Top Tight End Sleepers: Fantasy Football 2019

Running backs and wide receivers might get all of the headlines when it comes to fantasy football projections, but leagues can be won or lost at the tight end position. Beyond established guys like Travis Kelce, Greg Kittle, and Zach Ertz, the position is a bit murky. Predicting who will break out and who will falter could be the key to your fantasy football championship. You can find our 2019 Tight End Fantasy Stats from previous seasons and for all of this upcoming season.

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams

Projected Stats: 50 catches, 560 yards, 5 touchdowns
Everett’s numbers from last season don’t jump off the page. He totaled just 33 catches for 320 yards and three touchdowns and finished as the 22nd ranked tight end in standard scoring. But a deeper dive into those numbers suggests that 2019 might be more productive. 222 of those yards and all three of the touchdowns came in the second half of the season. Firmly established as the receiving tight end on the Los Angeles roster, Everett will have to improve on his blocking to fully displace Tyler Higbee this season. As an able receiver and fluid athlete, Everett demands attention from the defenses. He should demand equal attention from fantasy owners.

Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans

Projected Stats: 35 catches, 380 yards, 4 touchdowns
Playing behind or even alongside Delanie Walker makes Smith a second option at best, but even so, the third-year tight end could present some fantasy value this season. Like Everett, Smith had a very quiet 2018 season. Even with Walker injured, he failed to truly cement his importance to the Tennessee passing attack until the second half of the year. Through the first eight weeks of the season, Smith had just 77 yards and a touchdown. Over the course of the next eight games, he had 181 yards and two touchdowns. Again, those aren’t outstanding numbers by any means, but they indicate a growing comfort level for Smith. Walker, at 34-years-old and coming off of a gruesome ankle injury that sidelined him last year, may not be the dominant force he once was. If that’s the case, the Titans will need someone to step up, and that someone could very well be Smith.

Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles

Projected Stats: 50 catches, 500 yards, 6 touchdowns
Goedert probably wouldn’t be a sleeper at all if he didn’t play alongside Zach Ertz, one of the best tight ends in the league. Working behind Ertz as a rookie, Goedert had 33 catches for 334 yards and four touchdowns. He was the 20th ranked tight end in fantasy football as a rookie and as a second tight end option on his own team. That’s quite impressive. I expect Goedert to make even more of an impact this year. Ertz will still be the main option, but Goedert is too talented not to be utilized. The duo may very well form a two-headed monster unrivaled across tight end groups league wide. If Goedert takes even the minimum leap expected of players coming off their rookie seasons, he’ll be fantasy viable for sure.

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

Projected Stats: 55 catches, 700 yards, 5 touchdowns
Andrews was a surprising big play option for the Ravens last year, with two catches over 60 yards as a rookie. Overall, he finished with 34 catches for 552 yards and three touchdowns in a crowded crop of tight ends. Fellow rookie Hayden Hurst had just 13 catches and 163 yards, while Nick Boyle had 23 catches for 213 yards. Andrews is better than both of them, and he proved it last season. If he can absorb the targets of either one of those guys, he could really break out and become the only fantasy relevant pass catcher on the Ravens.

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

Projected Stats: 45 catches, 500 yards, 4 touchdowns
None of Mike Gesicki’s 2018 stats necessarily suggest a 2019 breakout. As a rookie, he had just 202 yards and never found the back of the endzone. His struggles as a blocker limited his playing time, and he was never really able to find a groove. But there remains loads of potential. Gesicki is 6-6, 245 pounds, and moves like a much smaller man. He’s as good an athlete as there is at the position. Most importantly, he’s on a barren depth chart in need of a game breaker. If Gesicki can improve on his blocking and develop chemistry with either Josh Rosen or Ryan Fitzpatrick, he can very well step into the role of Miami’s go-to guy. No other player on this list has that opportunity.

Jake Butt, Denver Broncos

Projected Stats: 60 catches, 750 yards, 5 touchdowns
Prior to his season-ending injury in Week Three, Butt had 8 receptions for 85 yards, proving himself to be valuable not only to the Denver offense but also to fantasy owners who were undoubtedly monitoring his early success. Right off the bat, Butt proved to be a favorite target of Case Keenum, but Joe Flacco is in town now, so Butt will have to create the same sort of relationship with him. Fortunately, Flacco has demonstrated a propensity to target tight ends throughout his career. Whether it be Todd Heap or Dennis Pitta, Flacco made sure to get his tight ends the ball in Baltimore. Ironically considering his injury, Butt, unlike most others on this list, won’t have to spend the entire preseason proving that he belongs on the field and can survive as a blocker. Butt already did so last year, earning the trust of his coaching staff right off the bat. If he can carry that play into this year, he could become a low-end TE1.

Chris Herndon, New York Jets

Projected Stats: 65 catches, 800 yards, 6 touchdowns
Herndon’s 39 catches for 502 yards and 4 touchdowns are very respectable numbers for a rookie tight end, but they actually undersell his breakout potential for the 2019 season. Herndon and quarterback Sam Darnold developed a strong on-field connection as the season progressed. In the final eight games, Herndon was targeted 38 times and hauled in 27 catches. By season’s end, he was looking like a legitimate matchup nightmare and Darnold’s favorite target. If that momentum carries over into 2019, Herndon could become a TE1. Behind Kelce, Kittle, and Ertz, the position is very thin and is looking for a new star; maybe it’s Herndon.

  
Brevin Fleischer, originally from Albany, New York, is a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania. He’s a devoted Giants, Yankees, and Rangers fan, but in the NBA, he passionately supports the Sacramento Kings. Beyond sports, Brevin enjoys watching and discussing good movies and television.

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