I have previously outlined some important college stats that help project NFL success here. In short, similar to wide receivers, a high market share is a good indicator of future fantasy relevance. However, tight ends do not have to reach the same level of market share dominance with 15% being a fine number.
Other things that are important are career yards over 1200, low forty times and weight adjusted speed scores over 107. Unfortunately at this stage in their development, we don’t know true forty times for these tight ends.
I have used age-adjusted production to identify promising candidates and will refine the rankings as we get more information leading up to the 2021 NFL draft. This is the initial devy list, but follow along as players rise and fall and new targets breakout during the 2020 season!
On to the rankings!
|TE1||School||First Year Eligible||Career Yards||Highest Market Share|
|Pat Freiermuth||Penn State||2021||875||23|
Despite an underwhelming passing attack in Happy Valley, Freiermuth has been a focal point of the offense since arriving on campus. With 15 scores over his first 2 seasons, he has 3 more than the next in line. That is astounding production for a teenager at a position where redshirting is the norm. He appears to be a complete prospect and will likely have high draft capital once he declares for the NFL.
|TE2||School||First Year Eligible||Career Yards||Highest Market Share|
This position for Pitts is heavily influenced by his theoretical ceiling. Standing 6’6″ with a receiver’s hands and smooth open field ability, one can dream on Pitts as a true difference making weapon. His sophomore season was very exciting as he established himself as a go-to option for the Gators’ offense. As the top returning receiver in Gainesville, I would like to see him dominate the targets in 2020 to solidify his ranking. Pitts is presumed to be a first round pick when he comes out, so that alone makes him a great devy selection.
|TE3||School||First Year Eligible||Career Yards||Highest Market Share|
|Jalen Wydermyer||Texas A&M||2022||447||21|
What a freshman season for Wydermyer! While most 18 year old tight ends are beefing up in the cafeteria, he led the Aggies in touchdowns. He moves well for his massive 6’5″ 260 size, and is clearly a force near the goal. This level of early dominance can’t be overlooked and Wydermyer is tracking on a very promising career arc.
|TE4||School||First Year Eligible||Career Yards||Highest Market Share|
|Charlie Kolar||Iowa State||2021||834||21|
Iowa State has been pumping out NFL players on offense for a few years now, and Kolar looks to be another one. He led the Cyclones in receiving touchdowns as a true sophomore and shows excellent hands attached to his 6’6″ frame. He should be a major problem in the red zone once again in 2020, as he builds a case to a be a top NFL draft pick.
|TE5||School||First Year Eligible||Career Yards||Highest Market Share|
Kuithe may be a surprise to be listed this high, but leading a power 5 team in receptions, yards and touchdowns as a true sophomore is a really big deal. He was a dynamic weapon for the Utes, registering an additional 6 carries for 102 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kuithe could have had another score, but he couldn’t quite beat the safety on a 45 yard rush against Colorado. The contributions on the ground tell me the team considers him an explosive player and designed plays to get the ball in his hands. Being listed a little short for his position at 6’2″ will keep him buried on prospect lists, but the production is excellent and Jordan Reed was almost the same build. Look for him to be a riser during the 2020 season.
|TE6||School||First Year Eligible||Career Yards||Highest Market Share|
Many will think this is too low for Jordan, who is frequently in the same territory as Pitts. After a promising freshman campaign, his 2 touchdowns as a sophomore were disappointing. While the physical tools are obvious, I’d like to see more on-field dominance from Jordan to bump him up the rankings.
|TE7||School||First Year Eligible||Career Yards||Highest Market Share|
The 2019 return of Quintez Cephus overshadowed Ferguson’s outstanding debut in 2018 where he commanded 21% of the Badgers’ receiving production. He shows some nice wiggle after the catch and is a good all-around prospect. In 2020, he could lead Wisconsin in receiving and cement himself on the short list of top TEs in the nation.
|TE8||School||First Year Eligible||Career Yards||Highest Market Share|
This is lazy, but when a TE gets a 5 star rating on the recruiting trail… you take note. Already built like an NFL player, look for Gilbert to make noise in his first year on the Bayou.
|TE9||School||First Year Eligible||Career Yards||Highest Market Share|
One of the oldest players on the list, Granson played receiver for 2 years at Rice before transferring to SMU. Although now listed as a TE, he essentially played as a big slot receiver in the Mustangs’ wide open offense. At this time, I am not sure how NFL teams will view this unique talent but for fantasy purposes, he can primarily be a receiver and we’ll take it. With James Proche moving on, it will be interesting to see if Granson can command an even bigger piece of the receiving pie in his final season.
|TE10||School||First Year Eligible||Career Yards||Highest Market Share|
Coach’s son alert! The young Pederson is kin to Super Bowl winning Doug, and I’m sure we will hear all about his “football IQ” as the draft process unfolds next year. On paper he’s a noteworthy prospect in his own right, leading La-Monroe in touchdowns as a redshirt junior. Boasting the highest market share on the list, I am interested to see if he can generate more buzz at an event like the Senior Bowl.
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