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Mon Jul 15th 2019

Positional Philosophy: Tight Ends

The Tight End Position

During this dead period before training camps begin and we get real news about players, I thought I'd write a few short articles that detail some of my strategies and philosophies at each of the offensive positions.  My hope is that these articles will help you make decisions in the coming year that will balance out your rosters and put you in a better position to become a dynasty in your leagues.

Last week I covered the quarterback position. Here is my philosophy when it comes to the tight end position.  There are exceptions to every rule, but these are the things I aim for in all of my leagues.  After listing them, I will share what my TE rooms look like on all of my teams.

I Like To Have 3 TEs On My Roster

  • On 30-man rosters, I like to hold 3 TEs - 10% of my roster.  There are some exceptions, as you will see below.  There are leagues where I currently roster 4 TEs, but I have been trying hard to trade a tight end (looking at you Kyle Rudolph and Trey Burton!) in each of those leagues.  In my 27-man roster league, I just rostered two tight ends all season before drafting Dawson Knox in our rookie draft.  In the 20-man FFPC league, I only roster 2 TEs even though it is a tight end premium league.

I Like To Have An Every Week Starter

  • I like to have a guy that is a perennial top 10 TE that I confidently start in all of my leagues.  You can see how I have done so in most of my leagues with the exception of the two where Jared Cook is my starter, though he was the #6 TE last year and could be even better now that he's in New Orleans.  If I ever end up with 2 top 10 scoring Tight Ends on my roster, I will aim to trade one of them.

I Like To Have A Veteran Back Up

  • I like to have a reliable back up for bye weeks and in case of injury.  This is usually a guy who does not have much upside but is at least the #1 TE on his team. 

I Like To Have A Developmental Guy

  • Tight Ends take a few years to reach their potential so I like to hold at least one young guy to see how he develops.  I'll give him about three years to break out before moving on from him. 

I Rarely Draft a Tight End Early

  • In rookie drafts, I rarely will draft a tight end in round one or two.  I feel like there are too many RBs and WRs in those rounds to take a chance on TEs, which take longer to develop.  I am more willing to take a TE in rounds 3-5 though.  I find that the later round TEs particularly if they land on teams where it looks like they'll have an opportunity to play quickly based on their team's depth chart.  That's why I have guys like Ian Thomas, Irv Smith, and Dawson Knox on my rosters.  I drafted them late based on their opportunities.

I Grab Tight Ends Off The Waiver Wire

  • I often look to the waiver wire for young TEs, especially at the end of the year.  Because TEs take so long to develop, owners are often impatient with them.  Many get cut throughout the season if not during the roster cutdown period just before the season.  I add all of those dropped TEs to my watch list/scout team and pick them up during the season or at the end of the season.  I did this with Trey Burton at the end of his last year in Philadelphia and with Ian Thomas at the end of last season.

Here are my current rosters at TE

  • Keeper League (10-team, 30-man roster): Zach Ertz, Jack Doyle, Ian Thomas
  • Diehard League (12-team, 27-man roster): Jared Cook, Jack Doyle, Dawson Knox
  • Freek League (10-team, 30-man roster): George Kittle, Kyle Rudolph, Ian Thomas, Chris Herndon
  • Good Times League (10-team, 30-man roster): Jared Cook, Trey Burton, Ian Thomas, Irv Smith Jr.
  • Reality Sports Online League (12-team, 24-man roster): OJ Howard (and we'll pick up one more TE in our free agency auction in two weeks)
  • FFPC League (12-team, 20-man roster): Travis Kelce, Dallas Goedert

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