Is Cordarrelle Patterson Arthur Smith’s New Ryan Tannehill?

Cordarrelle Patterson is a unique profile

By: Andy Davies

When Arthur Smith was hired as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, he came into the role with a great reputation for improving players after a two-season spell as the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans.

One player he helped improve was quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The former first-round pick arrived after a mixed spell with the Miami Dolphins. Tannehill improved massively, earning the award for Comeback Player of the Year after his first season with the franchise despite starting the season as the backup to Marcus Mariota. When Smith was promoted to offensive coordinator, he only got better.

Smith was predicted by many to help Matt Ryan get back to his former MVP self after what he did for Tannehill. Ryan has not improved or regressed in 2021. Instead, it has been Cordarrelle Patterson that has been the biggest improver under Smith. 

Here is why Patterson is Smith’s new Tannehill. 

Overcoming Expectation

The Falcons experimented with the idea of bringing Todd Gurley back to his best in 2020 but this only lasted one season. Instead of giving Gurley a new deal, they went for the versatile Patterson in Free Agency who signed a one-year $3 million deal. 

Patterson has been seen as somewhat of a journeyman during his NFL career, with the Falcons his fifth organisation since being drafted 29th overall in 2013. For a while, he was seen as a great return specialist at best, with the occasional snaps as a running back or wide receiver.

He is a Super Bowl champion, earning a ring with the New England Patriots after their 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53. However, he had just two rushing attempts for 7 yards and two receptions for 14 yards as well as a 38-yard kick return. He did not exactly have a big role in the game, in what is the lowest scoring Super Bowl in history. 

Patterson has started eight games this season. This is tied for the most games he has started, alongside his 2016 campaign with the Minnesota Vikings. The growth of Patterson and improvement made under Smith can be seen when you compare these two seasons.

In 2016, he recorded 43 rushing yards from 7 attempts and 453 yards from 52 receptions. In 2021, he has so far recorded 489 rushing yards from 106 carries and 518 receiving yards from 44 catches. He is having the best season of his career by some distance. 

The Falcons need to make sure he is at the franchise for more than one season. Giving him a new contract should be number one on the list of priorities for this team. He has been a brilliant addition to the Falcons offense. Kyle Pitts leads the team in receiving yards this season (770), but Calvin Ridley announced midseason that he would take a break from the sport for personal reasons. With the offseason departure of Julio Jones, Patterson’s rise in form has come at the perfect time. They currently sit at 6-7 with a chance of making the playoffs for the first time since the 2017 campaign.

Smith’s Influence

The aforementioned Tannehill spoke about Smith during the 2021 offseason.

“He’s a great coach. Everything you look for in a coach and a leader and a great offensive mind.”

It is not just Tannehill that saw massive improvement under Smith. Running back Derrick Henry was seen as just a good running back during his first three seasons but saw his best two seasons alongside Smith. He recorded 2,293 rushing yards across his first three seasons in the NFL. His next two (2019 and 2020) saw him combine for 3,567 rushing yards and 33 rushing touchdowns, becoming just the eighth player in NFL history to record over 2,000 rushing yards in a single season when he had 2,027 in 2019

Smith clearly knows how to work with running backs, as can be seen with Henry. The same is happening again with Patterson. After their 21-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars in November, Smith was in high praise of Patterson.

He’s a warrior. He’s a big physical presence that can do a lot for us.”

This was proved when he was listed as a back safety earlier this month.  It is a sign of a good coach when they can get the best out of a player and see their potential. Not even the greatest head coach of all time in Bill Belichick realised Patterson’s potential. Smith has taken a player seemingly on the wrong end of his career, to now being one of the best players this season. Some are even viewing him as an outside MVP candidate.

Patterson has a lot to thank Smith for. 

Fantasy: 3 deep sleepers at TE

Target Seahawks TE Gerald Everett

By: Ravi Krishnan

So here we are, two days away from the much-awaited 2021 season of our favorite pastime, the National Football League. For many of us that follow the NFL, a big driver to our enthusiasm is our craziness towards Fantasy Football in general and looking for gold nuggets in the NFL marshlands, to be more specific. While everyone thinks, talks, and reads about the Top 100 players to be drafted, some of us are keener to unearth viable fantasy players for your roster from among the bottom-feeders in the NFL players’ universes.

Today’s article examines the Tight End (TE) position and looks at three potentially unseen heroes at the spot — or, super-deep sleepers, to be referential to fantasy football. So, without any further ado, here are 3 super-duper-sleeper TE picks for the 2021 fantasy football season.

  1. Gerald Everett, Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks’ new OC, Shane Waldron was the passing game coordinator with the Rams last season. He brings with him a quick-passing style of offense that should work wonders in a Russ Wilson-helmed offensive unit. And one of the biggest factors in this offense could potentially be its newest TE – Gerald Everett. He played under Waldron in LA, and is familiar with his system. He was already in line to pick up the 77 targets left vacant by Greg Olsen and Jacob Hollister last year, but should garner many many more in Waldron’s TE-friendly system. Most significantly, Seattle has no clear No. 3 target in its passing offense behind DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett — Everett could very easily be the missing piece.

