Sunny-Side Up and Fried Eggs (Sleeper/Busts at ADP)
Love/Hate, Flames/Lames, Faves/Fades. It’s a column by many different names and many different angles all centered around one theme: there are certain players going too late in fantasy drafts that we should target, and players going too early in fantasy drafts we should avoid. I went through Average Draft Position (ADP) data from ESPN and FFPC and identified players that I am routinely higher on than consensus. By reviewing these players you will have a chance to target them in your own drafts and add value to your team. For most players I have identified the rounds I am looking to target them to give you an idea of where you would need to make this selection. There are a lot more players with a sunny-side up disposition than a fried one, because you don’t need me to tell you that someone ranked outside the top 150 players is going to have a bad year, you need me to tell you when someone ranked outside the top 150 has the possibility of having a great year. Enjoy!
Sunny Side Up:
Drew Brees- In a year with very limited practice time, Drew Brees enters the season with the best offensive line in the league (returning four starters from a year ago and adding a first round center), the top scoring wide receiver from last season, the same dynamic pair of running backs, a top ten tight end and the same head coach/ play caller he’s had his whole career. The Saints infrastructure is top notch and this offense should be clicking on all cylinders again this year despite the lack of practice time that could hold other teams back in the early part of the season.
Brees was top three in fantasy points per game last season. He showed no ill effects after returning from the fluke thumb injury that cost him five games as he lead the league in completion percentage (again). Even if his rate of throwing touchdowns regresses from a career high last year, he should still be one of the highest scoring quarterbacks in the league again this season. The addition of Emanuel Sanders gives him another weapon to target in the passing game instead of forcing everything through Michael Thomas (not that it hasn’t been effective). He is being drafted right around QB 8-10 on most sites, but it seems most experts are lower on him. This is one of the few QB’s in the top ten that I am willing to target in fantasy drafts. Take him with confidence.
Carson Wentz- All the talk last season was how the Eagles had bad injury luck, losing all of their starting receivers and having to start Nelson Agholor and Greg Ward (of AAF fame) for large parts of the season. Well that didn’t stop Carson Wentz from throwing for 4,000 yards and finishing as QB9. The Eagles invested in receiver, grabbing Jalen Reagor with their first round pick, will get Desean Jackson back healthy to start the year, and get Alshon Jeffery back midseason. Wentz will also have two elite tight ends with Ertz and Goedert and two very usable receiving backs in Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. Good health for this offense will go a long way, but the sky is the limit for Carson Wentz who stands to return to his 2017 MVP contender form in 2020. He is being drafted as QB12 outside round ten and I like him to finish as QB8 with a potential league winning ceiling.
Cam Newton- If you are looking for a player in the same model as Lamar Jackson from last year, then Newton most closely fits the bill. Newton is currently being drafted as QB15, but when he has been healthy he routinely returns top 5 finishes. Newton will have the best coaching of his career and a fairly stable group of weapons when you consider that Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess were his most recent WR1’s. I believe Belichick and McDaniels will have a great game plan from the get-go and that Newton will only get better as the season goes along. Newton was a top five quarterback last we saw him before the shoulder injury in 2018 and I believe the reward greatly outweighs the risk at his current draft position. Plus, you can still target a “safe” back-up QB in the waning rounds of your draft or grab one off of the waiver wire if Newton does get banged up. Make the upside play and target Cam aggressively in drafts this season.
Jared Goff- Goff had his worst year under McVay last season, mostly due to issues with the offensive line and the league “catching up” to McVay’s scheme. Still, Goff was amongst the league leaders in pass attempts and threw for nearly 4700 yards for the second straight year. The Rams return all five offensive line starters from last year and all of Goff’s major weapons. The offense seemed to figure itself out over the final five weeks as they worked Tyler Higbee into more of a featured role alongside Robert Woods. The Rams averaged nearly 30 ppg in the month of December with Goff having five straight multi-touchdown games. There is nothing sexy about this pick, but grabbing Goff at the end of your draft and expecting a rebound into the QB12 range with top five upside from a guy going as QB20 is a great way to get value at the end of your draft. Especially if you ignored the position through the rest of your draft.
