Every season in the NFL is full of evolution. You’ve heard a million times that the NFL is a copy cat league and teams lower in the standings try to emulate whatever the stand out teams did in the previous season. No matter what the hot trend is, the tight end position will not die in fantasy football. Each season the position lacks depth which makes hitting your pick in the draft pretty important. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend an early draft pick on a tight end though. Through spending some time and doing the proper research you can find the later round guys that have a good chance of popping. If you read Razzball in your 2019 prep, you probably ended up with Darren Waller on a lot of your fantasy teams. Let’s take a look at a few categories to break down the tight end position from the 2019 season as we look ahead to 2020. 

 

data courtesy of airyards.com

Player

2019 PPR Fantasy Points

Travis Kelce

256.3
Darren Waller 223
George Kittle 222.5
Zach Ertz 215.6
Mark Andrews 209.2
Austin Hooper 189.7
Jared Cook 167.5
Tyler Higbee 160.4
Hunter Henry 150.2
Dallas Goedert 148.7

Of course Travis Kelce scored the most fantasy points for the tight end position. His only real competition for the highest drafted tight end was George Kittle, but the drafting public leaned into Travis Kelce and his large role in the Chief’s offense. It speaks volume about the Eagles’ offense that they had two of the top 10 scoring fantasy tight ends. When Alshon Jeffrey is hurt, there isn’t a whole lot to look forward to in the receiving corps. 

Darren Waller was a beast for the Raiders who lacked pass catchers outside of Tyrell Williams. Waller was 3rd amongst tight ends in targets with 117 and caught 90 passes. Waller only caught 3 touchdown passes and it took him forever to grab his first touchdown as a Raider. In the future, I believe that Waller will be more utilized in the red zone and the luck didn’t land on his side in that regard. 

Hunter Henry still had a TE1 season even though it was abbreviated. It’ll be interesting to see who the Chargers bring in under center and how it will affect the passing game in L.A. in 2020. As long as Drew Brees is still throwing the ball for the Saints, Jared Cook is a dangerous fantasy tight end. It was a slow start for Cook, but he ended up living up to his draft price while bringing in 9 touchdowns for the season. 

Player Target Share
George Kittle 0.28
Travis Kelce 0.24
Zach Ertz 0.24
Mark Andrews 0.23
Darren Waller 0.22

George Kittle is one of the most valuable players in the NFL and is the motor oil on the 49ers’ offense that keeps it running correctly. The 49ers aren’t a passing team, so there is pretty important dialogue in the 107 2019 targets that he received. Mark Andrews was the only tight end with double digit touchdowns for another team that isn’t known for throwing the ball a ton. 98 targets for a team that regularly plays 3 tight ends is pretty significant. 

*Grits teeth* Zach Ertz actually wasn’t a bust this season. Although Goedert ate into Ertz’s workload and Ertz didn’t get to 1,000 yards, Zach was targeted 135 times which was only one less target than Travis Kelce. I’m going to wait on 2020 ADP data before I make any decisions on Zach Ertz for next season. There could actually end up being some value depending on how the market views him. 

Player Air Yards
Travis Kelce 1,218
Zach Ertz 1,167
Mark Andrews 1,035
Mike Gesicki 910
Darren Waller 856

Air yards from the previous season can be a good way to find the next break out player. If that is the case, Mike Gesicki is primed for a break out in 2020. Mike Gesicki and Ryan Fitzpatrick built up a nice connection in the 2nd half of the season. Gesicki scored 5 touchdowns and they all came after week 12. Mike will get some moderate buzz and I think he will be one of my two favorite tight end targets in the later rounds to go along with Noah Fant