2021 Average Draft Position (ADP): #17 in Half-PPR

Projected Upside Ranking for Season: Top 8 among TEs

  1. Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys

Two years back, Jarwin showed flashes of big-play potential in a limited role behind Jason Witten. His promise was attractive enough for the Cowboys to give him a four-year, $22 million extension in the offseason – but to his misfortune, he tore his ACL in Week 1 of 2020.  In his absence, Dalton Schulz was well on his way to a TE1 finish until Dak Prescott’s untimely injury. Now Jarwin is back, he’s healthy, and has been getting his due reps as a starter during pre-season practices and games. Yes, there is a slight chance of his getting Wally Pipped by Schultz, but fact is that Jarwin is the more athletic, more naturally skilled player at the position; also, he’s the one the team has invested in, and that ultimately matters. Even from an on-field data perspective, Jarwin’s upside is easy to see – Schultz was targeted 89 times last year and had luminaries such as Cooper Rush and Garrett Gilbert throwing to him; a healthy Jarwin getting passes thrown to him by a healthy Dak could very viably get past 100 targets and a potential Top 10 TE finish to the season.

2021 Average Draft Position (ADP): #21 in Half-PPR

Projected Upside Ranking for Season: Top 10 among TEs

  1. Juwan Johnson, New Orleans Saints

The NFL has changed over the years in player skills, athletic levels, talent pre-requisites and overall make-up of what it takes to be a star contributor. In this context, the TE position has probably seen the most radical transformation — from stodgy-blocking-experts-with-safe-hands to tall-basketball players-with WR hands. Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates, Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Darren Waller and others have made the TE spot a unique differentiator. Many of these stars are as good, if not better, than top-level WRs, and some actually started as one. And this is the context behind my last sleeper of the day – Juwan Johnson. He was a WR until this past summer and is now a converted TE. On a team that uses TEs a lot and is now missing its top two players at the position (Adam Trautman and Nick Vannett) due to injuries, Johnson could be the sneakiest of sneaky picks for you in the late rounds. Oh, and the best part about Johnson is his position eligibility. Some sites have him as a WR, some as TE, and there are a few sites. that have granted him eligibility at both. 

2021 Average Draft Position (ADP): #48 in Half-PPR

Projected Upside Ranking for Season: Top 12 among TEs

Two sleeper TEs to target in fantasy

NFL TEs to target in fantasy

By: Brady Akins

NFL TEs are among the most confusing positions in all of fantasy football.

It’s far from glamorous. Just about every player at the position, with the exception of Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and Las Vegas’ Darren Waller on a good day, can’t come close to matching the production of other skill position players.

And yet, if you miss out on the top two or three players at the position, you’ll likely spend your season frustrated at inconsistent play and repeated low-scoring weeks. This is why finding sleepers is crucial when it comes to tight end.

Load up on running backs and receivers, wait until Round 12 or 13 to draft either of these two sleeper superstars and watch their surprisingly strong play reward your patience. 

Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams (Average Draft Position — TE10)

As if the Rams’ offense wasn’t spoiled for skill position riches with their running backs and wide receivers in 2020, Los Angeles also had a deep and talented cast of tight ends, with Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett headlining a bunch that was difficult to comfortably bet on last season due to their tendency to take targets from each other. 

Between Higbee and Everett, the tight end duo combined for 122 targets last season– with the target share being nearly 50/50 (Everett with 62 targets, Higbee with 60). 

In a cruel twist of fantasy football fate, the tight end-dependent passing game of the Rams didn’t have a star fantasy player at the position. But two major changes in the status quo should change that.

The most important factor being, that once deep group of tight ends has significantly shallowed up. Higbee remains, but Everett is gone– leaving 62 targets and 41 catches unclaimed. Higbee will only benefit from having less talent around him at the position.

And, of course, the headline-grabbing factor, Los Angeles’ starting quarterback from last season is out, traded along with a handful of draft picks for the Lions’ Matthew Stafford, who should, in theory, be an upgrade at the position.

Between the absence of Everett and the addition of Stafford, Higbee should be in line for a masterpiece fantasy football season. One that exceeds the expectations of a TE10.

Irv Smith Jr, Minnesota Vikings (Average Draft Position — TE13)

Similar to Higbee, Minnesota’s Irv Smith Jr should be in line for a massive bump in production, thanks to some competition being drained from the Vikings’ tight end pool.

Gone from the Vikings roster this season is the Pro Bowl veteran anchor of the offense, Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph was the go-to for Minnesota in the games he played in 2020. Really, Rudolph has been the go-to at the Vikings’ tight end position since 2011. Now, he’s on the Giants roster, leaving the door open for Smith Jr. to take full control.

Smith Jr. has earned the ire of a few in the fantasy football community for not breaking out sooner. Between his high second-round draft status and his strong showing in college playing for the NFL skill-position factory Alabama Crimson Tide, many thought that Smith Jr. would be a star from the moment he stepped onto the field.

But Smith Jr’s 36 catches in his rookie season weren’t impressive to many, nor were his 30 catches in his sophomore season. And now, the Vikings’ tight end has fallen down draft boards– despite his newly favorable offensive situation. 