Deshaun Watson- Does the receiver make the quarterback or vice versa? We’ll have an idea after watching the Texans this season as they are without star wide receiver Deandre Hopkins for the first time in Watson’s career. Watson is going as the third quarterback off of the board in ESPN leagues and that is just too early for me to be grabbing him. We are already fading quarterbacks in the fourth to sixth rounds and that is where you would have to take Watson. He has been a top five QB each of the last two seasons, but that was with Hopkins commanding defensive attention. We don’t know what this offense will look like and if the acquisition of David Johnson will lead to more of an emphasis on the ground game this season. Too many questions for a guy going around the same time as tier three RB’s and WR’s are coming off of the board.
Josh Allen- Josh Allen was the QB6 last year in fantasy. He often isn’t pretty to watch on Sundays, but the points are there at the end of the day. After his ascent up the fantasy scoreboard last season, most experts have catapulted him well into their top ten at the position. I continue to find myself staying away, however. The team has done a lot to build around him as they went out and got Stephon Diggs to play next to John Brown and Cole Beasley. If he does grow as a thrower though, that would potentially take away from his rushing numbers which are what drives his fantasy value. I don’t want to rely on him again reaching 500 yards and 8 TD’s on the ground to repeat as a top 10 QB. Plus, the Bills used a second consecutive third round pick on running back Zach Moss. Moss is a bigger bodied back who figures to be active in goal line situations and potentially eat into Allen’s rushing TD’s. The Bills should be better this season and have a chance to win their division for the first time in my adult life, this could impact Josh Allen’s YOLO attitude and his fantasy upside. Give me any of the later round targets listed above who all have a similar upside at a fraction of the cost.
Sunny Side Up:
CEH- Clyde Edwards-Helaire just stepped into the best possible situation for his skillset. I was high on the rookie after the draft, but the news that his presumptive stablemate, Damien Williams, has opted out has rocketed CEH into the middle to end of the first round. The rookie out of LSU profiled as one of the best receiving backs in the class and is a solid runner. Joining the Death Star that is the Chiefs offense, there will be plenty of potential for fantasy goodness playing alongside Patrick Mahomes. CEH has been called the next Brian Westbrook by Andy Reid himself. Since Westbrook took over the Eagles backfield in 2004, Andy Reid has had his top runner finish as RB8 or better in 12 of 16 seasons. It’s not unreasonable to expect CEH to immediately see twenty touches per game and the upside for more. If the top four RB’s are all gone when you are on the clock, then feel comfortable taking CEH from pick five on. Yes, he’s a rookie, but he could not have landed in a better situation. Climb aboard the rocketship.
Joe Mixon- Mixon enters his fourth NFL season in the best offensive environment he’s ever had. The offense will be immediately buoyed by first overall pick Joe Burrow and the return of superstar wide receiver AJ Green. They also get their first round pick from last year back to help on the offensive line. The coaching staff was new to Cincy last year and it took some time for them to find their footing and realize what they had in their players. By the time the second half of the season came around they realized what Mixon could be in this offense and we should see that play out again this season. Over the final eight games of the year Mixon had 18 or more carries in all but one game, compared to only once in the first half of the season. This workload carried him to RB5 down the stretch on a team that picked first overall. Mixon is coming off back to back 1400 total yard seasons and was on pace for almost 2000 total yards over the final eight games last season. The Bengals should see an uptick in both points and wins this season with Burrow at the helm of the offense and Mixon should be going in the middle of the first round, not the middle of the second.
Melvin Gordon- Gordon’s stats from last season were crushed by the fact that he tried holding out for a new contract that didn’t come. He may have overthought his worth to the Chargers, but the Broncos were happy to give him a contract with two guaranteed years to come play in front of Phillip Lindsay. After working his way into playing shape through the course of the season, Gordon finished as RB7 over the final half of the season. A total that shows what his ceiling is and is a nice reminder that he is an elite fantasy running back. He now joins a loaded Broncos offense with the biggest question mark at quarterback. This means we should see a lot of Gordon to alleviate some of the burden on Lock. Phillip Lindsay showed last year that he is best used as a change of pace, and that means Gordon should see a similar workload to what he got in Los Angeles with Austin Ekeler next to him. Gordon is currently going in the fifth round as RB20. I have him right outside my top ten at the position with the upside to finish in the top five. I would be willing to take him in the late second or third round of fantasy drafts.
