2021 Dynasty Value Adds Tight End
Dynasty managers crave TEs like Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Darren Waller on their Dynasty rosters, and rightfully so. All of these elite TEs, however, will require a selection in the first four rounds in a Superflex startup. If you draft like I do and you prefer to grab a QB in round one, and even in round two, you are hard pressed to grab a TE in the first four rounds unless it is a TE Premium scoring league. You’ll need to wait to find your tight ends later in the draft. If you are looking for value, look no further than the following four based on their current ranking and ADP from our friends at DLF.
1. T.J. Hockenson
Simply put, T.J. Hockenson is primed to join the Fantasy TE elite in 2021. Hockenson, the 2019 first round selection, is coming off a TE5 2020 campaign in which he scored 175.3 PPR points.
For years it seemed as though if you didn’t have Travis Kelce, George Kittle, or Darren Waller on your Dynasty roster, it didn’t really matter which TE you rolled out there each week. In 2021, Hockenson has a golden opportunity to join these elite three, and perhaps even pass one or two by.
The Lions vacated the most targets (334) and target share (59.5%) in the league. At WR, newly-acquired Breshad Perriman and Tyrell Williams, who didn’t play in 2020, pair with returnees Quintez Cephus and former Titan Kalif Raymond atop the depth chart. With all due respect to the Lions organization, this is perhaps the worst WR group in the NFL.
Hockenson had 101 targets a season ago, and Travis Kelce and Darren Waller led all TEs with 145. It is within his range of outcomes that Hockenson could see as many as ten targets a game in 2021. With the added game to the regular season, that is 170 targets. Hock averaged 6.31 targets a game last season, so even if he ups that to 8 in 2021 he is looking at 136 targets.
In addition to the almost certain increase in workload is the new coaching staff–a TE friendly coaching staff. Head Coach Dan Campbell is a former TE, and new Offensive Coordinator Anthony Lynn brings an offense that peppered Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry in Los Angeles.
The only situation that hasn’t improved for Hockenson is at quarterback, Jared Goff is not an upgrade over Matthew Stafford. With that said, Goff targeted his TEs 126 times last season (12th most) and 156 times in 2019 (4th highest). Hockenson presents a marked upgrade over both Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett, not to mention the Lions’ only other TE on the depth chart of significance is Darren Fells.
I am comfortable projecting Hockenson in the top 4 for 2021, and with Kelce at age 31, Waller at age 29, and George Kittle often injured, Hockenson at 23 years of age is an incredible value add in the 6th round of your Superflex start-up.
2. Adam Trautman
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints encountered some challenging times in relation to the salary cap this offseason. The NFL Salary cap lowered, QB Drew Brees retired, and the Saints were forced to shed salary as a result. One of the Saints benefactors from the cuts is second year TE Adam Trautman.
The team released two of their top three tight ends from 2020 — Jared Cook and Josh Hill–and added blocking tight end Nick Vannett to pair with Trautman. These three roster moves would indicate that the Saints have plans for Trautman to be the pass catching TE in their offense. Regardless if the quarterback is Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill, Adam Trautman has some fantasy sleeper potential in 2021 and beyond.
The Saints utilized three tight ends pretty evenly in 2020. Cook registered 466 snaps, Trautman was on the field for 393 snaps, and Josh Hill finished third with 359 snaps. Thus, that leaves roughly 825 snaps between Trautman and Vannett to share in 2021. With increased snaps come increased opportunity for targets. Cooks and Hill leave 70 targets from 2020 up for grabs, and another cap casualty, Emmanuel Sanders, leaves 82 targets of his own up for grabs.
During his four years at Dayton, Trautman recorded 2,295 yards and 31 touchdowns on 178 receptions. At 6’5″ 255 lbs. he has the prototypical TE size that he combines with above average agility, making him a good route runner. Adam Trautman should shine as one of the team’s top targets in the passing game, and as a result he is a steal at TE19 in the back of the 13th round.
3. Cole Kmet
Of all the first tight ends selected in the NFL draft over the past eleven seasons, Chicago Bears TE Cole Kmet has the worst fantasy finish in his rookie season – TE41. There were some significant contributing factors in play in 2020 that did not work in Kmet’s favor. One was the lackluster Chicago Bears passing attack, and the other was TE Jimmy Graham.
The Bears added both Kmet and Graham during the 2020 offseason, drafting Kmet 62nd overall in round two and signing Graham as a free agent to a 2-year deal. At the beginning of this offseason, Kmet looked like one of the prime breakout candidates at tight end, but that was with the expectation that the Bears would release Jimmy Graham.
With Graham still on the roster, and unlikely to be released, Kmet profiles as a TE with limited upside. There is reason for optimism however. We saw Kmet emerge at the end of 2020 and he saw 30 targets over the team’s final five regular season games. But even in that stretch he was outscored by Jimmy Graham and 18 other tight ends. Regardless, Kmet’s Dynasty value should not be impacted. Jimmy Graham is in the final year of his contract, and Kmet should be viewed as a borderline No. 1 tight end with top-five upside in the years to come.
The passing game will almost certainly improve in Chicago with Andy Dalton and Justin Fields replacing Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. The TE landscape will also improve as Jimmy Graham moves on. Grabbing Kmet now in the 14th round is a savvy move. His price is only going up. You may have to wait on Cole Kmet, but after all, this is dynasty.
4. Gerald Everett
When the Seattle Seahawks signed former Los Angeles Rams TE Gerald Everett to a one-year, $6 million deal, they reunited him with Shane Waldron, the new Seahawks Offensive Coordinator. Prior to joining the Seahawks, Waldon spent four seasons in the Rams organization.
Gerald Everett becomes the lead TE in Seattle joining Will Dissly, Colby Parkinson, and Luke Wilson. Everett often played second fiddle to TE Tyler Higbee in Los Angeles, especially in the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Though Everett put up somewhat decent numbers, none of his seasons were particularly spectacular. His most productive season was 2019, when he posted 37 receptions for 408 yards and two touchdowns on 60 targets in 13 games.
Everett has never been a top fantasy tight end in his career; his best fantasy finish came in 2018, at TE22, thus the round 17 ADP. The 2021 season, I believe, will be Everett’s best yet. As of now, Everett should be third in line for targets behind Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf. Lockett and Metcalf should eat up a large share of the targets, but there is no reason why Everett can’t see decent looks each week given the overall lack of strong passing options in the Seattle passing game aside from the top-two WRs as of this point.
Gerald Everett has a chance to shine in 2021 and he should be considered a TE with a TE2 floor and a ceiling within the top-12. Even at his floor, Everett is a value add in your Superflex start-ups this season.
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