But this could be the breakout year that Smith Jr has needed, as the former Alabama star has set a precedent for thriving without Rudolph in the mix. Through the final four weeks of 2020, the only four games that Rudolph has been inactive since Smith Jr arrived in 2019, the current Minnesota TE1 thrived to the tune of finishing as the overall TE4 in PPR leagues, and the TE3 in standard-scoring formats. 

In those final four games, Smith Jr. recorded half of his total catches for the season, more than half of his yards, and saw a career-high for targets in a game with nine in Week 16 against the Saints, where the Vikings tight end rewarded his offense for the increased opportunity with two receiving touchdowns.

All is set for Smith Jr. to finally reach his potential of a definitive TE1 in any fantasy scoring format– and you could add him to your roster in the very late rounds of your league’s draft.

3 TEs To Trade For In Dynasty

Target TE Zach Ertz in dynasty

By Levi Ellis

When looking at tight end rankings in fantasy football you will find it’s a dim look after the top three to four players.  Rankings are all over the place and you can just as easily make an argument that one guy’s fifteenth ranked tight end could be another guy’s fifth-ranked tight end. 

If you’re reading this article it’s likely that you don’t own one of the top three guys so the most important thing for me when deciding to trade for a player is to find value.  I rarely ever go after a player and give a team a king’s ransom.  I like to look for players that can be scooped up for a value.  Below you will find three players that I believe are currently a value at the tight end position.

The first player on this list is Dallas Goedert.  While Goedert certainly will come with a cost I think his current situation makes him a value.  Many people are worried about the long-term future of the Eagles quarterback situation and that they are likely to be a run first team this year.  The team also just drafted wide receivers in the first round of back to back drafts (Jalen Reagor and Devonta Smith) and Zach Ertz is still on the roster.  All of these things bring uncertainty however one thing is for certain and that is Goedert is a heck of a player.  I believe Ertz will be traded or cut soon and there are rumors that the Eagles are after Deshaun Watson.  Whether the Watson rumors are fact or fiction doesn’t change a lot for me.  I happen to be a firm believer in Jalen Hurts talent and while he is definitely not at Watson’s level I think Hurts can be a solid starting quarterback in the NFL.  The Eagles have also shown in the past that they will be aggressive in acquiring talent so if Hurts doesn’t work out I have no doubt they will find another quarterback.  Goedert will also be a free agent after this season so he could just as easily sign with another team this offseason.  Imagine if Goedert were to leave via free agency next season and sign with a team like Seattle, Buffalo or the LA Chargers.  Goedert may not be a top five tight end this season but if you’re playing in dynasty he has all the tools to be a consistent top ten player year in and year out and his value is likely to never be lower than it is right now.  

Another tight end that I believe is at a great value right now is Jonnu Smith.  Smith flashed quite a bit early last season before falling out of the game plan in Tennessee.  Smith has a ton of talent and is special with the ball in his hands.  I think a lot of people are concerned about Smith because he and Hunter Henry both signed with New England this offseason, however that is exactly why I like him even more.  New England has shown the dedication and willingness to involve the tight end in the offense and they have proven experience with running two tight end formations and were extremely successful in doing so.  I believe that Smith will play the Hernandez role while Henry will play the Gronk role.  I know that analogy doesn’t seem to make the case for Smith as much as it does for Henry but my point is both tight ends were special in that offense and I think Smith will be the big play vertical guy while Henry will be the more inline blocker and middle of the field guy.  Also, take into consideration that New England does not have a bonafide top wide receiver on the roster that will demand ten plus targets a game.  Smith and Henry can also both be special regardless of which quarterback plays.  Cam likes to throw to the big-bodied players which is great for both Smith and Henry and if Cam’s accuracy really is as bad as what we saw last season he isn’t likely to sling it to the outside as much which means he will be looking for the dump-offs which just happens to be what Smith excels at.  If Mac Jones comes in at some point this also should work out well for Smith.  Rookie quarterbacks tend to lean on the tight end position to serve as a security blanket and Jones would have two of them. I think New England would then build the offense to get the ball out of Jones’s hands quickly, something that he’s great at, and again that works out well for Smith with screens, dump-offs, and slants.  Regardless of Henry or which quarterback plays, Smith is destined to be involved in the offense and he has the talent to succeed and you may not get a better time to buy than now.

I have been pounding the table all offseason to buy this next guy because his value has taken such a hit that he is an incredible value and that guy is Zach Ertz.  Look I don’t expect Ertz to be a top-three tight end this season but I do expect him to be a top ten guy and likely more in the five to seven range.  Although Ertz hasn’t yet been traded or released I think the time is coming and will happen before the season starts.  Philadelphia needs to move on both for cap space as well as to let Goedert out of his cage.  I expect Ertz to land with a team like Buffalo or Indianapolis and I believe he would be a focal point of either offense.  If he did join Indianapolis he would also be reunited with his old quarterback, Carson Wentz and we know that they already have a connection.  By all accounts, Ertz is now healthy and you better believe he will be ready to prove that he still has it.  It feels like the consensus in the fantasy community is that Ertz is washed up but the guy is just thirty years old and only one year removed from an 88 catch season.  The talent is still there and if a zip code change is in store you better believe there will be a chip on his shoulder this season.