Ronald Jones- Jones has been the player on this list that most closely aligns with the traditional term: sleeper. He started the season going in the ninth or tenth rounds of fantasy drafts and wasn’t always the first player on his own team from his position being drafted. As the fantasy community has grown on him we have seen him rocket up the standings and he can now go as early as the fourth round and is usually gone by the seventh. Jones has quietly improved every season of his career. Jones is fantastic at creating extra yards when he has the ball by making defenders miss tackles and driving through contact. Jones averaged the second most yards per reception from a running back last season on over thirty catches with only one drop. With Jameis Winston being replaced by Tom Brady we can count on more positive game scripts for the Bucs. This should allow the running game to stay active for all four quarters and help RoJo secure even more receptions. Get him in space with the ball in his hands and good things will happen. His competition is a rookie running back with a fifth round grade, the corpse of Lesean McCoy, and a passing down back who had 46 total touches last season. I have him comfortably in my top 20 at running back and he is going right around RB30 in drafts this season. He is the player that I have targeted most aggressively after loading up on RB/WR in the first three to five rounds.
Zack Moss- Moss has been the only rookie running back outside of CEH that I have been comfortable drafting. He was drafted to the Bills to run next to Devin Singletary and replace Frank Gore. Both he and Singletary carry the same draft capital and I believe Moss could earn the better half of the platoon by the middle of the season. Assuming he takes only Gore’s role we are looking at about 180 touches and goal line duties. Moss was a decent pass catcher in college and has the possibility to develop into a three down back in the NFL. His cost is a pick in the eleventh or twelfth round and is one of the higher upside backups available at that point of the draft thanks to his likely red zone work and receiving prowess. With other rookie running backs going in the fifth through eighth rounds, I find myself waiting and grabbing Moss.
Tevin Coleman/ Jerick McKinnon- Investing in a Shanahan backfield can be quite detrimental to your health. Kyle, just like his father, has been a notorious “hot-hand” coordinator and I don’t see that changing this year. So instead of investing a fourth to sixth round pick in playoff-hero Raheem Mostert who looks great thanks to some amazing TD luck, let’s invest in the other two members of the backfield at a great discount. Coleman is going as RB40 in the thirteenth round and actually started ahead of Mostert all of last season when he was healthy (including in the Super Bowl, ya know, the most important game of the season for the 49er’s). Finally healthy, Jerick McKinnon could be the back to own in San Fran. McKinnon was the splash signing several offseason ago after his breakout with the Vikings. They have done everything possible to keep him around after tearing his ACL in the 2018 preseason. This is the first year we will see him back on the field and if he is half the athlete he was before his injury, then he will run away with this backfield and is essentially free in drafts this season. He is going as RB55 and should be targeted after the tenth round.
Antonio Gibson- Gibson is another rookie whose stock has been skyrocketing up draft boards. Unlike CEH, Gibson’s teammate is not opting out of the season, but rather is opting into prison after an extremely serious domestic violence charge and immediate release from the Washington football team. Gibson is one of the most intriguing prospects in the class because of the way he was used at Memphis. He was not a volume contributor with only 70 touches last season, but he lined up as a runner and a receiver. Washington has declared him a running back, but I think it is a safe bet that we will see him line up all around the formation. With Guice’s departure we could see him carve out a small role in the run game: 5-10 carries a game immediately is not an unreasonable expectation with another 5-10 targets in the passing game. Washington is in need of playmakers and Gibson profiles as a player who will make an impact at the NFL level. He has elite size (6’ 228 lbs) and speed (99th percentile speed score with sub 4.4 40yd dash). You can’t get him after round ten anymore, but the opportunity to produce is there and I believe he captures it. Feel free to target him between rounds six to eight when we are looking for lottery ticket backups.
