Sleepers and Value Plays: Tight Ends FINAL

Sleepers and Value Plays: Tight Ends FINAL

Fantasy Football Sleepers and Undervalued Picks

Sleepers and Value Plays: Tight Ends FINAL


A sleeper tight end is a player taken as a backup who ends up worthy of being a starter or at least far outplays the draft slot where you selected him.  Average Draft Positions (ADP) are taken from  using only real drafts conducted after August 15.

Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Average Draft order shows a general picture of how your draft will unfold and where values/sleepers and bad values/busts likely exist. Any green check means the player is a good value that could be taken earlier. A red “X” signifies an overvalued player that is a bad value or just too high of a risk for that spot.

Average Draft order – Value plays

ADP Value Tm Player Analysis
1 KC Travis Kelce Hmmm.. #1 TE for the last THREE years. Okay. Make it four.
2 PHI Zach Ertz Ertz has the single-season TE record of 116 catches. Last year.
3 SF George Kittle I’d drop him back several spots. Averaged 4-63 with no TD in 3 games with Garoppolo. SF best WR last year was Kendrick Bourne (42-487-4). This year Garoppolo is back with Dante Pettis, Deebo Samuel, Marquise Goodwin,  etc. Far more targets than 2018 with a better QB. Kittle is still great, just a bit too high in a new situation.
4 TB O.J. Howard Howard is probably there in the fifth round and yet was on a pace for 55-900-8 last year before the ankle injury. Love where you can make this pick.
5 NYG Evan Engram Was less high on Engram but then Tate was suspended and Shepard banged up and Coleman gone for the year. Engram’s rookie year looked like this. No Odell Beckham means Engram is a safety blanket.
6 LAC Hunter Henry Coming back from a torn ACL but will be well over a year by Week 1 of season. At worst a solid pick. Assuming no more injuries.
7 NO Jared Cook While I’d agree – the first seven TE listed are all better. But if you missed them, Cook has major upside where only Michael Thomas is a lock for a high volume. Cook seems to be meshing well with Drew Brees and comes off a career-best 896 yards in OAK last year. Has risen in ADP all summer and no longer a secret sleeper.
8 IND Eric Ebron The retirement of Andrew Luck throws far too much risk and unknowns on Ebron to merit drafting.
9 PIT Vance McDonald  Had a career-best 50-610-4 last year. And Antonio Brown leaves a huge hole behind. But McDonald has never been much of a red zone threat and never gained over 50 yards in his final ten games last year. OC Randy Fichtner said McDonald’s role was not going to grow.
10 CLE David Njoku Talented – sure. But a bit high for me since CLE has so many other options when Baker Mayfield passes.
11 ATL Austin Hooper His third year ended with 71-660-4 and should be at least incrementally better. Pro bowl last year and HC Dan Quinn expects Hooper to take the next step up.
12 TEN Delanie Walker He is 35 years old and broke down last year with a fractured ankle and ligament damage. TEN invested in elite WR the last two years and if Walker ends up with TE1 value, it means it all went horribly wrong in TEN this season. That’s actually not impossible, I guess.

Sleepers and over-valued players

ADP Value Tm Player Analysis
13 DET T.J. Hockenson  Lions want to run more. Best DET TE in 2018 was only 21-263-1 and all combined for just 45 receptions. And this is a rookie TE so no, not interested this year.
14 CAR Greg Olsen He is 34 years old and broke down badly for the last two years. Chances that he returns to form on my team is zero because unreliable and oft-injured players kill a fantasy lineup.
15 MIN Kyle Rudolph  As a backup TE, Rudolph is a solid pick. Still managed 64-634-4 playing with Kirk Cousins last year. MIN drafted Irv Smith but they also signed Rudolph to a 4-year $36M extension. So yeah, getting a TE that never ranked worse than #8 for the last three years at the #16 feels a bit illegal.
16 WAS Jordan Reed Even when the Skins have no other viable options as receivers, Reed still cannot do better than 54-558-2 and that was only missing three games. Too unreliable for me but he still lives on the promise of his 2015 season. There have been positive reviews this summer but needs to show up for more than a game or two before I’d become a believer.
17 CHI Trey Burton Burton had 54-569-6 in 2018 and that’s likely his ceiling as Mitchell Trubisky continues to evolve into using his WR more.
18 GB Jimmy Graham No arguing that his 55-636-2 first year in GB was anything but disappointing. But that still was the #12 best fantasy TE and now he is #19 Graham isn’t a 100-yard receiver anymore but he should see better TDs in the new offense. As a TE2 I am all over this every time. GB drafted a third-round TE but so what? Love this TE2.
19 BAL Mark Andrews Love the upside here. Only managed 34-552-3 as a rookie but most breakout in their second season. Has drawn rave reviews in camp as a “big body over the middle” and Lamar Jackson seems the type to look for a TE. Could end up as a TE1 value.
20 20 PHI Dallas Goedert If Ertz was out injured, then Goedert would be a top-five TE. But his 33-334-4 rookie year is not likely to blow up into a fantasy starter this season. Less than 30 yards and no score in most weeks.
21 DEN Noah Fant Not a fan of any rookie TE and even less on a team featuring either Joe Flacco or a rookie QB. Great keeper pick but don’t want a rookie TE even as a backup.
22 IND Jack Doyle No need to draft with Andrew Luck gone.
23 OAK Darren Waller Hyped in training camp and impressing in the preseason. Maybe not Jared Cook good but worth a pick to see if anything develops. Has risen in ADP all summer.
24 DAL Jason Witten No, he is not going to turn in 1,000 yards or score ten TDs. But he’ll provide weekly fantasy points well in advance of the #24 TE.

Best of the rest

Chris Herndon (NYJ) – He was close to being a top 10 TE but then received the four-game suspension. Cannot fault the pick. Actually makes sense as a TE2 so long as your TE1 doesn’t have a bye before Week 5.


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