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Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Tight End Premium (2024)

The game of fantasy football has evolved over the years. We’ve gone from non-PPR scoring and single-quarterback leagues being the “default” settings to a wide range of scoring and lineup options. Fantasy football leagues have replaced team defenses/special teams for individual defensive players (IDP), kickers for an extra Flex spot and some have even added a second matchup against the median score every week. All of this has impacted fantasy football draft strategy.

One of the more popular scoring changes has been the introduction of tight end premium scoring fantasy football leagues. This scoring change is more popular in dynasty leagues than in home redraft leagues. However, it has grown in popularity over the years, especially thanks to the Scott Fish Bowl.

So, how much does the scoring bump for tight ends impact your fantasy football draft strategy? More than you would expect. Here’s your fantasy football draft guide for tight end premium league strategy.

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Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Tight End Premium Leagues

What are Tight End Premium Leagues?

Tight end premium scoring leagues give a bonus to players listed at tight end. However, there isn’t a consensus scoring bump for these leagues. In the Scott Fish Bowl, tight ends receive an extra 0.5 fantasy point per reception and an extra 0.5 fantasy point per first down. While the Scott Fish Bowl is one of the best experiences in fantasy football, its scoring system is more complex than the typical home redraft league.

You should always know the ins and outs of your league’s scoring system before your draft. How you approach the draft will depend on the scoring system. Most tight end premium leagues reward an extra 0.5 fantasy points per reception for tight ends if the base scoring is PPR.

If you play in a 0.5 PPR scoring system, your league might only reward 0.25 extra fantasy points per reception for tight ends. Other leagues might have a heavy bonus for tight ends, giving an extra full point per reception. There are no consensus scoring rules for tight end premium leagues, so read the rules before your draft.

Size Does Matter?

The answer to this question is yes and no. The more teams in your league, the sooner you want to consider drafting a tight end. However, it is not like Superflex leagues. Not every team in your league will draft 2-4 tight ends like they would quarterbacks in a Superflex league.

Typically, tight end premium leagues only have one starting tight end slot. Therefore, you don’t need to draft multiple tight ends if you have a plug-and-play superstar. However, keep in mind your league’s scoring and lineup requirements. Some tight end premium leagues require two starting tight ends. Others will give a massive scoring bump to tight ends, making it a smart move to start one in your Flex position some weeks.

Usually, fantasy football experts recommend waiting till the later rounds to draft a tight end and stream the position. That is still an option in tight end premium leagues. However, it isn’t ideal. Depending on the league size and scoring boost for tight ends, you could struggle to stream the position off the waiver wire. Even with the tight end premium scoring boost, players like Noah Fant and Gerald Everett aren’t tight ends you want in your fantasy lineup.

Different Types of Draft Strategies

Pay the Price for a Superstar

While streaming the tight end position is a popular move in redraft leagues, it’s not the only option. Spending an early pick on a tight end might not feel great during the draft. However, it is often one of the safer moves you can make in fantasy football, especially in tight end premium leagues.

Two years ago, Travis Kelce was the top tight end for most fantasy analysts heading into the season. He ended the year as the TE1, averaging 15.4 half-point PPR fantasy points per game. His 15.4 fantasy points per game average would have made him the WR7 and the RB8 on a per-game basis in 2022.

However, with a tight end premium scoring of 0.5 per reception boost, Kelce averaged 18.6 fantasy points per game and would have finished as the WR1 and the RB2 in half-point PPR scoring that year. Grabbing a stud in the first few rounds will give you a weekly advantage over your opponent. It will also help you avoid the waiver wire competition at tight end.

Some fantasy players might want to avoid Kelce after his disappointing 2023 season. However, fantasy players can follow the same logic by selecting Sam LaPorta or Trey McBride early in their fantasy drafts this year.

The Yin & Yang Pair

This strategy is somewhat like hedging. You can use this strategy in the middle or later rounds. Ideally, you want to use it in both. With this strategy, you want to grab a “safe” tight end with a solid floor but limited upside (Yin). Then, you take a “risky” tight end with a low floor but top-five upside (Yang).

Another way to approach this strategy is to grab a safe floor tight end in the middle rounds and then draft a pair of late-round upside options. Potential safe floor options include George Kittle and Evan Engram. Meanwhile, late-round upside targets include Luke Musgrave and Ben Sinnott. This strategy might be the best option, depending on how many bench spots you get in your league.

Load Up Late

Traditionally, fantasy experts recommend waiting until the later rounds to draft a tight end or stream the position. While that strategy is typically for non-tight end premium scoring leagues, you can still use that approach in tight end premium leagues.

The only difference is that you should load up on dart throws or high-upside tight ends late in your draft. Instead of drafting one tight end for their Week 1 matchup, use your last 2-3 picks (depending on your bench size) on the position. Grab tight ends with upside for Week 1 and the entire season.

However, don’t be shy about cutting the tight ends you drafted early in the season with this strategy. According to FantasyPros ADP, Tyler Higbee, Cole Kmet and Sam LaPorta were late-round tight ends drafted last year. While Higbee finished outside the top 20 tight ends, Kmet was the TE7, while LaPorta was the TE1 in half-point PPR scoring. A few late-round tight ends to target this season include Pat Freiermuth, Luke Musgrave and Ben Sinnott.

More Fantasy Football Draft Advice

Expert Must-Have Draft Picks

Fitz’s Fantasy Football Draft Primers

Erickson’s Fantasy Football Draft Strategy

FantasyPros Discord Community (Live Chat)

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Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

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