If you’re shopping for a tight end this offseason these are three great players to buy if you can get good value from their current owner and while there are other tight ends out there that I like, I believe these three may be at the best bargains.  Good luck on your search and remember to always buy at a value!

Why Kyle Pitts can be the first TE in NFL history to win OROY

TE Kyle Pitts is a strong OROY candidate

By: Jake Rajala

The Atlanta Falcons made legendary Florida Gator Kyle Pitts the highest-drafted tight end in history when they selected him fourth overall in the 2020 draft. A decision to draft Pitts over a future quarterback like Justin Fields was seen as questionable by many analysts and avid Falcons fans. Nonetheless, Pitts is undoubtedly an elite talent and he’s out to prove he deserved to be a Top 5 draft pick at the TE position. 

Despite not playing a professional snap on the football field, Pitts has already shown that he’s a gifted player this offseason. In fact, the trait that really impressed the Falcons was not his size or speed, but rather his wingspan. His wingspan reportedly measured 83 ⅝! Pitts’s wingspan is the longest of any tight end or wide receiver in the last 20 years. 

Pitts is set to show his freakish wingspan on top of his blazing speed (4.44) and his 6’6 frame will allow him to translate well to the NFL level. Pitts, who shows similar traits to elite wide receivers, will surely be one of the top rookies in 2021. Personally, I believe there’s lots of optimism for him to be the very best offensive rookie next season. Here is why the highest-drafted TE ever can be the first TE ever to win Offensive Rookie of The Year (OROY). 

  • Nobody has passed the football more than the Falcons over the last two seasons

The Atlanta Falcons like to sling the pigskin more than any other ball club. The Falcons were fourth in passing attempts last season and first in passing attempts the season prior. 

The Falcons play in more shootout contests than nearly any NFL team. In the Falcons division, they play Tom Brady (third-ranked scoring offense in 2020) twice a year, the Saints offense (fifth-ranked scoring offense last season), and the Panthers aerial attack receiving a healthy Christian McCaffrey in the fold. A disadvantage for the Falcons winning chances, but an advantage for Pitts is that the Falcons pass defense has shown to be the worst in the league (32 out of 32 teams). The Falcons offense is forced to keep pace with the likes of their opposing divisional juggernaut offenses. 

In the wild west of the NFC South, high-scoring matchups are a recurring theme. Offensive weapons in the division have repeatedly put up stats that were above their actual quality of talent. Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin was third in the NFL in receiving yards in 2019 when his below-average QB Jameis Winston threw over 5,000 passing yards. Pitts teammate Calvin Ridley was a beneficiary of the Falcons air rampage with his 1,374 yard tally in 15 games last season, which was good for fifth in the league. It’s blatantly safe to say that Pitts will be a heavy target and he will receive a plethora of opportunities in the 2021 campaign. 

  • Absence of Julio Jones

Another big reason why Pitts is set to haunt the league is a more well-known and relevant reason. The Falcons recently lost franchise great player and WR Julio Jones.

In three of the last four seasons, Jones has collected 148+ targets for his QB Matt Ryan. Pitts and Calvin Ridley will be tasked with filling the shoes of one of the once most indispensable players in the league. Ryan will be under lots of pressure in the 2021 season and it will be the first season he is without his long-time security blanket. He knows that his rookie TE will be a great asset to feed the football to on a repeated basis.

How the dynasty tight end landscape is about to change

Dynasty TEs are evolving

Marcel Boudreau (@Marcel_BFF)

There has been growing importance among the fantasy football community about having one of the top 3 fantasy tight ends, and how it gives you an extreme positional advantage. Many dynasty leagues are now tight end (TE) premiums (where tight end receive more points for production), which if you are in one of these leagues, prepare for the shift. In redraft, we’re seeing Travis Kelce picked in the first round when not too long ago, picking a tight end in the first three rounds would have been frowned upon. But now, we really need to be aware of how the tight end landscape is about to get set on fire, and how it could affect dynasty rosters. 

There are more relevant fantasy tight ends whose contracts expire after the 2021-2022 season than has ever been in an off-season. Who are they, their TE finish last season in PPR scoring, and how it affects the landscape:

Mark Andrews (TE #6): Finishing as a top 6 TE in back-to-back season, Mark Andrews is entering his fourth and final season with Baltimore. It appears we will see a better passing attack from the Ravens in 2021, which could bode really well for this touchdown machine. If the Raven’s fail to extend him, and Andrews tests the free-agent market, he could find a team willing to out-pay the Ravens, which leaves a big hole in Raven’s offense for someone to fill, but also would likely dethrone the tight end in Andrew’s new destination.

Dallas Goedert (TE #20 in 11 games; paced to be TE #9): in a year with the horrific quarterback play, they’re did shine a glimmer of hope to what Goedert could become as the lead TE in the Philadelphia offense. Goedert quickly became Jalen Hurts’ favorite target, but that could be irrelevant if Zach Ertz remains in Philly. If the Eagles fail to trade Ertz, it may leave a sour taste in Goedert’s mouth, as it would show the team really does have full confidence in him. Not only would Ertz ruin Goedert’s dynasty managers’ expectations for the upcoming season, but it would lead to Goedert and Ertz being out of Philly after 2021, especially if Goedert wants to go to an even paying team, who will use him more. 

