Every offseason, the fantasy football community spends countless hours poring over game tape, metrics, measurables, and a whole host of other things to formulate a plan of attack for the fantasy football draft season. But, as Mike Tyson so eloquently put it, “everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Every preseason is a series of punches to the mouth that makes us stagger back and rethink our plans. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the risers and fallers this August for fantasy football.
Tight End Risers:
T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions
D’Andre Swift is banged up and might not be a full go for week one. Breshad Perriman is no longer a Detroit Lion. That leaves the depth chart bereft of anyone behind T.J. Hockenson and Jamaal Williams for the first couple weeks of the season as Swift gets his conditioning back. Don’t get it twisted, don’t mess around with anyone else: T.J. Hockenson is the WR1 in Detroit, despite his TE designation. He has 135 target upside this season.
Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
I’m still not sure what Tyler Higbee did this offseason to merit all this buzz, but his ADP slowly crept upward in August, where he ended 6.6 spots higher than he started. Weirdly enough, that’s enough to put him in the top three in ADP risers (per Sleeper.app ADP change data). I just… I don’t understand. Higbee had one four-game stretch, and the Rams added two second-round pass-catchers since then. Higbee also averaged about 3 catches for 30 yards both before and after that massive four-game span at the end of 2019. This one is a real headscratcher, and every slot he ticks upward is just another, better player falling to me at my pick. I am out on Higbee.
Kyle Pitts, Atlanta Falcons
Kyle Pitts had one catch and run where he was mostly wide open, which reminded us that the big and fast guy is big and fast, and that was it. We live in a universe where Vance McDonald spent half a decade being bad at football, stiff-armed a guy and ended up a top-eight tight end, so stranger things have happened. I’ve seen people say “he’s a wide receiver, not a tight end!” and take him TE3.
Still, please don’t take him as TE3.
Tight End Fallers:
Dallas Goedert, Philadelphia Eagles
We spent all offseason ranking Dallas Goedert like Zach Ertz would be elsewhere. Well, he isn’t elsewhere. He’s still in Philadelphia, which destroys Goedert’s upside. The Eagles turning to Jalen Hurts over Carson Wentz and adding Jalen Reagor & DEVonta Smith in the last two years. He ended the preseason with one catch for 35 yards. Big ol’ yikes for a guy supposedly going as a “safe” pick at the top of the Tight End Blob. No thanks, just keep digging deeper into that blob and don’t waste a single-digit round pick on Goedert.
Evan Engram, New York Giants
I really hoped for a bounce-back season from Evan Engram. Unfortunately, the Dimez Godz did not smile on Engram. In the third preseason game, he finished with three catches on three targets for 22 yards. Then, he injured his calf and left the final preseason game early. The hopes I had of Daniel Jones taking a step forward and Evan Engram remembering how to catch the ball (10 drops in 2020) are quickly spiraling down the drain.
Adam Trautman, New Orleans Saints
I very much pulled a “What? Me Worry?” routine with Adam Trautman to start the preseason. He played on nine snaps in week one, and blocked on three of them. This is normal for tight ends, but because people don’t know that, they freaked out. Then, Juwan Johnson kicked the door down with 71 yards on two catches, and then Adam Trautman injured his ankle and currently has no timetable. He’s a speculative second tight end.