Tyler Higbee is certainly no newcomer entering his sixth season with the Los Angeles Rams, but there are reasons why it should be his best. His first three seasons were mediocre with never more than 25 catches, but then he turned into Cinderella for 2019. Through Week 12, Higbee had just another ho-hum season with a catch or two in each game. Then, he suddenly blew up in epic proportions for the next month and ended with a career-best 69 catches for 734 yards and three touchdowns.
Tyler Higbee, 2019 season
That helped win a few fantasy championships to waiver wire hounds who caught him early and rode him on in. Last season calmed down, with only 44 catches for 521 yards and five scores. Still better than any of his first three seasons, but only good enough to rank No. 18 last year. That was a disappointment coming off his record year as the No. 8 fantasy tight end.
Higbee became more interesting this season when the Rams let Gerald Everett leave for Seattle. That only leaves behind Johnny Mundt and Jacob Harris to try to replace Everett who turned in around 40 catches for 400 yards in each of the last two seasons. Mundt is no threat with only nine catches over his three seasons. Harris was drafted in the fourth round as the overall ninth tight end selected.
Harris is a dynasty league target for the future. The 6-5 tight end only weighs 219 pounds which is very light for the position that typically relies on 260-pound players. But Harris ran a 4.39 40-time. While that screams “receiving tight end,” it remains to be seen what he will do at such a light weight that will be a disadvantage if they expect him to block. More than anything, Harris only played football for one year in high school and then two seasons with Central Florida. He brings minimal experience.
The little-used Mundt and the very raw Harris are not going to be a factor for 2021. With Gerald Everett gone, Higbee is in line to step up his workload. And the loss of Cam Akers means that the Rams will be throwing more than they initially intended. With a quarterback new to the system in Matt Stafford.
The outlook for Higbee would be marginal if that five-game span of 2019 never existed. He’d be just another tight end. And there is no certainty that he doesn’t end up as such again this year. But – why did he have that amazing end to 2019? The No. 1 fantasy tight end over that period, and it wasn’t close.
There are two reasons to consider. First, Higbee hit a stretch in the schedule that included some of the worst secondaries against tight ends. That’s a major factor, with no argument. The passing schedule strength is only average this year and again, with a new quarterback to establish chemistry.
The other factor is relevant. During the Monday night game of Week 12, Everett hyper-extended his knee against the Ravens. He never had another catch that year. Higbee totaled 43 catches over those final five games. Again – the opponents were all weak against the position, so in context it wasn’t quite as mind-blowing as it seemed.
But Higbee enters his seventh season with the Rams in the best situation of his career. Everett is gone, and the rest of the tight ends don’t look like contributors this year. In a position where maybe five or six tight ends offer any advantage, Higbee merits a roster add. Especially if you waited until the later rounds.