Tight ends, we should be higher or lower in this draft season

ECR stands for “Expert Consensus Ranking” which stands for the fantasy football industry average ranks and is generally similar to ADP (which differs from site to site). This will be an ongoing position series highlighting some major differences between ECR and my own ranks. We continue the series with a look at tight ends.

Players to go higher/later: Quarterback

I like Tight Ends better than consensus

Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys (ECR = TE6 vs. DDD = TE4)

Schultz can’t match the athleticism of other elite tight ends in the league, but his advantageous situation makes him one of the most valuable players in fantasy at his position. Schultz finished as the No. 3 fantasy tight end last season and you will now see a large increase in targets with Amari Cooper and Cedric Wilson gone, Michael Gallup unlikely to be ready to start the season after knee surgery and s James Washington and Blake Jarwin both are seriously injured. Schultz has run routes at a higher percentage than Mark Andrews after Jarwin was benched in Week 9 last year.

The Cowboys led the NFL in scoring last season, and Schultz suddenly looks that way Dak Prescottsecond reading of most plays. With an extremely favorable schedule, Schultz is poised for a huge fantasy season. I rank him ahead of him Darren Waller and George Kittlewhich both tour earlier.

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Albert Okwegbunam, Denver Broncos (ECR = TE16 vs DDD = TE11)

Albert O is a 24-year-old with truly elite training and underlying statistics metrics he will now catch passes from Russell Wilson (QB reportedly loves his new tight end). Okwuegbunam quietly won fourth-highest target for route percentage among TEs the past two seasons when he was also one of only six to average over 2.0 yards per route. with Noah Fant traded to Seattle and Wilson replacing a terrible QB situation, Albert O is about to see a lot more targets at a much higher quality.

There was a buzz around the rookie Greg Dulcichbut he is not close to the athlete and realize UCLA helped put up some big numbers of the otherwise mediocre tight end prospects. Also, the season-ending loss of Tim Patrick opens up even more opportunities for Okwuegbunam, who will break down while being a big part of Denver’s offense this season.

Is this Albert Okwuegbunam’s breakout season for fantasy managers? (Photo by Cooper Neal/Getty Images)

Austin Hooper, Tennessee Titans (ECR = TE24 vs. DDD = TE15)

Hooper is two seasons removed from recording 75 catches for 787 yards and six touchdowns in just 13 games with the Falcons. His past two losing years can easily be excused while playing in Cleveland, and now he joins a Tennessee offense that the most sacked targets and yards in the entire NFL. Meanwhile, since Ryan Tannehill started in 2019, 24% of his targets have gone for tight ends, including 25 of his 76 TD passes.

with Derrick Henry entering an uncertain phase of his career and the Titans projected to be around .500, it all sets the stage for a really nice season from Hooper.

I like the Tight Ends less than the consensus

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (ECR = TE13 vs. DDD = TE19)

Gesicki is competing with two wide receivers in the rookie Tyreek Hill and Jalen Waddle who project to be among the league leaders in field goal percentage. If that’s not troubling enough in an offense where questions remain at point guard (Tua Tagovailoa’s durability, if nothing else), Gesicki’s is changing his role under Miami’s new coaching staff may be even more troubling. Mike McDaniel didn’t like using tight ends in San Francisco the way Gesicki was recruited last year, and his role as a blocker is about to increase. Whatever the reason, Gesicki’s targets are about to drop significantly, but it’s curious that he’s still a top-15 fantasy tight end.

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Hunter Henry, New England Patriots (ECR = TE14 vs. DDD = TE18)

Henry left Justin Herbert, saw 18 fewer targets despite playing three more games, but he still somehow finished as a top-10 fantasy tight end thanks to nine touchdowns last season. Put another way, Henry somehow captured 41% of the Mack Jonestouchdown passes despite a 14.5% target share. Added New England Devante Parker during the off-season and John Smith reportedly looking much better in Year 2 in New England. It’s all a recipe for a disappointing season from Henry, who was drafted as a top-15 fantasy tight end.

Noah Fant, Seattle Seahawks (ECR = TE17 vs. DDD = TE25)

with Gino Smith the clear favorite to take over for Russell Wilson in Seattle, Fant will have a hard time putting up big stats while competing for targets with DK Metcalfe and Tyler Lockett. He also now plays for an an extremely sluggish Seahawks offense that played essentially two fewer games worth of plays last season than the NFL average. Draft Mo Alli-Cox even later instead.

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