Mike Gesicki (TE #7): The Dolphins just spent a third-round draft pick on promising TE-talent Hunter Long and extended TE Adam Shaheen in the middle of last season, which both appear like preparation moves to be without Gesicki in 2022. Gesicki would be another extremely talented TE on the market, who has shown nothing but constant improvement and has set himself up nicely to earn a big cheque. 

Evan Engram (TE #15): What was a disappointing result on 109 targets (4th among TEs in 2020), the Giants did show they want to continue to use the TE or was it only a product of no other quality receiving options. They paid a lot of money for Golladay, have endless faith in RB star Saquon Barkley, and just picked wide receiver Kadarius Toney in the first round. But that’s not all, they also signed veteran TE Kyle Rudolph to significant money ($6,000,000/year,) and with the investment in receivers, it’s increasingly seeming that Evan Engram will be faded from this offense. It would be very surprising to see Engram be of any consistent relevance this season, but he is worth holding onto regardless of his 2021 production. Engram is a former first round pick, a freak athlete, and has Daniel Jones to blame for his recent lack in production. It would be shocking to not see another team willing to take a chance on him and give him a fresh start.

Gerald Everett (TE 24): If you’re invested in the fantasy community, you’re aware of the recent surge for Gerald Everett as a sleeper/breakout TE in 2021. Russell Wilson has been well known for producing relevant TEs, but in recent years, the Seahawks have failed to find one that can stay healthy for 16 games. Gerald Everett put up 7 catches for 135 yards against the Seahawks a few years ago, and Pete Carrol was quick to mention how amazed he was by Everett’s play that game. Everett was snagged by the Seahawks on a one-year deal (likely Everett playing the money side of things with the low cap space) and now has the offense and the quarterback to put up massive numbers, in a scheme that has been friendly to the tight end in the past. It would be fun to see Everett be either extended by the Seahawks or re-challenge the free-agent market if he does end up producing top-10 tight end numbers.

Robert Tonyan Jr. (TE #4) and Logan Thomas (TE #3) are both coming off breakout seasons. Neither of these names was on draft radars a season ago and became league-winning waiver wire adds. Both TEs are coming off seasons where they were a top-3 receiving option for their teams. Green Bay and Washington both added receiving options and have other receivers coming back from injury. These TEs have lost some steam over the off-season, and it would not be all that surprising to see them leave their current teams in 2022. 

David Njoku (TE #47) and O.J Howard (TE #58 paced to be TE #14: 4 game splayed): Both drafted in the first round showing lots of promise with their athletic profiles, and both producing top-15 TE value in their second years in the league have also both fizzled out recently and have experienced significant injuries. In 2021, these two guys will face solid competition for snaps and targets at TE in their respective offenses. It be interesting to see how many teams are willing to give them a second chance based on their athleticism and flashes of promise.

Anthony Firkser, Maxx Williams, Rob Gronkowski, C.J Uzomah, all appear to be in “filler” roles at TE. This is not taking anything away from Gronk’s 2019 performance, as he outproduced most expectations, but these four TEs are all part of explosive or efficient offenses and it would not be surprising to see their respective teams replace them with younger, promising talents to add even more weapons to their offenses, especially with some of the talented free agents hitting the market. 

Mo Alie-Cox, Eric Ebron, Jared Cook, Jordan Akins are other TE names to think about, as in all their cases, their respective teams have spent draft capital on rookie TEs, all with the potential to succeed and take over the TE role for these teams. Ian Thomas, Zach Ertz, Jimmy Graham, Chris Herndon, Dalton Shultz, are also on the list of 2022 free agent TE and deserved a mention.

To summarize this cluster of information on how to apply it to the dynasty managing world, latch on to a high-end prospect ready to hit the open market and bank that their talent will earn them a hot landing spot. Another angle to take is to acquire one of the already established TEs, whose roles, volume, and production are not in question for the next couple of years (Kelce, Kittle, Waller, Hockenson…?). After acquiring one of these studs, you can sit back, relax, and watch your league go crazy about the TEs in free agency next off-season. 

Three dynasty buy low TEs

By Levi Ellis

One of the most difficult positions to fill in fantasy football is tight end. There are just not enough starter-worthy tight ends in the league that consistently produce week in and week out. This means three to four teams will have quality starters each week while everyone else has to take the good with the bad and there is always a lot of the bad.  What makes it even more difficult to fill the position is that rookie tight ends rarely produce and often take about three years before they are ready to maintain a consistent role in the offense. Because the tight end is such a difficult position to fill I recommend having a handful of guys every year with starter upside.  In order to do this, you have to find guys at bargains and then hold them to see if they ever reach their potential. This article is all about finding young guys who have upside but come at a cheaper cost.  Let’s take a look at three guys who have starter upside this year but you may be able to find at an incredible value.

