Tight End Too Early 2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers

Irv Smith Tight End Sleeper

The best part of every fantasy football season is digging up the sleepers. Now that I’ve finished my team-by-team review of each team’s 2020, and somewhat less importantly, the Super Bowl happened and is now in the rear-view mirror. It’s time to do the best part of every fantasy football season: finding sleepers. Obviously, free agency hasn’t happened, neither has the draft, or training camp. That’s why these are way too early sleepers, after all. The criteria for a sleeper is simple: drafted in the tenth round or later in twelve-team leagues, by fantasyfootballcalculator.com ADP. It’s time to round out our look around the positions with tight end. This position has a ton of players who are mostly useless, and that means we can find lots of sleeper tight end value!

Sleeper Tight End #1:
Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (TE15, Round 10, Pick 10)

I fully understand the distrust surrounding Logan Thomas and his 2020 campaign. If the Football Team adds a better wide receiver, it’s all over. But, through everything, Logan Thomas and Darren Waller were the only tight ends to have four or more targets in every single game of the season (no tight end had 5+ every game). Thomas was an early sleeper candidate because of that constant target push, and picked it up down the stretch, getting 44 targets in the last four games of the fantasy football season. In those four games, he averaged 8.8 catches for 76.3 yards, scoring one touchdown in four games.

The hardest thing for a tight end is getting a consistent target floor. Even Travis Kelce had a game with just three targets this season (before you think him taking week 17 off disqualified him from the statistic). For some reason, however, we are moving away from Logan Thomas and his consistent target load. 4/40 and a chance at a touchdown is what you bank on for the Tight End Blob. Logan Thomas has a chance to get that every week, but we are actively trying to catch the Zach Ertz falling knife (TE11, 9.07 overall), instead.

Sleeper Tight End #2:
Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles (TE17, Round 12, Pick 8)

I don’t know. I don’t! He is going behind Tyler Higbee (barf) and soon-to-be 34-year-old Jared Cook. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Sure, there’s a new head coach there, but the Colts, where Nick Sirianni came from, targeted the tight end 22.4%, 29%, and 26.4% in the last three years. All of those ranked top-ten, with 2019 and 2018 ranking inside the top-five. Add in Zach Ertz likely moving on, and you have a recipe for the same thing we are chasing with our Logan Thomas tight end sleeper move: consistent and prolific targets! Sirianni used three different starting quarterbacks across the last three seasons, and Colts TEs averaged 9 targets per game. None of them were as good as Dallas Goedert.

Goedert is also in a position to make a huge splash because the Eagles’ passing game will be in flux. Jalen Reagor should take a step forward, but Greg Ward will be a free agent, DeSean Jackson can’t stay healthy (and saves $5 million if he’s cut), Alshon Jeffery has an $18.5 million cap hit. Jeffery likely restructures but he could be gone, leaving Reagor, Goedert, and Fulgham to catch targets (and have all their names misspelled all season long). And no, I did not forget J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.

Sleeper Tight End #3:
Irv Smith, Minnesota Vikings (TE21, Round 14, Pick 3)

Kyle Rudolph could (and should) be elsewhere in 2021, though I wouldn’t rule out a restructuring of his insane contract. He represents the fourth-highest cap hit for TEs ($9.39 million) as well as the highest actual cash spent this season ($8 million). But, the Vikings could save about $5 million if they cut him this year, which would mean ushering in the Irv Smith Era. The Vikings took (not-so) Big Irv in the second round in 2019, meaning they have plans to use him sooner or later.

The Vikings used Smith as a red zone weapon starting in week five. He played eight games from then until the end of the year, and he caught five touchdowns. He ended with 3.3 receptions for 40.1 yards on 4.3 targets per game in this span. Kick in (some of) Kyle Rudolph’s 3.1 targets per game, and you could have 2021’s target floor, Logan Thomas, on your hands here. The kink in armor is Tyler Conklin, who ended up getting 6 targets in back-to-back games in weeks sixteen and seventeen. I like Irv Smith a lot, and his athletic comparisons are guys like Eric Ebron and Mark Andrews. Tight end is usually a nightmare, so to be honest with you, I am chasing the position’s most valuable resource: targets.

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About Jeff Krisko

You can follow me on twitter, @jeffkrisko for the same lukewarm takes you read here.

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