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Mon Jul 19th 2021

Positional Philosophy: Tight Ends

During the dead weeks in July before NFL training camps start on July 27th, I thought I would write about my dynasty philosophy for each position. Last week I wrote about my philosophy at running back. This week I share my positional philosophy with tight ends.

Roster A Top-Tier Tight End

  • I do my very best to roster a top-tier tight end. There's incredible comfort in knowing you have an every-week starter, and having a top-tier tight end allows you to roster fewer tight ends and allow young tight ends to develop on your bench. I drafted Travis Kelce in the first round of one recent start-up. I traded two first-round picks for him in a tight end premium league (1.75 PPR). I outbid managers in a free agent auction to buy Darren Waller, though after winning the championship last year, I traded him for Najee Harris and his contract in this salary cap league. I luckily picked up George Kittle off the waiver wire several years ago as he began to break out. For years I had Zach Ertz on my teams before trading him away in all but one league last year. I drafted and traded for Dallas Goedert over the previous few years because I believe he will enter the top-tier this year. It's impossible to have a top-five tight end on all of my teams, but I do what I can to do so. I always like my teams better when I do.

The Older, The Better

  • Tight ends produce for fantasy way into their mid-thirties, so I am not an ageist when it comes to the tight end position. I'm happy to draft and trade for older tight ends. As mentioned above, I traded two first-round picks for Travis Kelce when he was 30 years old. In the same tight end premium league (1.75 PPR), I traded Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson for Logan Thomas when he was 30 years old.

Develop Young Tight Ends

  • I like to have younger tight ends on my rosters and give them time to develop. Tight ends usually need three to four years of experience before they break out. I am more patient with tight ends than I am with any other position. I'll drop quarterbacks and running backs that I pick in rookie drafts after one to two years, and I'll drop wide receivers after two or three years. I'll wait up to four years for tight ends, especially if they have a good starter ahead of them on their teams. I have rostered Dallas Goedert for years, and he just now ready to surpass Zach Ertz. I have Mo-Alie Cox on several teams and believe this will be the year he surpasses Jack Doyle. I drafted Hunter Long and Brevin Jordan in several rookie drafts this year and know I will need to be patient with them. I'm able to be patient because, in most cases, I have a top-tier tight end ahead of them.

Targets Over Touchdowns

  • I chase targets more than touchdowns when it comes to the tight end position, especially in PPR leagues and tight end premium leagues. It was no surprise that Travis Kelce, Darren Waller, and George Kittle lead the league in targets per game last year. Targets are far more important than touchdowns when acquiring a tight end off the waiver wire or through trades. If a tight end like Robert Tonyan is scoring fantasy points solely based on touchdowns, I will look to trade him and capitalize on his perceived value. On the other hand, if a tight end is racking up receptions but not touchdowns, I would look to trade for him, hoping another manager is frustrated by his lack of touchdowns. Touchdowns are less predictable, but touchdowns will come with increased targets. Plus, highly targeted tight ends in PPR leagues provide a steady floor compared to tight ends that need a touchdown to help fantasy teams.

Schemes Matter

  • Offensive schemes and coaches make a big difference for tight ends. I had Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert on so many teams because coach Pederson's scheme targeted the tight ends so much. When Frank Riech left Philadelphia to coach Indianapolis, he did the same with the Colts, which is why I have so Jack Doyle and Mo Alie-Cox on so many of my teams. The Saints and Sean Payton historically target the tight end, which I had Jimmy Graham on so many of my teams before he left New Orleans and why I had Jared Cook last year and look forward to seeing my shares of Adam Trautman perform this season. 

Tight End Premium

  • I'm in three tight end premium leagues. One is 1.75 PPR, one is 1.5 PPR, and one is PPR (and half PPR for all non-tight ends). Obviously, in such leagues, the tight end position is even more important. I like to have two tight ends to start in my lineup each week in those leagues. I'm able to do so in two of the three leagues, with Kelce and Goedert as every-week starters in one and Kelce and Thomas as every-week starters in the other. Sadly, I don't have a tight end that is safe to start in the third league. Jared Cook and Mo Alie-Cox are my best two tight ends in that league. Thankfully it the one that is just one PPR compared to half PPR for running backs and receivers, and it's an all-flex league, so I do not have to start a tight end. Looking at my three tight end premium leagues, I can say that I wish I could start two tight ends in all of them.

Thin Roster

  • Tight end is always my thinnest roster position. I usually hold no more than four tight ends total on my roster. I have as many as five on my roster in leagues without kickers or defenses. In an ideal situation, I roster one top-tier tight end and one or two older vets behind him and one or two young, unproven guys behind them. I always like to have one tight end that is in the first, second, or third year of his career. If I find a player on the waiver wire during the season that I like, I am always willing to dip down to two or three tight ends on my roster so long as I have one stud and one young guy.

Tight Ends On My Rosters

  • Dynasty Diagnostic Champions League (12-team, tight end premium): Travis Kelce, Logan Thomas, Jimmy Graham, Christopher Herndon, Jack Doyle
  • All-Flex League (14-team, tight end premium): Jared Cook, Mo Alie-Cox, Jack Doyle, Darren Fells
  • FFPC (12-team, tight end premium): Travis Kelce, Dallas Goedert, Adam Trautman, Brevin Jordan
  • Reality Sports Online (12-team, PPR): Blake Jarwin, Brevin Jordan
  • Diehards (12-team, Half PPR): Adam Trautman, Mo Alie-Cox, Dawson Knox, Hunter Long
  • Freeks (10-team, Half PPR): George Kittle, Dallas Goedert, Jonnu Smith, Blake Jarwin
  • Good Times (10-team, Half PPR): Dallas Goedert, Logan Thomas, Jonnu Smith, Gerald Everett, Hunter Long
  • Keeper (10-team, Half PPR): Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz, Mo-Alie Cox, Dawson Knox, Blake Jarwin

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