PPR leagues and with an ADP of 292 total, Kmet is basically free in your leagues and he could really see a second jump into the top 5 tight ends in 2021.
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Jared Read is a Featured Writer at FantasyPros. For more information from Jared, see his archive and follow him @JaredL_FF.