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As a high-stakes fantasy player, I have to admit I do not address the tight end position early in drafts unless a player like Travis Kelce falls to the fourth or fifth round (and that is not likely to happen). Fantasy owners who address the position early will be looking to grab stars like Kelce, George Kittle, or Zach Ertz early in drafts in 2020.
Many times even the best players at the position fail to live up to high draft capital needed to secure them in drafts. Let’s take a quick deeper dive.
Last season, San Francisco’s George Kittle (TE2), who put up over 220 PPR fantasy points, would have finished as the WR18 and out of the top-12 among all running backs. Philadelphia Eagles Zach Ertz (TE4) would have finished outside the top-20 in wide receiver rankings in PPR formats as well as beyond the top-15 among running backs. Those who stepped out early and drafted New York Giants Evan Engram (TE 18) or Tampa Bay’s O.J. Howard (TE29) among the top-10 at the position last summer, were burned when they failed to live up to expectations.
Successful fantasy owners should approach filling the position by often waiting until mid or late rounds. Tight ends in that range offer excellent value.
Now we get to the fun part: Which tight ends should you target in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts? My model has three players who fantasy owners should target this season. You may be surprised at who my projections are high on, but I can tell you that I am not high on either Austin Hooper or Rob Gronkowski in 2020.
Jack Doyle, IND (ADP 152)
Doyle, who is only a few seasons removed from a Pro Bowl campaign, currently stands further down than middle-round talent according to his ADP, but that offers even more value from a player who could emerge with top-10 production at the position.
As we learned from his time with the Chargers, Philip Rivers has a strong propensity to use his tight ends (Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry). They’re an integral feature in Frank Reich’s offense in Indianapolis. With Eric Ebron now in Pittsburgh playing for the Steelers, two other players who could emerge from the roster are Trey Burton (who has a history with Reich from time together in Philadelphia) and deep sleeper Xavier Gramble.
This is a situation worth monitoring in the next several weeks, but right now, Doyle at his current ADP is worth the roll of the dice to surpass the 72 targets from a year ago with Rivers now under center.
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