Who’s Your Favorite Late-Round TE? (2018 Fantasy Football)
Tight ends can be an afterthought when it comes to fantasy football. While most leagues also deploy a single quarterback, at least the signal callers rack up a ton of points compared to other positions.
Still, owners can gain an advantage over their competition if they’re able to secure one of the few consistently productive tight ends in the league. There has been consistency at the top of late, but it takes precious draft capital to acquire the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz. To land one of these three, you forego the opportunity to draft top running backs and wide receivers.
But what if you were able to land a top TE in the later rounds? That is an ideal draft scenario for many, but it’s much easier said than done.
To help, we’ve asked our writers to name their favorite late-round TE. To qualify, the tight ends mentioned must currently be viewed outside the top 10 of the position.
The ADP numbers below come from our consensus ADP for PPR leagues.
Who’s Your Favorite Late-Round TE?
Jack Doyle (IND) ADP 11
Sit down and swallow what you are drinking. Ok, ready? I’ve got Jack Doyle as my number four fantasy tight end. I’m not doing this for hyperbole or just to stand out, nor am I actually drafting him that high because you just don’t need to. But if I am trying to predict who will finish in the top four, I can’t resist putting Doyle there. Andrew Luck passed for 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns the last time he was healthy. If you haven’t looked at the Colts’ depth chart, their wide receivers are abysmal with T.Y. Hilton and a whole bunch of nobodies. Sure, Eric Ebron is here now, but Doyle has played over 80% of the snaps with Luck thus far and should be their best red zone weapon.
Bobby Sylvester – @bobbyfantasypro
David Njoku (CLE) ADP 12
If you miss out on one of the top three tight ends, I would feel more than comfortable starting Njoku on a weekly basis. His numbers last year were pretty underwhelming, but he’ll go this year from having DeShone Kizer, Cody Kessler and Kevin Hogan throwing to him to Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield (and maybe even only Taylor depending upon how the season goes). Taylor’s tight end over the past three seasons, Charles Clay, averaged 5.8 targets per game with him under center and went over 520 yards every season while averaging more than five fantasy points per game. Taylor loves to use his tight end as a safety net, and Njoku is far more athletic than Clay. Njoku could be Cleveland’s top red zone threat, especially if Josh Gordon misses a few games.
Jon Munshaw – @jon_munshaw
George Kittle (SF) ADP 13
I really like David Njoku as well, but I’ll go with Kittle, who has less competition for targets, a better quarterback throwing him the ball, and a bit more of a track record. Kittle’s 515 receiving yards weren’t bad for a rookie, but now his arrow is clearly pointing up. During the five games Jimmy Garappolo started for the 49ers last December, Kittle averaged 44.8 yards per game, the fifth-highest total among tight ends. He only scored one touchdown during that stretch, but with a wideout corps that is severely lacking in size, the 6’4″, 250-pound Kittle could emerge as Jimmy G’s top option in the red zone. Kittle separated his shoulder in the preseason, but he’s expected to be ready for Week 1, and the injury has helpfully kept his ADP in the double-digit rounds.
Andrew Seifter – @andrew_seifter
Can I fight the person who drafted Trey Burton? If not, I’m going with George Kittle. A shoulder injury has quieted the deafening buzz, but he’s reportedly on track to start the season. Considered a project pick when drafted in the fifth round, he flaunted spurts of upside by registering 194 of his 515 receiving yards in his rookie campaign’s final three games with Jimmy Garoppolo. He received six red-zone targets in five games with San Francisco’s new franchise QB, so the 6’4″, 250-pound tight end is well positioned to make red-zone noise on a squad with diminutive wideouts.
Andrew Gould – @andrewgould4
Kittle is a little banged up right now but is expected to return in time for Week 1. He is big, strong, athletic, and plays in a Kyle Shanahan offense. He showed flashes last year as he led the 49ers with 16 red-zone targets, despite playing with three different starting quarterbacks. The rookie ended the season on a high note as he combined for seven catches, 142 yards, and a TD against two of the NFL’s best defenses in the Rams and Jaguars. If you are high on Jimmy Garoppolo at QB going into this season, then his tight end should be intriguing to you as well. I would not be disappointed if he was my No. 1 TE going into the season. His ceiling is just too high.
Jamy Bechler – @WinningDFS101
Tyler Eifert (CIN) ADP 14
At a position where I don’t see all that much of a difference in players outside the top three, I’d rather wait until most starting tight ends are gone and go with the upside of Tyler Eifert. There is one reason to doubt Eifert and that’s his injury history. When healthy, he performs like a top-five tight end in fantasy, plain and simple. Over the last three seasons with Andy Dalton, he’s averaged roughly four catches, 46 yards, and 0.75 touchdowns per game. He may not get a full complement of snaps early on, but so long as he’s healthy, he’ll be my late-round target. If he doesn’t work out, you can easily fall back on an undrafted player like Ben Watson.
Dan Harris – @danharris80
The TE position is so TD dependent for fantasy football. That’s why, if I’m looking outside the top 10 ADP, I want the guy with the most scoring upside. That guy is easily Tyler Eifert. In 2015, he scored 13 times, finishing as a TE1. Before an injury derailed his 2016 season, he was on pace for 10 more scores. The Bengals had a clear down year in 2017, and I like them to rebound in 2018. Eifert looks to be finally healthy after playing only 10 games over the last two seasons, and he should find the end zone regularly this year. At an ADP of TE14r, you can get him in the 12th round of 12-team drafts. I’ll gladly take a guy with double-digit TD upside that late in a draft. That’s real value.
Zak Hanshew – @ZaktheMonster
Cameron Brate (TB) ADP 17
Everyone keeps pointing to O.J. Howard as the TE to own from the Bucs, but the team made it clear who the top dog is when they signed Brate to a big extension. Brate finish 2017 as TE8 with a career-high 12.3 yds/Rec.
Tim McCullough – @TimsTenz
Jared Cook (OAK) ADP 18
While most other analysts are favoring a young gun, I tend to side with age regarding tight ends. Cook is athletic and surprisingly only 31, which is still a prime age for tight end production. He had a good first year in Oakland despite it being a bad offensive year for the Raiders. With Crabtree gone, Cook looks ready to be the second best option behind Amari Cooper. The targets will increase, the receptions will increase, and the touchdowns will increase. He was 15th last year and believe it or not, had more yards than Cooper and Crabtree. He’s played 16 games six times in his nine-year career so he is also durable and dependable. Therefore, I can easily see him eke his way into the top 12 and maybe even wiggle into the top 10. And with that potential, Cook is a steal at his ADP.
Marc Mathyk – @Masterjune70
Jake Butt (DEN) ADP 29
This would be a very late pick (Round 20 or later) or dynasty play, but he was in the conversation as a late-first or early-second round pick in the NFL Draft before his knee injury. The caveat, of course, is whether he is back to pre-injury form at some point this season, but I don’t see anyone else in Denver with his skill set.
Sheldon Curtis – @sheldon_curtis
So there you have it, the TEs to target outside the top 10 at the position. More questions? Let us know @FantasyPros, and check out our other collaborative advice below.
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