The tight end position has gone through quite the transformation in fantasy football this year.
When the season began, Travis Kelce, Darren Waller and George Kittle were all the rage, with players like Mark Andrews, T.J. Hockenson and Dallas Goedert on the bubble of potential elite, and rookie upstart Kyle Pitts was garnering attention as well. But for fantasy purposes, this position was extremely top-heavy to open the year.
As time went on, other tight ends began to take center stage and became more of a factor in fantasy. Dawson Knox was turning his red zone targets into touchdowns, Mike Gesicki grew more appealing with his rising target share, and even Dalton Schultz has now become a favorite in the end zone for Dak Prescott. The position was suddenly flush with talent, and few managers found themselves struggling to field a quality tight end.
Things almost turned for the worse as players like Pitts, Hockenson, Goedert and Gesicki started to struggle. In addition, Rob Gronkowski got hurt, and Noah Fant just never reached his potential in a sputtering Denver offense. But with every down, there was an up, and we found players like Pat Freiermuth, Dan Arnold, Cole Kmet and Adam Trautman consistently receiving more targets and keeping the position rich with talent.
Unfortunately, the injury bug has reared its ugly head again and is now trying to deplete the position again. Trautman and Arnold will each be out for 4-6 weeks with injuries, Waller is considered week-to-week with a knee problem and even Freiermuth’s availability is now up to the NFL’s concussion protocol. If you’ve been hit at the tight end position, though, fear not. Help is on the way.
Washington is bringing back Logan Thomas from injured reserve, so check to see if someone in your league dropped him. James O’Shaughnessy is ready to take over for Arnold in Jacksonville, and Nick Vannett showed he is ready for prime time in New Orleans as he found the end zone on Thanksgiving with Trautman on the shelf. You can also look to David Njoku in Cleveland, as their receiving corps has been ravaged by injuries.
Outside of the top names like Kelce, Kittle, Waller and Andrews, you shouldn’t expect world-beating numbers. You’re looking for opportunity. Red-zone targets are like currency in the tight end world, and you want those who have the most. O’Shaughnessy, Vannett and Njoku may not be household names, but all three should see targets in and around the end zone. Land one if you’re struggling and hold them tight for the playoffs.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy football advice.
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