Updated: Aug 24, 2020
By Ron Brown
Tight Ends (TE) in the dynasty format elicits a variety of approaches to roster construction. Some folks like to go for the premium asset, as they are hard to come by. Some stream their TE’s and others go for a high volume approach hoping one will hit. No matter what approach one takes, you want go get value. You want to outwit your league mates. You want to win. You want to construct your roster in a way where you can, not only win this year, but compete for the league championship year after year. This means constantly churning the bottom of your roster looking for players that can be an asset. Please stop holding on to those roster clogging players that are never going to hit. Below is a compilation low investment TE targets, which with a break, can pay dynasty dividends.
Image USA Today
Jonnu Smith – He has been buried on the Titans depth chart for years. Delanie Walker’s career was criminally underrated, but finally it has given up the ghost. This is Jonnu’s time to shine. The run-first offense caps his ceiling, but you can do way worse than Smith as a TE2 in standard PPR leagues and he becomes an even greater value in TE premium formats. Jonnu has the upside required for a TE1. He always had the physical profile; see his 93rd percentile Sparq score. He was also 3rd in the league with 14 avoided tackles after reception per PFF. That only trails Kelce and Kittle while doing so on far less receptions. His ADP is currently #19 and can be had relatively cheaply.
Gerald Everett – Everyone is hopping on the Tyler Higbee train. He ended his season with 6 great games and an impressive five 100-yard games in that span. However, he did not have a 100-yard game in his prior 57 games. He received this opportunity because of a Gerald Everett injury. Everett was starting ahead of Higbee to start the year before Everett succumbed to injury. I really like Everett as a buy here. Not only because the Higbee value as gone through the roof and the fact Everett started ahead of him, but he is a free agent after this year. Higbee is signed through 2023(though there is an out after 2021) and is locked in as a TE option. Moreover the Rams essentially drafted Everett’s replacement this year in the draft with Brycen Hopkins. Additionally, the Rams are in a tough cap situation with the looming Jalen Ramsey deal. I am looking for the Rams to play a lot of 12 personal (one running back, two tight ends) this year, which will give additional snaps to the TE’s. Everett was limited to 12 games and was 4th in the league with 13 avoided tackles after reception per PFF. He has juice. Even if Everett’s numbers are average this year, the fact he is set to hit the free agent market in 2021 and will be a priority for teams looking to upgrade is reason enough. With a current TE ADP of 29, I would be looking to buy as much Everett stock as possible.
Jace Sternberger – Jace Sternberger comes in with 2nd round draft capital from the 2019 draft. You know who is challenging him for the starting TE job this year? The trio of 36-year-old Marcedes Lewis, journeyman Robert Tonyan, and 3rd round rookie Josiah Deguara are the only other TE’s on the roster. Do you know whom the Packers added in FA/draft this year? The aforementioned Deguara and Devin Funchess. That’s it. He has a clear pathway to targets and a starting job. I would look to acquire him soon before he gets training camp buzz. How is this guy the 32nd tight end in dynasty start-ups?
Photo credit Sam Greene
Jeremy Sprinkle – Sprinkle’s value is solely predicated on the lack of depth behind him. He is an average athlete with limited upside from that standpoint. He has only a 10th percentile Sparq rating. However, there is no one and I mean no one behind him. The names are UDFA Hale Hentges , converted QB Logan Thomas and journeyman Richard Rodgers. As of now i would consider him a buy, however any free agent signing between now and the season could cripple his value. At best he is a 2020 rental, but he is nearly free. Monitor this situation, but Sprinkle could end up being fantasy relevant in 2020.
Trey Burton – After having a solid 1st season in Chicago, Burton had a rough season in 2019. Injuries, contract, and ineffectiveness ended up costing him his job with the Bears. Enter the Colts. Assuming health, he will compete for the 2 TE job. I see two things at play here. Jack Doyle is a catch-and-fall-down type of player. He only averages 9 yards a reception for his career. He had only forced one missed tackle last year and was 44th in yards per route run for TE. Doyle is average. Coach Reich had coached Burton previously in Philadelphia. Burton is a superior athlete with a great familiarity of the system Reich ran in Philadelphia. Burton isn’t a league winner, but he is a depth player to monitor, as the season gets closer.
Drew Sample/ CJ Uzomah – This situation is very simple. Uzomah is the TE1 in Cincinnati currently. His ADP is probably were it should be at #23 TE. He can surely be had cheaply. Drew Sample was a 2nd round pick in 2019. Through no fault of his own, he has been pegged as a blocking TE. He has the ability to be much more. He has a very good physical profile for a TE. Don’t believe me look here. Sample can currently be had for a box of balls. I see him as challenging for the #1 TE in Cincinnati this year. The growing pains of the Bengals offense may cap him in the short term, but he has the potential to be fantasy relevant in year two.
Josh Oliver – Oliver was another player whose 2019 were derailed by injury. Folks forget that he was a 3rd round pick last year with a 71 percentile Sparq score. He was raw coming out of college and needed seasoning. Oliver is currently behind the oft-injured Tyler Eifert who signed a two-year deal with the Jaguars. (The last year is carries only a small dead cap hit if he was to be cut in 2021.) Several national draft pundits where high on Oliver last year, as well. Jay Gruden is running the offense in Jacksonville this year. Say what you want about Gruden has a head coach, but he was a good OC with the Bengals. He utilizes the TE a great deal in his offense. Oliver is a nice speculative pick up for this year and beyond. If you are making a trade, try to get Oliver as a throw in.
Chris Herndon – Suspension and injury was the story with the much-hyped second year player last year. Herndon was a huge disappointment last year. There is no denying that. The thing is, he is young and talented. He didn’t suddenly forget how to play football. He will have to regain the trust of his teammates and coaches. If he does that I feel he has a good shot to resuscitate his once promising career. Depending on ones appetite for risk and his low current price tag, he just may be worth it the investment.
Cameron Brate – Because Gronk is never hurt right? The Bucs also tried to trade Howard all off-season. Keep Brate on the “ on-call list.” The Bucs also played the 6th highest rate of 12 personal in the league last year.
Brycen Hopkins – He is currently being valued as a 5th round rookie pick right now (if your rookie draft even goes that long). He looks to be the heir to the Rams #2TE position next year as Gerald Everett’s contract expires in 2021. He has the speed and pedigree (son of former NFL player Brad Hopkins and 4th a round pick) to make an impact. He will need to clean up his game, but he has potential. If can you grab him as a taxi squad guy or end of roster player I would look to gobble him up.
Dalton Keene/Devon Asiasi – The cupboard is bare in the New England TE room. Coach Belichick drafted both of these gentlemen in the 3rd round. That is enough draft capital to make me take notice. The Pats even traded a future 4th to secure Asiasi. We need to pay attention to this situation. One is bound to bubble to the top of the depth chart in short order.
Kahale Warring –Warring’s situation is very similar to Josh Oliver’s. Both are 3rd round rookie picks in 2019 that were lost to injury. Both are athletic, have the draft pedigree and were raw coming out. Where they diverge is this, the Texans have a very crowded TE room. The TE’s are a factor in the offense as evidenced by Darren Fells and Jordan Akins production in 2019. Is there a place for Warring? Monitor his situation as he might break though with an injury or regression to the TE’s in front of him.