Dynasty Tight End Sleepers (Fantasy Football)
Sleepers are tough to come by in dynasty leagues. More than likely, your league-mates already have a pretty good idea of who is a sleeper. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be playing dynasty.
The tight end position is one with a handful of intriguing, young prospects, as well as some veterans with some unappreciated value. Between the rookies, young prospects, and veterans, there are a handful of tight ends with sleeper potential. More than likely, some of these guys are already on your radar if you’re a dynasty owner, but I’ll share with you which ones I think have some unappreciated and sleeper potential as nice dynasty assets to own.
Gerald Everett (LAR)
The Rams and Sean McVay made a very clear statement to the NFL in 2017. This Rams team is legit, and their offense is nothing to take lightly in dynasty. There are currently five Rams offensive players in the top 100 for FantasyPros dynasty rankings, led by none other than Todd Gurley.
McVay has made a name for himself in this league and handpicking his “Jordan Reed” still is something that sticks out to me, and I’m not ignoring. Tight ends typically take a few years to develop and put up numbers, and Rams second-year tight end, Gerald Everett should take a nice step forward in 2018. He ended the 2017 season with just 16 grabs for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Everett can be had for cheap, and is in an excellent position to break out in 2018.
Cameron Brate (TB)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers landed what was an absolute steal in the 2017 draft as the talented tight end out of Alabama in O.J. Howard, fell hard in the 2017 NFL Draft. After the Bucs grabbed Howard, the hate for Cameron Brate in the dynasty community was no joke. Many redraft leagues Brate went undrafted, and Howard was going as a first-round draft pick in many rookie drafts last year.
The extension that Brate received this past off-season was no joke either, making him a Buccaneer until 2024 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. There is a good chance that Brate continues to get overlooked in your dynasty leagues thanks to Howard, and Brate is someone you can make a small investment on, and have a nice return on value. Jameis Winston loves to lean on Brate, and it is clear their connection is established, and he is an excellent red-zone threat for that offense.
If you don’t own a big named tight end like Rob Gronkowski, Zach Ertz, or Travis Kelce, feel free to wait in your dynasty drafts and grab Brate. He’ll be a nice piece of that offense for years to come.
Delanie Walker (TEN) & Jonnu Smith (TEN)
Both of the tight ends in Tennessee make the list here. I’ll start with the 33-year-old man of steel himself, Delanie Walker. Walker is heading into his 13th season in the league and continues to produce no matter how much the dynasty community thinks he’s done for.
Since joining the Titans in 2013, Walker has played in 15 or more games in every season. There were a few instances last year when Walker looked like he was hurt, and sure enough, he was back out there next week as one of Marcus Mariota’s favorite targets. Walker continues to get disrespected and will be back for at least one more season.
If you’re making a run at a title this year and you need a tight end, grab Walker for dirt cheap. You never know, he may sign another contract and be back after the 2018 season. I wouldn’t be surprised.
The second-year tight end for the Tennessee Titans, Jonnu Smith, appears to be the heir to Walker. As much as I love Walker to continue to produce, there is always that other side of me in dynasty that wants to invest in the talented youth. The way that the Titans have used the tight end position, and with Walker as a teacher for this young tight end, Smith is someone you can buy for next to nothing and take a chance on the upside play. If Walker does end up finishing his career after the 2018 season, there is a good chance that Smith steps into his role.
George Kittle (SF)
Jimmy Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan. The San Francisco 49ers showed us that Jimmy G is for real, and the 49ers offense is going to be very fun to watch. Garoppolo has flown up the dynasty rankings, and everyone in the dynasty community seems to want a piece of this offense. Whether it’s Jerick McKinnon, Marquise Goodwin, or Pierre Garcon, there are some exciting options for dynasty and fantasy football, in general, moving forward.
To go with this newly high-powered offense, second-year tight end George Kittle is someone who could breakout in 2018. He finished the season with 43 grabs for 515 yards and two touchdowns. Jimmy G started in Week 12 against the Bears and lit the fantasy world up. Kittle had his first and only 100-yard game of the season in Week 17, and started coming on towards the end of the season with Garoppolo was running the offense.
Watching the last few games of the season, you could tell that the two had a nice rapport. There is a chance the Kittle owner in your dynasty leagues is also expecting a breakout, but now is the time to grab him before he does end up breaking out.
Ian Thomas (CAR)
I can’t go through a ‘sleeper’ piece without at least mentioning a rookie. With the big name rookie prospects like Mike Gesicki, Dallas Goedert, Hayden Hurst, and Mark Andrews all landing in less than ideal situations, one rookie lands in a spot I like a lot.
Ian Thomas, the tight end out of Indiana University was drafted by the Panthers in the fourth round. Veteran Ed Dickson is out of Carolina and is now in Seattle, leaving a starting role available opposite of veteran Greg Olsen. Thomas couldn’t have asked for a better mentor in Olsen, and similar to the Tennessee situation, Olsen is towards the end of his career.
The Titans and Panthers both have implemented the tight end position heavily into their offensive scheme, and there is a good chance that Thomas can develop and even produce some early on in his career. Thomas is an excellent rookie to grab late in your rookie drafts this year.
Aaron Schillinger is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Aaron, check out his profile and follow him @aaron_schill.