Tight Ends are always a tough position to draft when coming into a new season, but unless you want to spend high draft capital on one of the top 3 TEs (Kelce, Ertz, Kittle), you’re best bet is to wait until the end of the draft to pick a sleeper. Worst case scenario is you drop your late-round TE to pick up the streaking player, or just choose to stream TEs. If you streamed against the Cardinals last season, you know how much this does work.
Most of the Tight Ends we will talk about aren’t even being drafted currently, which means you could wait till the last few rounds to grab potential players like Darren Waller or Mark Andrews. These TE sleepers come from a 12-team PPR mock draft .
Chris Herndon IV – New York Jets
Chris Herndon was a massive disappointment in 2019 after a promising rookie season in 2018. Herndon spent the beginning of 2019 suspended, and then finished the rest of his year injured. He only played in one game and caught 1 pass for 7 yards.
But the main reason Herndon is a massive sleeper is that he looked amazing in 2018, where he caught 39 passes for 502 yards and 4 touchdowns in 16 games. Hopefully, 2019 was a fluke, and the 3rd year TE can expand on his rookie numbers.
Herndon is currently undrafted, although someone in our mock draft took a shot at him in the 13th round. Herndon has the athletic ability to be a top 10 TE, especially since the Jets don’t have many receiving options.
Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts
Jack Doyle has always been a super boring TE option in fantasy, but he is generally a consistent player who has shown the potential of being a great fantasy player for your team. He never has had a record-breaking season, but he has had a few good seasons that should give you some faith in drafting him late.
Doyle has two things working for him this coming season: the departure of fellow TE Eric Ebron, and the addition of QB Phillip Rivers. Ebron had 52 targets last season, and the Colts did not add anyone of note at the position. Also, Rivers is known to check down early and often, which could bode well for Doyle in a PPR league. Rivers also loved his TEs (just look at Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry), and that won’t stop in Indianapolis.
Doyle is currently undrafted in mock drafts and is another great late-round option if you are looking for a potential sleeper.
Jonnu Smith – Tennessee Titans
The Titans really found their groove after QB Ryan Tannehill took over the starting job from Marcus Mariota, leading them to a playoff berth. The offense finally began to click, and Tannehill was making it look easy out there. TE Jonnu Smith was a beneficiary of that change and is currently another undrafted TE that has massive potential.
Smith did most of his damage after Tannehill took the job in Week 6, averaging around 5 targets a game. He had 4 games over 60 yards and finished the season with 35 catches for 439 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Now there are some risks with the Titans since they rely heavily on the run game and have very good receivers. But Smith has such a low draft capital that it might be worth a shot. Smith is athletic enough, and the Titans are explosive enough, that you could be rewarded mightily for taking the risk.
Eric Ebron – Pittsburgh Steelers
Eric Ebron was a massive disappointment for fantasy (and NFL) owners after being drafted by the Lions as the 10th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft. He was one of those players that were overhyped and never truly lived up to his ADP. That seemed to change when he went to the Colts in 2018 when he caught 66 passes for 750 yards and an absurd 13 touchdowns. It seemed like Ebron just needed off the Lions to show he was worth the 1st round pick.
Unfortunately, Ebron regressed last season, only catching 31 passes for 375 yards and 3 touchdowns…which is much closer to his average stats. It was enough for the Colts to move on, which doesn’t bode well for him in 2020.
That being said, it’s hard to pass up on a guy who is not being drafted in mock drafts and happens to be on a very intriguing team going into the upcoming season. QB Ben Roethlisberger missed most of 2019 with an elbow injury but is only 2 years removed from a career season where he threw for over 5000 yards and 34 touchdowns.
Ebron has the ability and has shown he can have Pro Bowl type seasons, so it’s not insane to think he could have a career year with the Steelers.
Blake Jarwin – Dallas Cowboys
TE Jason Witten was 37 years old and had been retired for a year before coming back in 2019. And he still was targeted 83 times, catching 63 passes for 529 yards and 4 touchdowns. Now Witten is one of the better TEs we’ve seen in recent years, but what this really tells us is that QB Dak Prescott and the Cowboy offense likes to target the TE.
Now Witten is gone and all those targets have to go somewhere. Enter Blake Jarwin, who himself had an OK 2019 season even with Witten there. Jarwin had 31 catches for 365 yards and 3 touchdowns, which should easily be beaten this coming year. The Cowboy offense is still a very dangerous group, and Jarwin should easily benefit. He could be a top 10 TE easily, and it would only cost you a 13-16 round pick, depending on how badly you want him on your team.
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