2020 Fantasy Football TE Awards
Hello Heat Seekers, welcome to episode 124 of Sully’s 2 Cents Fantasy Football Podcast. I am your host, Rob Sullivan. The Sully’s 2 Cents Fantasy Football Podcast is a proud member of the RotoHeat Family of Podcasts.
Alright, episode 124, concludes my four-part series, recapping the fantasy season. Each episode has covered one of the four skills positions. In this fourth and final episode we roll thru the Tight End position.
I will give you Sully’s MVP, Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player, Breakout and Bust for each position. For the Dynasty fantasy managers, I provide a buy and a sell at each position as well.
MVP: Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs
Of all the awards I have given out this season, awarding Travis Kelce with the MVP award is one of the easiest. Kelce finished his season as the TE1 in fantasy scoring for the 5th consecutive season.
2020 Travis Kelce’s best season to date. His 105 catches 1416 yards, and 11 touchdowns were all career highs, and his 145 targets were second only to his 2018 season in which he had 150.
The 312.80 PPR points in 15 games were 34.2 more points than Darren Waller, and 136.20 more than Robert Tonyan. Both Waller and Tonyan played all 16 of their teams games in 2020.
To put how good Kelce was into perspective, Waller averaged 17.4 points/game and Tonyan averaged 11.0. For these two to catch Kelce, Waller would need to have played 18 games this season and Tonyan 28.
His 1416 receiving yards are the most ever by a TE, breaking the record set a few seasons ago by George Kittle, and if Travis Kelce were a WR he would have finished the season as WR4. If you played in a TE premium league Travis Kelce quite possible led you league in scoring.
I had a hard time paying his price tag this season, he entered 2020 with a consensus ADP of TE1 and 19th overall. Seems expensive but considering that Nick Chubb, Austin Ekeler, Julio Jones, Kenyon Drake and Clyde Edwards-Helaire were 14-18, and that Kelce outscored them all, he was actually a bargain.
Travis Kelce IMO was the most valuable fantasy asset period in 2020, making him a slam dunk no-brainer for TE MVP.
Rookie of the Year: Harrison Bryant – Cleveland Browns
Welcome to the well, someone has to win this award, award. Other then Bryant the real only other contender was Chicago’s Cole Kmet. Turns out there were 4 main qualifies to be eligible for this award; 1. You need to be a TE, 2. You need to be a rookie, 3, two feet, 4. Heartbeat.
Wanna have some fun? Try talking about Harrison Bryant after discussing Travis Kelce. Bryant from all accounts is going to be a pretty decent TE in the NFL and should have some fantasy relevance in the coming years.
TEs take time and its not often a TE is overly fantasy relevant as a rookie. Since 2010 only two TEs have had top-12 TE seasons as a rookie. Rob Gronkowski in 2010, and Evan Engram in 2017. That is 2 out of 155 if you are curious.
Bryant finished 2020 with 24 catches on 38 targets for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns in 12 games, 9 of which were starts. 61.8 PPR points and a TE42 finish.
Runner up Cole Kmet finished as the TE41 with 62 points, but he played in 3 more games than Bryant. The games played variable was the difference in determining this award.
Comeback Player: Rob Gronkowski – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is an easy one. Rob Gronkowski coming out of retirement to join his buddy tom Brady in Tampa Bay was one of the bigger stories this past offseason. I was rather skeptical in terms of Gronk’s abilty to deliver this season.
The last time we saw Gronk play was 2018, and the last time he was Gronk was 2017. In the end he turned out to be a watered-down version of Rob Gronkowski, but the man did average 9.3 PPR points and finish as the TE8.
9.3 PPR points a game doesn’t sound like much, but the reality is that 9.3 PPR points is good enough to make you a top-12 TE the past 6 seasons. Says more about this dumpster fire of a position than anything else.
At the end of the day the only other TE that I considered for the award was Jimmy Graham. Graham finished as TE13 .3 points per game behind Gronkowski. Graham was TE21 in 2019 and Gronk was partying on a boat somewhere. Pretty easy decision for me when all was said and done.
