Can we expect big things from the uber-athletic players at the tight end position in fantasy football this season?
For the longest time, the tight end spot on your fantasy team has been a plug-and-play crapshoot to see which player could get more than the typical 2.50 to 6.40 points, unless you have a healthy Rob Gronkowski.
Sure, those amounts could make or break your team in any given week, but wouldn’t you want more guaranteed points from that slot? The 2018 NFL season has plenty in store for everyone, but the reemergence of the receiving tight end can completely change the landscape of your best friend’s fantasy league that you swear you’re just in for fun.
In the last few seasons, the only consistent tight ends have been Gronkowski, Travis Kelce and Greg Olsen. In Los Angeles, Hunter Henry was a favorite to breakout this season before he went down with an injury. In Green Bay, a healthy Aaron Rodgers will have one of the most athletically gifted tight ends at his disposal in Jimmy Graham. The Baltimore Ravens drafted a pair of dynamic rookies in Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews, and due to the fact that quarterback Joe Flacco tends to give his tight ends a good volume of targets, either one of them is a safe bet.
Some of the most athletically gifted players at the tight end position have surfaced only in the last six or seven years, not a very long time.
Now, NFL offenses are figuring out that the size and speed that players like O.J. Howard and David Njoku offer, both of whom were picked in the 2017 NFL draft, can make for big plays down the seam as well as seemingly impossible vertical leaps in the end zone. In watching Evan Engram’s play from last season, it seems that the days of the traditional tight end has come to a complete close as Engram is essentially just a large wide receiver with little to no actual blocking prowess.
The top five fantasy tight ends last season were Gronkowski, Kelce, Zach Ertz, Graham and Engram, all of whom scored 109 fantasy points or above according to NFL.com. Those tight ends scored more points than any other wide receivers outside of the top 25. It would not be a stretch to say that there will be maybe four to five more tight ends producing incredible numbers in 2018, especially with the new helmet rules put in place. This upcoming season holds the potential to see a position revolutionized by athleticism for the first time since Kellen Winslow did it with the Chargers back in the 1980s.
Unlike most years, tight ends have the chance to be taken right alongside wide receivers in drafts all over the football-watching world, which has the potential to really shake up projected draft positioning for all skill position players.
Now, maybe instead of having to decide who you want to get those 2.80 points from, like some folks did with Cameron Brate and Martellus Bennett two years ago, you can move forward knowing that with O.J. Howard, you’re in much more consistent hands.