Damien Harris- Harris was starting to come up draft boards with the news of Sony Michel starting the season injured. Then the Patriots signed Lamar Miller and that has pushed Harris back into late round flier territory, which is good for us. The Patriots will keep their committee approach at running back. but there is a good chance that Harris can carve out the early down role and potentially be on the field with Newton at the goal line. Newton will take some goal line carries for himself, but if Harris can get early downs and goal line work then he will pay off an ADP in the 160’s. Michel has not lived up to his first round billing and this offense could use a spark alongside Newton. If I passed on RB’s early and am looking for depth, I find myself looking to Harris quite often.
Aaron Jones- I wish the Packers organization liked Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones as much as literally everyone else likes the A-arons. The reasons to be lower on Jones this season has nothing to do with him as a player and everything to do with the way Matt Lefleur coaches the offense. With the addition of AJ Dillon into the backfield it is unclear how exactly the three Packers backs will be used. The uncertainty of the role and the impending TD regression are two reasons to be fading Aaron Jones at his RB9 cost. I wouldn’t mind getting him in the third round as opposed to the second where he is currently being drafted, but even there I am still fading him for other backs in less crowded backfields. His ceiling is crazy high as we saw last year, but it is hard to expect that again in 2020.
Josh Jacobs- Jacobs ADP is a little more reasonable than Jones, but I find myself avoiding the second year back in drafts due to his lack of involvement in the passing game. Jacobs only managed 20 catches last season and the team brought back Jalen Richard, their passing down back from the last few seasons. On top of that they drafted Lynn Bowden Jr, a RB/WR hybrid player out of Kentucky who will likely start his NFL career with his own set of gadget plays and develop into another pass catching back for Jacobs to deal with. The new receivers might raise the floor of the offense as a whole and create more scoring opportunities for Jacobs, but I can never bring myself to take him when Ekeler, Mixon, Chubb and Conner are all still on the board. In non-PPR he is a slightly more palatable, but I still find myself targeting other players in the late second round.
Leonard Fournette- The Jags have declined Fournette’s fifth year option and tried trading him through the entire offseason with no takers. It is unknown if the asking price is too high or if no one is interested. Either way, it doesn’t speak volumes about their confidence in him as a player with a new coaching staff coming in. Some beat writers believe Fournette could still be cut or potentially traded during the season. People who are pro-Fournette point to the workload and targets he received last year and the fact that he should score more TD’s this season. I don’t believe Fournette gets anywhere near 100 targets again this year. He was not out running routes, but was rather the dump-off option for Minshew when no one was open and Minshew was avoiding a sack. Jay Gruden brought Chris Thompson with him from Washington and the team still has Armstead around who they drafted last year. Fournette lacks the burst to convert his long runs into TD’s and the Jags O-Line is not much improved from last year. Currently going in the third down, Fournette is nothing more than a volume play at this point, I would rather have the upside of other runners whose teams have more confidence in them.
Raheem Mostert- Related to above where we talked about Coleman and McKinnon. Mostert is the first running back off the board for the 49er’s in the fifth or sixth round. The 49er’s were willing to give him a slight pay boost, but I can’t see Mostert returning the value of where he is currently being drafted. Coleman will likely start over him again this season and if McKinnon can recapture his A+ form from before I believe the backfield is his. Mostert will certainly have some big weeks this season, but I don’t think we’ll be able to predict when they are coming and you won’t be able to start him with confidence. Stay away at his current ADP and target that third tier of receivers with safe floors and high ceilings.
Devin Singletary- See Zack Moss above. Singletary is being drafted as though he is going to see the lion’s share of touches in this offense and I am not convinced he will. With Moss and Allen on the team, Singletary is third in line for goal line touches. He will likely have enough yards that if he stays healthy he could flirt with top-25 production, but I would rather the other guys around him with more upside or receivers going in the same area with a safer floor.