The first player I want to talk about is Adam Trautman.  Trautman is entering his second NFL season and was a third round pick last year by the Saints. Trautman is a former high school quarterback and is a skilled pass catcher who needs to work on his blocking.  Fortunately for fantasy the pass catching is what we are looking for. With that being said he has elite upside and the Saints are likely to need him involved in the passing game because after Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara the cupboard is quite thin.  The Saints have some exciting young players but most are unproven just like Trautman.  I also love that he is paired with an offensive minded head coach and if Winston is the starter they are likely to throw the ball early and often.  Fantasy football is sometimes a game of patience.  In many leagues there are owners who drafted Trautman last year and are ready to move on after just one season.  We live in a society that expects instant gratification and since Trautman was not much involved last season there will be owners that are willing to flip him.  Take advantage of these situations and add Trautman to your buy now list and hold for the breakout.  The cost to acquire him should be low and the upside is tremendous.  

The next player on my list is Will Dissly.  Dissly is a huge winner this offseason as the Seahawks only added Gerald Everett as competition for the starting position.  In his first two seasons Dissly flashed big time potential until injuries derailed those seasons.  Last year he was healthy for all sixteen games for the first time in his career but he was still recovering from a serious injury from 2019 and had added competition.  Now Dissly is fully healthy and entering a contract season.  Russell Wilson has proved that he will throw to Dissly in the past and I expect more of the same this year.  Wilson has praised Dissly numerous times over the years and one time was even quoted saying “He’s going to be a star tight end for a long time in this league”.  That’s high praise from one of the best quarterbacks in the league and not something that Wilson just throws around lightly.  Many people have given up on Dissly at this point which means he is low risk with a high upside.

The last player on this list is Donald Parham Jr, the former XFL standout.  Let me be clear, Parham is a deep sleeper and certainly comes with risk so this one is all about the price to acquire him.  If you can get him for a late round rookie pick, faab or a throw away player then it’s worth it but don’t go out and give up something too valuable for him just yet.  I like Parham for a few reasons.  First he’s a mountain of a man at 6’8” 256lbs, he’s shown that he can catch the ball, he’s young at just 23 years old and he showed chemistry last year with Herbert.  I also like his opportunity because the other tight ends on the roster are nothing to be scared of.  Jared Cook was signed in free agency and he’s a decent player but at his age (34) it’s fair to wonder how much he has left in the tank.  The Chargers did draft a tight end in the third round, Tre McKitty, but he’s primarily a blocking tight end and as I mentioned previously rookie tight ends rarely produce from a fantasy perspective.  Parham is a player to keep on your radar and it’s quite possible that he’s unowned in a lot of leagues.

There are a lot of young tight ends that I like as buy low candidates but these three top my list as players that could contribute as early as this year.

Dynasty: 3 TEs Over 28 Years Old to Target

Tight ends you should target over 28

Dynasty fantasy football is a haven for ageists. Everyone is always looking for the next big thing and superstars are often overlooked or underrated strictly because of their age. Conventional thinking says that you should avoid older players in you are rebuilding and acquire them when you are a contender.

You are probably thinking that I am about to tell you to ignore that thinking. Well, I am not. Not exactly, anyway. Perhaps a differing approach is merited when it comes to tight ends.

The position is so top-heavy that having a leader at this spot will separate your team from the pack to a much greater extent than most other positions. This is obviously due to positional scarcity. Despite fantasy managers’ annual excitement that ‘tight end is really deep this year,’ in fact, it is not. Age is nothing but a number, and in this case, likely not the most significant number.

Travis Kelce

When speaking of tight ends, the conversation always begins with Kelce, and rightfully so. He has caught at least 83 passes for the past five seasons, twice topping 100 receptions. He is the only tight end to have multiple 100 catch seasons in NFL history.

Kelce is truly in a class of his own. He has been the leader at tight end every year since 2016, in PPR formats. 2020 was among his best yet, as he hauled in 105 catches, tallying 1416 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged seven receptions per game and carried a 25% target share.

Tied to one of the league’s best and brightest at quarterback, in Patrick Mahomes, Kelce still has a bright future at 31 years of age. A tremendous athlete, he made defenses pay after the catch with 641 yards after reception. A tight end who can create his own fantasy points is a rare commodity.

Youth be damned, Kelce will still offer you arguably the greatest positional advantage in fantasy football. This season, he scored 9.6 PPR points more than the third-leading scorer at tight end.

Darren Waller

If the Kelce choice was a no-brainer, this one is almost its equal. Waller also topped 100 receptions last season, however through week 16, when most fantasy seasons end, he had 98.

His nine reception output in week 17 got him to triple digits. Waller will be turning 29 shortly after the 2021 season commences, but he too, like Kelce, is coming off his greatest campaign to date.

Compiling 1078 yards and eight touchdowns on his 98 receptions, Waller finished comfortably as the second leading tight end scorer. Though he trailed Kelce by just over four points per game, he still finished 5.5 points ahead of the next closest competitor.

