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Cole Kmet: Solid TE Floor Available on Waiver Wire (2021)

Sep 14, 2021

2020 was a tale of two seasons for then-rookie Cole Kmet.

He received eight targets in the first nine games, not once playing 50% of offensive snaps. In his last seven games, Kmet received 36 targets and played at least 70% of snaps every game. 

Sunday Night, Kmet picked up right where he left off.

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Player Profile

Kmet was selected 43rd overall in the 2020 draft, showing quite a bit of promise as a pass-catching tight end in college. He fought for snaps with a plethora of Chicago TEs last season. Traditionally, rookie year production among tight ends is barely a fraction of their performance in ensuing seasons. 

The second-half boost in targets and playing time made Kmet an intriguing late-round flier in 2021 fantasy drafts. 

Now, it appears as though he’s ready to take the next step.

In Sunday night’s opener, Kmet received seven targets, catching five for 42 yards and playing 74% of snaps. He didn’t score a touchdown, and his longest catch went for only 10 yards, but three of his five catches were for first downs, making him a coveted “security blanket” option for Andy Dalton

State of The Offense

Fewer offenses entered the 2021 season with more question marks than the Chicago Bears’. Andy Dalton was named starting QB weeks before the opener, but Justin Fields attempted two passes and ran in a touchdown. 

Andy Dalton looked like … Andy Dalton. He was fine. However, the Rams tout one of the NFL’s best pass defenses, and held Dalton to 206 yards and zero touchdowns.

RB David Montogomery also looked rock-solid. Though his talent will demand touches, Montgomery’s success may actually help Kmet by making the offense better all-around. Aside from generational talents, players on bad offenses are rarely fun to roster in fantasy.  

Kmet’s competition for targets isn’t spectacular. Of course, Allen Robinson is the premiere receiving option, he justifiably led the team with 11 targets. Kmet’s seven targets were tied for second-most with second-year WR Darnell Mooney.

Kmet has a path to be the second most-targeted player in this offense. It will require him to be at the top of his game, but the path is undoubtedly there. 

Player Outlook

Andy Dalton looked good enough to sustain multiple fantasy-relevant receiving options. It’s a low bar. Because his competition for targets (other than Robinson) is suspect, Kmet is absolutely a speculative add on the waiver wire. 

The boost in QB play Kmet may receive if/when Fields takes over is slightly mitigated by Fields’ ability to run in the red zone, taking away some end zone targets. 

I’d add Kmet before Saints TE Juwan Johnson, but it’s close. Kmet’s floor is quite a bit higher, and as a former top-50 draft pick, the Bears will force feed him opportunities to succeed.

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TJ Horgan is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from TJ, check out his archive and follow him @tjhorgantv.

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