Scout Fantasy Football: 5 Sleepers at Tight End

The Tight End position can make or break your fantasy team. The separation between the top TEs (Kelce, Ertz, and Kittle) and most other TEs is pretty wide, but there are some possible sleeper TEs that can help your team make a championship run. If you are unable to land a top TE, here are some late-round options that could be steals.

1.       Mark Andrews Baltimore Ravens (Rounds 15-16)

Andrews was the leading receiver with 308 yards for the Ravens after Lamar Jackson took over at QB. SportsLine projects Andrews to finish 2019-2020 with 43 receptions for 652 yards and 4 TDs, and they have him as the #11 Fantasy Football Tight End, but most mock drafts have Andrews going in the last few rounds or even undrafted. If you are uncomfortable taking a Tight End early in the draft, Andrews is a player that could offer late-round value. I would like to have one of Kelce, Ertz, Kittle, or even O.J. Howard, but if those players are all gone, Andrews is a player worth rostering. I value Andrews as a low-end starter/ high-end backup.

2.       Vance McDonald Pittsburgh Steelers (Rounds 12-15)

McDonald was the 12th ranked Fantasy Football Tight End a year ago, finishing with 50 receptions for 610 yards and 4 TDs. The departure of Jesse James (30 receptions for 423 yards) should open up even more targets for McDonald in 2019-2020. SportsLine projects McDonald to finish as the 15th ranked Fantasy Football Tight End with 55 receptions for 648 yards and 3 TDs. I think McDonald is capable of 700+ yards and 5+ TDs this season, and I have him as a borderline top-10 TE in fantasy. McDonald is going somewhere between rounds 12-15 in most mock drafts currently. I value McDonald as a mid-level starter and worthy of a selection in rounds 10-12.

3.       Chris Herndon New York Jets (Round 10-12)

Update: Herndon has been suspended for the first 4 games of the season. This will hurt his value, but he still should be considered as a draft-and-stash player. His replacement Trevon Wesco, who the Jets selected in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft, could be worth a late round pick in deeper leagues now. In 10 games last season at West Virginia, Wesco had 26 receptions for 366 yards and 1 TD. 

Herndon was selected in the 4th round of the 2018 NFL Draft just one year after his Miami Hurricanes teammate and fellow TE David Njoku went in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft. I would not be surprised to see Herndon have a better season this year than Njoku. As a rookie last season, Herndon had 39 receptions for 502 yards and 4 TDS. He built a nice connection with fellow rookie, QB Sam Darnold, and had 33 receptions for 447 yards and all 4 of his TDs in games 6-15. The Jets revamped their offensive talent this offseason with the additions of RB LeVeon Bell, WR Jamison Crowder, and OL Kelechi Osemele. These additions should help the offense run smoother and benefit Herndon. SportsLine projects Herndon to finish as the #10 Fantasy Football Tight End with 41 receptions for 541 yards and 6 TDs. I expect Herndon to eclipse those projections and finish with around 50 receptions this season. Most mock drafts have Herndon going in rounds 10-12, which is very good value. I think Herndon is a mid-level starter at TE in 2019-2020.

4.       Darren Waller Oakland Raiders (Undrafted)

Waller is a very deep sleeper at TE in 2019-2020. Since being drafted in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Waller has been suspended for 20 games for substance abuse violations and has just 18 career receptions for 178 yards and TDs. Despite the lack of production from Waller since joining the league, his size (6'6") and speed (4.46 40-yd. dash) have Jon Gruden and many others excited about his potential. SportsLine projects Waller to have 34 receptions for 376 yards and 2 TDs in 2019-2020. Jared Cook is gone along with his 68 receptions for 896 yards and 6 TDs from a season ago, and Waller now sits atop the Raiders' depth chart. Waller could be worthy of a last round draft-and-stash in deeper leagues just to see if his hype is real. I would value Waller as a low-end TE-2 in fantasy before he shows anything and put him on your watch list if/when he goes undrafted.

5.       Matt LaCosse New England Patriots (Undrafted)

LaCosse finds himself at the top of the depth chart on one of the most proficient offenses in the NFL. With Rob Gronkowski retiring and Benjamin Watson suspended for the first four games of the season, Tom Brady's top option at Tight End looks to be Matt LaCosse. Last season in Denver, LaCosse had 24 receptions for 250 yards and a TD. SportsLine projects LaCosse to finish 2019-2020 with 33 receptions for 377 yards and 2 TDs. It is still TBD if LaCosse will take advantage of this opportunity to become the Patriots' starting TE, but if he does, he is worthy of a late round draft pick. LaCosse has the potential to be a low-end starter at TE, but I would value him as a mid-level backup now. I would wait and see if LaCosse takes control of the starting job before playing him. He could be a solid waiver-wire add, and I would put him on your watch lists.

Top-15 Fantasy Football TE Rankings

1.       Travis Kelce

2.       Zach Ertz

3.       George Kittle

4.       OJ Howard

5.       Jared Cook

6.       Evan Engram

7.       Eric Ebron

8.       Hunter Henry

9.       Chris Herndon

10.   Vance McDonald

11.   David Njoku

12.   Mark Andrews

13.   Jordan Reed

14.   Noah Fant

15.   Delanie Walker