NFL Training Camps are only a month away and the fantasy football analysis is heating up. Fantasy owners are making notes and finding their top targets when drafts come around later in the summer. One position where there is some sneaky value, according to their average draft position (ADP) is at tight end. These are the current four best fantasy tight end value picks, according to their ADP.
Mark Andrews (ADP 4.10, TE 3)
ALL IN. Mark Andrews is going to be one of the best fantasy tight end value picks in drafts. He finished as TE4 last year, which was only his second season. It also was Lamar Jackson’s second season, so these players are growing together and their connection was on full display last season.
Only three players had 10 or more receiving touchdowns last year: Kenny Golladay, Cooper Kupp and Andrews. The Baltimore Ravens’ offense should be near the top of the league in red zone visits, and Andrews is Jackson’s go-to red zone target, so the high touchdown totals are dependable. The Ravens offense funnels through the tight end position, evidenced by 43.6% of their passes targeting the position — the most in the league.
He brings week-winning ability, like when he went off in the fantasy playoffs in Week 16. totaling 93 yards and two touchdowns. Few fantasy tight ends have that type of upside in a given week. Also, the Ravens traded fellow tight end Hayden Hurst to the Atlanta Falcons, which frees up 30 tight end receptions from last season. It shows their confidence in Andrews. Lets look at the top five fantasy tight ends last year (1/2 PPR):
|Travis Kelce||205.8 Pts||136 Tgts|
|George Kittle||180 Pts||107 Tgts|
|Darren Waller||176 Pts||117 Tgts|
|Mark Andrews||175.2 Pts||98 Tgts|
|Zach Ertz||171.6 Pts||135 Tgts|
Andrews was only five points behind Kittle and 30 behind Kelce, with much less targets. Those targets are going to increase. And listen to this stat. He was only on the field for 41% of the Ravens’ offensive snaps. With more snaps and more targets, you are drafting someone on the same level as Kelce, but with a couple round discount.
Tyler Higbee (ADP 8.01, TE 9)
Sometimes you just need to make a call on a player. I’m deciding that what we saw at the end the season was legit. This is Tyler Higbee’s stat line from Week 12 on:
He led the league in fantasy tight end points during that stretch and won many owners championships. He also averaged 10.3 targets/game. I know Gerald Everett was hurt, but Higbee’s performance was too impressive for me to believe that he won’t be involved heavily. Everett even came back the last two games, yet Higbee was still their go-to tight end.
Sean McVay is a smart coach and I think he will try to get Higbee the ball more. One could say that’s just speculation. So, look at the money. They gave him a four-year, $31 million contract extension after the season ended, proving his importance to this offense. We’ve all heard about the Rams transitioning to 2TE sets. Brandin Cooks is gone. Gurley is gone. Those targets need to go somewhere and it helps insure more looks for him.
His ADP of 7.09 is generous. We saw his ceiling the last six weeks and I want him on my teams this year.
Jonnu Smith (ADP 13.09, TE 16)
Here’s the fantasy tight end value pick that will be going the latest in drafts. Acquire him cheap in dynasty right now, because it won’t be the same after this season. The Tennessee Titan’s organization is looking up, after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship, and Jonnu Smith is playing an integral role. His ridiculous one-handed touchdown grab in the playoff game against the Ravens shows what he is capable of and that they trust him in key situations.
His athletic measurables are crazy. The man is FAST, recording two of the five fastest plays by a tight end last season. Smith makes plays that jump off the screen. He’ll catch a pass, hit a seam and literally outrun safeties on his way into the end zone.
Smith has only been in the league three seasons, and now he’s ready to breakout on this Super Bowl-contending team, whose mainstay at tight end, Delanie Walker, is gone. Last offseason, Smith was rehabbing from a season-ending knee injury, but now he enters this offseason 100% healthy. There’s reports that Ryan Tannehill and Smith have been working out a few times together weekly in south Florida during quarantine.
I don’t think he’s going to get the targets to produce at the level of some of the top fantasy tight ends, but he’s going to have some huge games and surprise a lot people. He’s exactly what you’re looking for in a late round tight end breakout, and he could be an interesting pick for best ball leagues.
Hayden Hurst (ADP 7.06, TE8)
Onto the man that the Ravens traded. The Atlanta Falcons was a fantastic landing spot. Let’s not forget that Austin Hooper was the TE1 through 10 weeks last year before he got hurt. He’s gone, and they brought in Hayden Hurst to replace to him.
This offense wants to use the tight end, and there’s nobody behind Hurst on the depth chart that will challenge him for looks. The Falcons are consistently near the top of the league in pass attempts, ranking fifth in 2018 and first last year under current OC Dirk Koetter. They also have the most vacated targets in the league.
Hurst was the first tight end drafted in 2018 in a strong draft class that also included Mike Gesicki, Mark Andrews and Dallas Goedert. He didn’t benefit much from Jackson’s amazing MVP season last year, because Andrews surpassed him on the depth chart. I’m anticipating at least 85 targets. Hooper had 97 targets in only 13 games, so the opportunity is there. If he is as good as his first-round draft capital would project him to be, he should take huge advantage of it.