Breakout: Robert Tonyan – Green Bay Packers
If you saw this season coming from Robert Tonyan, raise your hand. Now if you raised your hand put it down, you’re a liar.
I will admit I had no clue who Robert Tonyan was until his 3 TD performance in Week 4. I’m willing to bet I wasn’t alone here. I figured hmm, that was cute and didn’t give it much thought as I watched numerous fantasy managers in numerous leagues pick him up off of waivers.
Tuns out he has been around since 2018. Actually 2017. He was signed as an UDFA by the Detroit Lions in 2017. He was released before the season began and signed onto the Packers’ practice squad for the final four games of the season. He was re-signed by the Packers for the 2018 season, and 2019.
In 2018 and 2019 Tonyan totalled 14 catches for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns. In all honestly, I should have known who this guy was.
In his 2020 breakout season, Tonyan was targeted 59 times and caught 52 of them for 586 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 88.1% catch rate tells me two things, Aaron Rodgers only targeted him when he was open, and Robert Tonyan can get open.
Turns out he was more than a one game wonder and his week 4 performance was an indication of that. Hats off to all those fantast managers that added him off waivers, I wish I had joined you.
Bust: Evan Engram – New York Giants
Evan Engram was my ride or die TE in numerous leagues this season. It was a hell of a lot more die than ride I can tell you that.
Engram entered the season as the TE6 in consensus ADP and the 70th overall pick. He was a late 6th round pick, and I giggled to myself as I scooped him up draft after draft. This is also a TE that I have several dynasty shares of.
Noah Fant, TJ Hockenson, Jonnu Smith are three TEs that I could have drafted not to mention Mike Gesicki and Hayden Hurst. All of those TEs finished the season with more points that Engram. All those TEs had an ADP lower than Evan Engram.
Gesicki went 6 rounds after Engram, Jonnu Smith 8 rounds later.
I can still not get the image of Engram dropping a walk in 55-yard touchdown pass this season against the Eagles. In fairness the ball hit him in the hands. That play should be what Giants fans are bitching about, that play is why you only won 6 games and the Eagles tank job in Week 17 mattered, and that play is what solidifies Evan Engram as my fantasy bust at TE in 2020.
He catches that by the way, he adds 12.5 PPR points to his season total and goes from TE15 to TE8.
TE to Buy: Irv Smith Jr. – Minnesota Vikings
In the previous episodes of my fantasy awards I have listed Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen from my Minnesota Vikings as a sell this offseason. I have noted that the Vikings likely throw less in 2021. So, why am I buying Irv Smith Jr.?
Kyle Rudolph will be 31 entering his 2021 season and brings with him a 9.45MM cap hit. The Vikings are starved for cap space and cutting him and taking the 4.35MM cap hit saves them 5.1MM against that cap. What makes this an easy roster decision is A. You have Irv Smith and Tyler Conklin in house, and B. Kyle Rudolph sucks.
Irv Smith is going to be a top-5-8 TE was many years to come, trust me and go get him.
TE to Sell: Hayden Hurst
Hayden Hurst finished as a top-10 TE this season if you include week 17. I hope by now that y’all have figured out that I do. In the process he exceeded his ADP of TE13 entering the season. Of the top of my head, I had him at TE14 I believe.
Public perception rightfully so would be that Hurst had a good season. Well Heat Seekers this is where I earn my pay cheque, he didn’t.
He was projected to score 12.3 PPR points a game, he finished with 149.1 PPR points – 9.3 per game. He also killed you the majority of weeks this season. In weeks 5, 11, 13, and 14 his best week was 2.8 points in Week 5. He was TE29 that week. You either lost those weeks or had a hell of a roster.
He added 4 more weeks under 9 PPR points – Weeks 1,3,4,12. His best week of those 4 was a 9.1 week 4. Hurst was TE12 that week. God, I hate the TE position. So, half of the season he was under 10 PPR points per game. He benefited from the Falcons being complete garbage on defense and the injury to Julio Jones.
That’s going to do it for today’s episode, thank you for tuning in for my 2020 Fantasy Football TE Awards.
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In our next episode I will wrap up the 4-part Fantasy Awards series with the Tight Ends. Stay safe and stay healthy Heat Seekers. Take care.