Sunny Side Up:
Adam Thielen- Thielen is a classic buy low. After an injury-wrecked year in 2019 he comes into 2020 with a clean bill of health and the clear favorite to lead the team in targets and challenge for the league lead. The Vikings sent Diggs to the Bills this offseason and replaced him with a rookie receiver who operated primarily out of the slot in college. Thielen had never missed a game before 2019 and I am expecting him to dominate from week one forward. Thielen has been climbing in drafts, starting outside the top ten. He is now going as WR9 and I have him as WR6 with a target upside to challenge for WR1.
JuJu Smith-Schuster- A second-straight bounce back candidate. JuJu’s 2019 was ruined when Big Ben went down and got worse as he dealt with a litany of nagging injuries over the course of the season. With Ben back and an offseason to heal, look for JuJu to climb back into the top ten at the position. He was one of the first five receivers off the board last year and you can routinely get him in the fourth round. We know his production is likely tied to Ben’s health, but all reports are that Ben is ready to go and looking good in practice. Feel comfortable targeting JuJu and enjoy a return to form from the budding superstar.
Calvin Ridley- When I started this blog I was told it would be revoked if I didn’t talk about Ridley. Ridley is pegged as this year’s “Chris Godwin”. He is a super talented receiver on a pass first offense with an A+ receiver across the field from him who should see a target spike and enjoy the fantasy success that comes with it. After Austin Hooper’s injury last season Ridley saw an immediate spike in his workload. With Hooper now in Cleveland we should see Ridley command more than the 90 targets he has seen the last two years. Julio is still the alpha on this team and is a top four fantasy receiver overall, but the Bucs showed that one offense can sustain two high-end pass catchers and I believe Ridley flirts with a top ten season. He is currently being drafted as WR18 on ESPN in the sixth round, I would take him as early as the end of the third/ fourth round.
Michael Gallup- The Cowboys led the league in yards per game last season. They return virtually the same offense with the addition of first round pick CeeDee Lamb. After their bye last season, Michael Gallup outscored Amari Cooper and averaged 15 points per game and was WR8 over that nine week stretch. Gallup is being drafted as WR33. CeeDee Lamb is a very good football player and will make an impact on this offense, but let’s not pretend like he is going to take all of Gallup’s target share in the process. The Cowboys receivers are on record as saying they think they could all finish with 1000 receiving yards and I kind of believe the that ambitious possibility. I have Gallup as my WR18 and would be fine drafting him in the fifth or sixth round, well before his current ninth round position.
Will Fuller- Fuller has potentially the highest upside of any receiver in the league this season given his cost. The question has never been about talent with Fuller, but rather health. With Deandre Hopkins and his 150 targets removed from the Texans I would look for Fuller to grab much of that share in the immediate sense. The good news is the injury history is baked into his current price as he is going off the board as WR35. He is the only receiver with rapport with Watson on the roster and if he can play the majority of games then he should be able to finish as a top 20 receiver. You don’t need to draft him as a starter in the tenth round, but there is a good chance he will wind up starting for you.
Diontae Johnson- Diontae was the original player hyped in the fantasy community this offseason. His love has faded as new and shiny toys are being talked about in his place, but that just means we haven’t seen his price continue to climb (as we have many of the other names on this list). Diontae was one of the top rookie receivers from last year’s class with the worst quarterback play in the league last season. He had the most receptions and was sixth in yards. He created the most separation on his routes and has drawn Antonio Brown parallels (for his play, not his mental health). With Big Ben now healthy this Steelers offense can easily feature two receivers and I love Diontae to finish above his WR41 price tag. The wide receiver position is deep this year, so instead of targeting players who only have a high floor, we should be targeting guys with league winning upside to fill our benches and Diontae is on that list.
