3 Undervalued Fantasy Football Tight Ends Based On 2021 ADP
Tight end has been a wasteland in fantasy football for a while, but 2020 took the position to new heights of scarcity. Only two tight ends who played more than eight games averaged more than 12.2 points per game in PPR scoring last season. TWO. For reference, 36 wide receivers completed that achievement last year. If you can even call that an achievement.
That’s why, heading into 2021, it’s so difficult to project who will offer good value at their ADP. You’ve got the big three – Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, and George Kittle – but after that, things start to get murky. T.J. Hockenson and Mark Andrews have also proven to be reliable options at tight end for the past couple years, and Kyle Pitts offers intriguing upside with the promise of a decent target share in the Atlanta Falcons offense.
So who will return value at this scarce position? Here are three guys, based on their ESPN ADP as of August 25th (PPR scoring).
3. Austin Hooper – Cleveland Browns (ADP 162, TE18)
Hooper had a disappointing 2020 campaign, to put it mildly. Coming off a 2019 season in which he made the Pro Bowl with the Falcons, Hooper was primed to be a top-5 player in a Browns offense that had both opportunity and what looked to be a lack of competition for targets (especially following Odell Beckham Jr.’s torn ACL). 2020 saw Hooper score less than 10 points in more than half of the 13 games he played in, and he ended up finishing the season as TE21.
He did show promise to end the year, however. After missing a 47-42 shootout against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14, Hooper reeled off 3 consecutive weeks with at least 13.7 fantasy points – either scoring a touchdown or eclipsing 70 receiving yards in each of those games. Clearly, Baker Mayfield and the Browns offense hit their stride as the season neared its end, and Hooper did so as well.
That looked a lot more like the Austin Hooper of 2019, who averaged 14.7 points per game, which ranked as third among tight ends on a per-game basis. Though Beckham will be back and healthy in 2021 and rejoins Jarvis Landry and a talented Browns receiving core, we have seen Hooper thrive in crowded receiving rooms in the past. He had his best season amidst Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Mohamed Sanu.
Hooper can be scooped up off the waiver wire or picked at the end of drafts in 2021, and spending that low of value on a guy who has the potential for top-5 upside at the position could definitely be worth it.
2. Mike Gesicki – Miami Dolphins (ADP 102, TE11)
Gesicki definitely has both the talent and opportunity to be a top tight end in the league. He lines up set off the line on the vast majority of his snaps, and he plays the vast majority of snaps overall, is 6’6″, 247 pounds, and runs a 4.54 40 yard dash. Evidently, he’s a wide receiver playing under the label of a tight end. That alone makes him worth a roster spot in any fantasy league.
He’s been frustratingly inconsistent, however, the last two seasons. In 2020, Gesicki topped 23 fantasy points three times, but also finished with less than 10 points on 9 occasions. That, even despite two missed games, was still enough for him to finish as TE7 on the year, though, and it’s hard to see him finishing any worse than that in 2021.
Mike is too talented to not explode for a big game on occasion, and if he can put any semblance of consistency together in 2021, he could vault into top-5 territory. If Gesicki maintains last year’s performance, he still arguably offers value at his ADP, as the scarcity at the tight end position makes him an exciting talent – a weak performance from Gesicki is the norm across the league for tight ends, but a big game from Gesicki is an extremely great value relative to the norm for TEs and brings week-winning potential. Grab him ahead of guys like Robert Tonyan and Noah Fant.
1. Gerald Everett – Seattle Seahawks (ADP 262, TE32)
Everett had a disappointing tenure during his time with the Los Angeles Rams, but a lot of that was due to his timeshare with fellow tight end Tyler Higbee. Unlike the other two guys on this list, we have no evidence of past performance to suggest that Everett is going to have a bounceback season, or anything of the like. His only time of fantasy relevance was a 5-week stretch during 2018, in which scored at least 14.8 fantasy points in three of those weeks.
He’s a great athlete, however, with 4.62 speed, and reports out of camp have been very optimistic so far. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said of Everett: “Oh, I think you’re going to be really excited to see Gerald Everett,” Carroll said. ” … This is I think the fanciest, sweetest-looking receiver/tight end mix that we’ve had. He’s like a wide receiver, he’s got terrific after-the-catch run ability…”
The Seahawks haven’t had a good athlete at tight end since Jimmy Graham, who was able to be fantasy relevant for some time there. Everett is a much better athlete than Graham was at that point in his career, and the Seahawks have yet to find a reliable No. 3 target behind D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. If Everett emerges, he could vault into borderline TE1 territory. He’s worth a speculative add.