Sporting a staggering 27.9% target share enabled Waller to average 6.5 catches per game. Another comparable figure between he and Kelce is the yards after the catch. Waller had 523 of them. The two, plus George Kittle, were the only tight ends who averaged greater than 30 yards after reception. Just a step down from the cream of the crop, Waller still brings a tremendous weekly advantage to your tight end slot.

Zach Ertz

Coming off the worst season of his career, choosing Ertz seems a lot less obvious. He is 30 years old and just equaled his rookie season for fewest receptions in a year.

Moreover, only 33 of his career low 36 receptions counted in a typical fantasy season, as the final three were week 17 totals. So, why target Ertz? First, his value has never been lower. A clunker of a season will do that to a player. Next, it sounds quite likely he will be given his walking papers in Philadelphia.

According to numerous NFL sources, the Eagles have received interest from multiple teams and a trade appears imminent. This can only come as a boost to his fantasy value. An interesting rumor is that he could be reunited with Carson Wentz in Indianapolis.

While both players struggled in 2020, it should be remembered that they exhibited great chemistry in the two seasons prior. Combining 2018 and 2019, Ertz made 201 catches for 2064 yards and 14 touchdowns. If he can return to anything close to those numbers, he will be well worth the cost to acquire. He maintained at least a 24% target share in each of those two years.

While his most recent season could be considered evidence that his skills are in decline, it should be noted that he struggled through injuries during the course of the year. Certainly more of a wild card than a lock, Ertz is effectively a low-risk, high-reward type of gamble.

While the Irv Smiths and Cole Kmets of the world enamor your league mates with their youth and potential, the smart money is on proven results. If you can get beyond age bias, there is value in the mature tight end market.

Top Fits for Tyler Eifert

Who should bring in Tyler Eifert?

By: Adam Martin

One area that a lot of teams need some help in this off season is at tight end. With the cap space issues that most teams are facing you its important to find some cheap options. Currently there is a ex pro bowler who is a reliable pair of hands and is cheap to pick up. His name is Tyler Eifert and he is available at around $3m a year. The Jaguars decided not to pick up his 2021 option and so here are a few teams that would be a good fit for Tyler Eifert.

New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are famous for bringing in players on a cheap deal. With Eifert currently being valued at around $3m a year, he would make an ideal candidate for them. The tight end has been a problem for New England since Rob Gronkowski left. When you look at their depth chart they don’t have anything special at the tight end position.

Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene are their main guys and both didn’t feature much in their rookie years. Asiasi only had seven targets and Keene had five. They may get Matt Lacoste back after his opt out for this season but he was never amazing and hasn’t played for a year. Eifert might not be an amazing tight end but he is a better option than all of these guys.

The Patriots currently have $68m worth of cap space so $3m would be a drop in the ocean. Eifert showed last year that he is still relevant during his time in Jacksonville. He managed to amass 349 yards from 36 receptions and also hauled in two touchdowns. Everything about Eifert makes him a Patriots target as he is reliable with safe hands and cheap.

Verdict : Everything about Tyler Eifert screams the New England Patriots. He is experienced, has safe hands and is cheap. The Patriots need a tight end and Eifert could be the guy.

Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts are a team that could be in need of a tight end. Currently they have three on their roster but that is likely to change. Jack Doyle, Trey Burton and Mo Alie-Cox all had last year to make themselves a permanent feature. However, none of them did great and only Alie-Cox is likely to be around. Burton is a free agent and Doyle will not cost much to release after another disappointing year. With that in mind, it stands to reason they will want to bring in another tight end.

Another reason they will want a tight end is that new QB Carson Wentz uses tight ends well. One of his most productive partnerships in Philadelphia was with Zack Ertz. He also did well with Dallas Goedert and so it’s vital the Colts have more than one tight end.

Another reason for bringing in Eifert is that he is not expensive but the Colts have the money available to them. They currently have just over $50m worth of cap space and so signing Eifert would not be a problem. Also, given his cheap rate, it means they can still improve in other areas as well. Although Eifert is 31 at the start of next season he still has a few years left and the Colts are in a win-now window.

Verdict : The Colts are a team who like to use their tight ends and they need to bring one in. They have plenty of money available and they can offer the chance of making it to the playoffs and beyond.

Washington Football Team

The Washington Football Team showed last year that they can make a tight end relevant. Logan Thomas amassed 670 yards and six touchdowns to finish as the number seven tight end for the season. The main reason that Washington is a big candidate for Tyler Eifert is that Thomas is the only tight end on the team. Jeremy Sprinkle has shown bits but he hasn’t been great and he is now a free agent. It would be surprising if they bought him back.

Washington is another team where the money isn’t an issue for them this year. They currently have around $42m of cap space and they will be looking to beef up their offense this off-season. The defense is already looking very strong but if they want to retain the NFC East then they need to spend. Eifert is not going to make a massive difference to the team but he is a quality depth piece at a cheap price.

Verdict : Washington are another team who have got a chance of winning their division and making the playoffs. They have the money and need the depth at tight end.

Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals are a team that was close to making the playoffs last year finishing with an 8-8 record. One of the reasons they didn’t make it to the playoffs is a lack of depth in the team. One area they are very short is at a tight end and so Tyler Eifert would become a decent acquisition.