Brandon Aiyuk- Originally this was another 49er’s dual-player paragraph, but the injury to Jalen Hurd in practice has removed him for now. If anything that unfortunate injury is even more reason to love Aiyuk. The 49er’s used their first round pick on Aiyuk because they thought he was the perfect fit for their offense. A receiver who excels after the catch with Kyle Shanahan scheming him open. Deebo Samuel is not expected back for week one (and with the injury he suffered may not be as impactful as he was as a rookie). With the Hurd injury, Aiyuk will open the season across the field from Kendrick Bourne or Trent Taylor. The coaching staff has raved about Aiyuk’s pro-readiness in the early part of training camp and I believe he flies out of the gates as an immediate contributor. He’s currently WR63 in ADP. Target aggressively after round ten.
Jalen Reagor- The second rookie wide receiver we are targeting. Reagor is in a similar situation to Aiyuk. The Eagles have Desean Jackson (although we all thought he was getting released for a week there after his anti-Semitic comments) and Greg Ward with Reagor added into the mix. It is expected that Reagor will be a week one starter and he has the talent and opportunity to contribute right away. Reagor is going as WR55 in drafts, but he is the type of upside we want to chase at the end of the draft.
Parris Campbell- A second year player that saw limited action due to injury last season. Campbell is an elite athlete with burner speed. The Colts brought in Phillip Rivers to be their QB this season and lead a more consistent attack. That’s a move that should lead to an increase in pass attempts and targets for everyone in the offense. TY Hilton is still the top receiver on the team, but he is always battling his own injuries, and Campbell has the athletic profile and draft capital (second round pick in 2019) that points to a potential breakout on the horizon. Throw a dart his way at the end of the draft and see what happens.
Deandre Hopkins- Hopkins is currently being drafted as a guy who has finished top five in the position in four of the last five years (which he has done). The difference is this year he is leaving the environment that has allowed him to garner no fewer than 150 targets over that stretch. Hopkins is moving to Arizona where he will have sophomore breakout candidate Kyler Murray throwing him the football. The Cardinals team leaders in targets last season were Kirk and Fitzgerald who had 108/109 respectively. It is an offensive philosophy predicated on spreading the ball around and opening up the field so that the running game can be effective while getting players into space to make plays. Hopkins is an elite talent entering a complete unknown. I am passing on him in the early second round for more stable pass catchers whose target share we are more sure of this season.
Cooper Kupp- Cooper Kupp has been sliding down draft boards recently, but he started the offseason top fifteen in WR ADP. Kupp is a hard target to peg for this coming season. He has flourished with Goff in the heavy three wide receiver sets that the Rams were known for in 2017 and 2018. As the offense changed and readjusted to the league in 2019, Kupp’s snap share decreased and so did his targets per game. I believe the changes we saw down the stretch are going to be what the Rams work out of more this season, featuring more two TE sets and less three wide. This will lead to reduced targets for Kupp who thrives in the slot role, but has struggled when forced outside. He is currently WR18 and being taken before teammate Robert Woods. I would rather have Woods (my WR13) and I have Kupp moved all the way down to WR31 for this season.
Stefon Diggs- Diggs is in a similar situation as Hopkins for this season. Going from a very secure role in the Vikings offense that has had him finish as WR 19, 10 and 24 over the last three seasons. Josh Allen has a crazy strong arm, but hasn’t been able to consistently throw those bombs where he has wanted them to go (which is a really nice way of saying he was the worst at it in the league outside of Mason Rudolph and Kyle Allen who won’t be starting again in 2020). Many think that Diggs will unlock this ability for Allen, but I think it is going to lead to a very frustrated wide receiver. With a reduced offseason and run first approach in Buffalo I have Diggs outside my top thirty-five at the position and want no part of him in fantasy this season.
Sunny Side Up:
Evan Engram- The only knock I have ever heard about Evan Engram is that he can’t stay healthy, and although that has been a fair statement for his career so far, it is also reasonable to say he has been a little unlucky in that department and not so much “injury prone”. Keenan Allen is a player that we also used to say couldn’t stay healthy and he has played three straight seasons of 16 games. Evan Engram is an absolute stud athlete who has one of the highest points per game amongst all tight ends over the last four seasons. With how deep the tight end position is this season I am fine to take Engram ahead of his eighth round ADP and get a true game breaker knowing that the depth is there to find a replacement if he goes down. The Giants showed some bright spots last season on offense and I would look for Engram to be heavily involved again this season as one of the biggest mismatches against linebackers out there.
