The tight end position can be the toughest to pinpoint in fantasy football. Besides the top-tier options in Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Darren Waller, finding a tight end that gives you consistent week-to-week production can be a hassle. If you’re someone who isn’t fortunate enough to land one of the premier tight ends, you could be operating the waiver wire to find a consistent source of production at the position.
On the other hand, overreaching for a tight end, or taking a player who isn’t in a position to succeed, is a way to ensure that you’ll need to use the waiver wire throughout the season to fill the void at tight end. These are a few tight ends to avoid come draft time, so you don’t have to concern yourself with finding their replacement as the season unfolds.
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Logan Thomas (WAS)
Logan Thomas was a pleasant surprise for the Washington Football Team during the 2020 season. With no one stepping up alongside Terry McLaurin at the wide receiver position, the quarterback-turned-tight-end emerged as a reliable option in Washington’s inconsistent aerial attack. Thomas finished as TE6 in 2020 as he averaged a modest 8.8 fantasy points per week.
While he dealt with a revolving door at quarterback last season, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s arrival leads us to believe that Washington is focused on having a passing offense that can take more shots down the field. During the course of the 2020 campaign, Thomas produced an aDOT of 7.1 yards, which was 28th among tight ends. Is that a product of the quarterbacks that played for Washington, or did Thomas benefit from an offense that checked it down to him often?
Besides the addition of Fitzpatrick in the offseason, Washington was able to sign Curtis Samuel in hopes of taking some pressure off of McLaurin at the wide receiver position. Plus, Washington expects a breakout year from Antonio Gibson, and J.D. McKissic earned himself some opportunities in the passing game, meaning there will be fewer opportunities for Thomas. Expecting Thomas to finish as a top 10 tight end in 2021 seems risky due to his new situation.
Evan Engram (NYG)
Speaking of new situations, Evan Engram could see his role drastically change entering the 2021 season. Engram, a former first-round pick of the New York Giants in the 2017 NFL Draft, has largely been disappointing thus far in his career. Despite making his first Pro Bowl in 2020, it’s worth mentioning that his Pro Bowl bid has drawn arguments about his selection.
Engram concluded last season with 10 drops, leading all tight ends in the dreaded statistic. He also averaged an aDOT of 7.3 yards, which was 25th among tight ends. Seeing that the Giants inked Kenny Golladay to a long-term deal in free agency, they want to stretch the field more with Daniel Jones targeting Golladay, Darius Slayton, and possibly someone else in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Along with Saquon Barkley’s return to the offense, New York also brought in Kyle Rudolph to provide aid at the tight end position. As Engram enters the final year of his rookie contract (he’s playing on the fifth-year option), his value on the Giants appears to be spiraling downward. Given their current situations, I’d prefer taking chances on Tyler Higbee and Austin Hooper at slight discounts.
Zach Ertz (PHI)
Once upon a time, Zach Ertz was a steady PPR monster in fantasy football for the Philadelphia Eagles. Those days are long gone. Ertz has seen his production decline in each of the last two seasons as he enters his 30s. Not to mention, the Eagles have been searching for a trade partner to take Ertz, and no one is biting yet.
Due to an injury and his inefficiency when he did play, Ertz was TE32 in 2020, which was the worst finish of his entire career. In all likeliness, Ertz won’t be on Philadelphia’s roster when the 2021 season kicks off. At the same time, it’s hard to see any team that can bring him in with the desire to make him worth having shares of in fantasy football.
From 2015-2019, Ertz gave fantasy football managers an average of 86 receptions, allowing him to be a popular target in drafts. Even with Ertz all the way at TE19 in the Expert Consensus Rankings, I’d much rather take a flier on guys like Cole Kmet, Jared Cook, or even Dan Arnold later in drafts.
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Skyler Carlin is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Skyler, check out his archive and follow him @skyler_carlin.