One of the most volatile, touchdown-dependent positions in fantasy football is tight end. On top of that, the position’s depth is that of a kiddie pool, with elite options on top, then a steep drop-off into uncertainty. However, an early-season trade could have created value in someone very few expected to have relevancy. Dan Arnold is in the perfect situation to be a legitimate option in fantasy football for the rest of the season, and he may have the perfect set of tools for said role.
While others love to take stabs in the dark and tout their “bold predictions” for coming true, this article is not that. I, Zach Brunner, have analyzed the TE position in fantasy football with success this season, ranking as the industry’s best, per FantasyPros. Providing insight on Dan Arnold with me is Trevor Land, who witnessed Arnold’s collegiate career at UW-Platteville in person and has been singing his graces for some time. He is very aware of what Arnold showcased athletically both on and off the football field during his time at Platteville.
Dan Arnold is a Legit Fantasy Football TE Going Forward
Size and Athleticism
When we think of the new-age tight end, we think of big, athletic guys who can run. Dan Arnold checks all of those boxes.
He’s 6-6, 240 pounds and can run. His official 40-yard dash time is 4.68, though he has better unofficial times. Arnold also ranks in 97th percentile in burst, 93rd percentile in agility and 95th percentile in catch radius. In other words, throw it up and Arnold has the physical attributes to go get it. Clearly, this is the perfect receiving option to give a young quarterback who has the gifts to be great in the NFL.
Off the football field, Arnold was a track star at UW-Platteville. He as an All-American in in the 60 Hurdles with a time of 7.99 (school Record), and a Conference Champion in the 110 Hurdles with a time of 13.93 (school record). Since he’s white, I’ll just call him “sneaky athletic” like other draft scouts.
Role With Jaguars
The Jaguars actively traded for Dan Arnold, proving they wanted him to fill a role on their team. On a short week, he played 32% of the snaps. However, he followed that up by playing 74% of snaps last week, which was the second-highest among the Jaguars’ skill position players. With this opportunity, he led his team in targets (8), receiving yards (64) and he tied for the most receptions (6).
Throughout his NFL career, Arnold has been used as a deep threat. Since he is an athletic, wide receiver turned tight end, he is a mismatch at the position. Teams have used this mismatch to stretch the field and attempt to hit him down the seam of the defense. It has led to him averaging 12.5, 15.9 and 14.1 yards per reception during his first three seasons in the NFL. Following the injury to D.J. Chark, Arnold is Jacksonville’s best field-stretching weapon now, making him a threat to catch the ball in all three levels of the defense, giving him massive upside any given week.
Dan Arnold Fantasy Football Projection
During his big game in Week 5, Arnold’s average depth of target was 7.9 yards. His season average is 7.8 yards. This ranks 14th among TEs with at least 10 receptions. With his role, his targets are going to be much more steady than at least three of the players above. If I am actually projecting, I would say his targets will be more steady than at least six players above him, making him a top-10 TE based on role and workload, and we already talked about how he checks the physical boxes.
Finally, it shouldn’t be ignored that Dan Arnold is sporting the same jersey Tim Tebow did just over a month ago. While I’m unsure if he needed Tebow’s “blessing” to wear the number, it’s possible there could be some divine intervention on Arnold’s behalf this season. I mean, we are talking about the man whose prayer stopped a fan’s seizure.
While Arnold shouldn’t need Tebow’s miracles to have success, it’s nice to have that safety blanket.