Tyler Higbee- Higbee’s final five weeks of the season was truly special. He averaged 21.4 points per game in the month of December. This figure was easily best amongst tight ends and was second to only Michael Thomas amongst all pass catchers over that span. The emergence was sparked by Gerald Everett’s injury, but also coincided with the changes the Rams made to their offense in the final month of the season. Higbee did play ahead of Everett in the final two weeks of the season after Everett returned from injury, but it remains unclear if we can expect him to play ahead of Everett for 2020. Higbee was extended prior to 2019 and Everett has not yet been extended, so the Rams may prefer Higbee long term after seeing what he was capable of down the stretch last season. I do not expect Higbee to average 20+ ppg this season, but if he can come anywhere close to the usage at the end of last season when the Rams played their best football, then he is a player I want on my team. He is the eighth tight end off of the board at the end of the ninth round. Along with Engram he is the only tight end in this range I am will to target. I have been taking him in either the seventh or eighth round of drafts. If I miss on the two of them, then I am usually waiting to be the last to take my tight end.
Dallas Goedert- Dallas Goedert finished last season as TE10. He is currently being drafted as TE20. This is a player on the rise that the Eagles love. He has an established rapport with Crason Wentz and all signs point to him becoming more of a focal point on the offense alongside Zach Ertz. Just because he has a teammate also ranked in the top ten he is being faded in drafts. Although I am high on Reagor he is not an established player and it won’t be a surprise to see Goedert rank amongst the top three in terms of targets per game on the team. If you wait until the end of your draft to take a tight end, feel comfortable taking Goedert.
Eric Ebron- After a transcendent season with Andrew Luck in 2018 that saw him finish as TE4, Ebron fell back to Earth last season with the rest of the Colts offense. Injuries sapped his effectiveness and he wasn’t on the fantasy radar. Ebron leaves Indy behind as he heads to Pittsburgh. Another Steeler pass catcher on the list as we continue to bet on a return to health for Big Ben and the volume that predicated an elite fantasy offense in 2018. Ebron has proven to be a mismatch in the redone throughout his career and should see enough volume to be fantasy relevant every week on the rebounding Steelers. Buy low as he has an ADP of TE16 right now. Ebron is on almost every best ball team I have drafted and I plan on continuing to target him aggressively as we move into season long drafts.
Darren Waller- Waller was a true baller last year. Coming from virtually nowhere to finish third at the position. It’s not a type of emergence that happens often. I believe Waller has the talent to be effective as an every-down tight end in the league, I just don’t think he is going to get the volume that carried him to such a spectacular season again. Waller saw 117 targets last season as the Raiders were bereft of pass catchers following the departure of Antonio Brown. The Raiders retooled this offseason and brought in Henry Ruggs as the top drafted rookie receiver, Bryan Edwards in the third round of the draft and Lynn Bowden also in the third round. They also brought in Jason Witten to provide a veteran presence and likely steal some snaps away from Waller. Waller could get off to a hot start as the rookies adjust to the NFL with a limited camp, but I just don’t think he is going to have the target share to repeat a top five finish again in 2020. He is currently the fifth tight end off of the board and I have him ranked as TE7.
TJ Hockensen- Hockensen enters his second year in the league in 2020. He came out guns blazing last year and put up 131 yards and touchdown in week one. It would be his highest scoring performance of the season and more than a third of his total season production. His season was ruined by a myriad of injuries, and he is still feeling the ankle injury that cost him the last month of the season. He profiles as an elite prospect that we should be excited about, but the fact that he doesn’t appear healed from his ankle injury has me staying away from the future stud. He is currently the twelfth tight end off of the board and is going before Hurst, Gesicki and Ebron. All players with a similarly high upside who are much safer given current health. If you have the luxury of taking two tight ends it could be worth grabbing Hock and waiting for him to be at 100% health, but I would not want to roster him and wait for him as players rarely get healthier over the course of a season without missing significant time.