Currently, the Cardinals have tight ends on the roster but only Dan Arnold has shown anything. Arnold was decent last year receiving 438 yards and four touchdowns but he is now a free agent. The rest of the tight ends in Arizona have done very little. Even if Arnold was to come back Eifert would still be a good choice to provide some quality backup.

The Cardinals have got enough money to make the move as they have $17m worth of cap space. Eifert will only cost around $3m a year and will be an experienced head to have on the team. The only reason that this move might not happen is if they feel they need to spend the money elsewhere. However, you have to feel that Eifert would be up for this move as they could become playoff contenders.

Verdict : Arizona could make it to the playoffs which would be attractive to Eifert. They are a bit tight on money but they can make it happen. Also, with Dan Arnold as a free agent they need to bring in a tight end quickly.

3 Potential Trade Destinations for Zach Ertz: Should The Packers Strike?

Which NFL Team Could Trade For Zach Ertz?

By: Sukhwant Singh

Zach Ertz a few years back was a dominant TE. He was essentially what Travis Kelce is today.

However, with injuries and changes at QB, now comes a time where the Eagles need to move on from Ertz. With the trade of Carson Wentz last week it is now is only a matter of time of when the Eagles do ship out Ertz.

Zach Ertz turned 30 last November but a change of scenery might help fuel his motivation to return back to being one of the league’s top TEs. He still has the ability to be an important piece on a championship-contending team.

Below are the teams that I believe Ertz can be a great asset and help put them over the top. These are just destinations in which I believe the teams are close to winning currently as is. The salary cap and draft capital will ultimately drive these teams one way or the other to build their franchises.

By: Jack Kurzenknabe

Green Bay Packers

Current Starting TE: Robert Tonyan

Robert Tonyan was a nice revelation for the Packers this past season. Tonyan finished with line of 52/586/11 in sixteen regular season games.

He went 8/82/1 in the post-season in two games. The latter is where a guy like Ertz can be the difference.

Tonyan was pretty much a “no-show” in the playoffs especially against the Bucs hauling in four catches for just twenty-two yards.

Rodgers has never really had a TE with the talent level of Ertz. Granted Zach Ertz is not the Ertz of old but he still can be a difference-maker with other star talents around him.

With the likes of Davantae Adams, Aaron Jones and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers this would be the ideal situation for both sides. Ertz can still when healthy work the underneath and over the middle routes effectively.

This is would be a boon for Rodgers to have that type of play-making and proven veteran leadership from Ertz both on and off the field.

The Packers currently have all their picks in the seven rounds and are expected to receive three compensatory picks. The Packers certainly have the draft capital to make play for Ertz. However, they are currently $-19.9m in cap space, Yikes!

Buffalo Bills

Current Starting TE: Dawson Knox

The Buffalo Bills were a surprise team this past season. The Bills accomplished a lot in terms of winning the AFC East, Winning a Playoff Game (won 2), and reaching the AFC title game. However, there was one aspect particularly on offense in which the Bills did not accomplish much and that was the TE position.

Dawson Knox was their starting TE and posted a line of 24/288/3 in twelve games played. Zach Ertz missed five games due to injury and still managed a 36/335/1 line. This was the lowest number of receptions Ertz had since 2014.

Having traded for Stefon Diggs last off-season which paid huge dividends, trading for Ertz will further boost the Bills’ odds of playing in the Superbowl next season. With Diggs working the perimeter/down field routes, Ertz can effectively work the inside/over the middle and give Josh Allen that much needed short yardage threat.

It will also make Josh Allen to not run as much and avoid big hits when he can just simply zip an underneath drag route to Ertz all game long.The Bills have seven picks in this year’s draft and currently have $-1.01m in cap space.

From a draft/finance capital standpoint, the Bills will have to do some serious maneuvering to land Ertz.

Arizona Cardinals

Current starting TE: Dan Arnold

The Cardinals started of the season with a 5-2 mark but then just went 3-6 the rest of the way. DeAndre Hopkins tied his career high with 115 receptions, Kyler Murray threw for over 3,900 yards with a 26/12 TD-INT ratio.

Drake and Edmonds rushed for a combined almost 1400 yards, yet the TE Dan Arnold managed a 31/438/4 line in sixteen games. Ertz played only eleven games and had 335 yards on 36 receptions.

With or without Larry Fitzgerald this team still has enough offensive power to compete. Zach Ertz can bring that veteran leadership to the offense and provide Kyler much like Josh Allen than underneath safety net to throw to.

Zach Ertz will provide a much needed boost to the TE position and be a valuable asset to a young team on and off the field. His presence and route running can make Kyler Murray even a better QB going forward.

The Cardinals have just five picks in this year’s draft and a total of $11.8m in current cap space.

WildCard Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers trying to trade for Zach Ertz depends on largely on what the team intends to do with Ben Roethlisberger. Currently the team is about $30m over the cap.

Big Ben would need to do a serious re-structuring of his contract for the team to even try and think about trading for Ertz. However, if things fall into place, getting Ertz will provide Big Ben with another weapon at his disposal to try and win another Superbowl.

Follow me on Twitter @SinghisKing908.

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