Fantasy Football

2019 Fantasy Football Tight End Sleepers: Party Crashers


Even with the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, the tight end position is as deep as ever.

There’s a lot of players outside of the top 12 tight ends who could potentially contribute to a winning fantasy team. So it’s as good of a year as ever to punt the tight end position and draft one or two high-upside guys and try to stack the rest of your team.

Time to wake up the 2019 Fantasy Football Tight End Sleepers. There’s a party to crash.

As I outlined in my 2019 Fantasy Football Tight End Preview, each year there’s a random late-round option who emerges as a top-6 option. In this article, I provide three potential sleepers who fit the profile. They all have some combination of past production, athleticism, and opportunity that makes them high-value targets at the tail end of your drafts.

2019 Fantasy Football Tight End Sleepers

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Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins

Availability is the best ability.

But averaging over 50 receiving yards per game over your career as a tight end is pretty impressive too. Of active tight ends (RIP Gronk), Reed is 5th in yards per game and averages .37 touchdowns per game. Excluding the washed Jimmy Graham, Reed is an impressive fourth in YPG.

In 2018, Reed played in 13 games and caught 54 balls for 558 yards and two touchdowns. This was only good for a TE17 finish but considering the dire straits the Redskins offense was facing last year, that’s an underrated performance.

The Redskins finished 31st in offense and were (surprise) limited by Alex Smith‘s refusal to throw downfield. The return of Derrius Guice and addition of either Dwayne Haskins or Case Keenum should be an improvement.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is that Reed will be the most talented pass-catcher on the offense. Josh Doctson has proven to be a bust, Paul Richardson is a career complementary player, and Jamison Crowder has moved on. There’s hope for Trey Quinn, but Reed should be the focal point of this passing attack.

Potentially getting a player with the productivity above at TE19 (per Fantasypros ADP) would be an absolute STEAL. Unfortunately, Reed just can’t stay healthy. Over his six seasons, he’s averaged less than 11 games per season and never more than 14. However, he’s coming off a 13 game season and as shallow as the tight end position is, he’s worth it at TE19.

Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

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Coming out of college, Andrews was the 2017 John Mackey Award – given to college’s top tight end. Still, he wasn’t even the first tight end drafted by the Ravens, that was Hayden Hurst. However, Hurst has shown next to nothing through a year-plus and Andrews has been the clearly more impressive player.

Andrews finished as the TE16 even though he caught only 34 passes. Over the last eight games Lamar Jackson started (including their playoff game), Andrews averaged two catches for 43 yards per game and scored a single touchdown. These aren’t gaudy numbers at all, but it was hard for any player to show statistical prowess with Jackson throwing less than 24 times per game. On the bright side, Andrews received a lion’s share of the snaps since he is a plus run-blocker.

In 2019, the Ravens should still be run-heavy, but they’ve touted Jackson’s ability as a passer. With a full offseason, they should expand their offensive concepts to better fit his strengths which will directly benefit Andrews. He was second behind O.J. Howard among tight ends in 2018 with 16.2 yards per catch showing his big play ability. This complements what should be a heavy play-action offense for the Ravens. New offensive coordinator Greg Roman leaned heavily on play-action concepts and explosive tight end play during his time with the Niners with Colin Kaepernick and Vernon Davis.

Andrews should also see an expanded role as a pass catcher since the Ravens let starting receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown leave in free agency and did not bring in a replacement other than first-round pick Marquise Brown who is dealing with a foot injury. At worst, Andrews will be the 1c option to Brown and Willie Snead (who is not a dynamic playmaker).

Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins

Another second-year tight end, Gesecki was the second tight end drafted in 2018. Gesecki, a former basketball and volleyball player is a top-tier athlete, drawing comparisons to Vernon Davis and Jimmy Graham.

Gesecki was a non-factor as a rookie, only recording 22 catches for 202 yards. Part of that was a limited Dolphins attack which ranked 26th overall and 30th in pass attempts. For 2019, the Dolphins brought in Brian Flores (head coach) and Chad O’Shea (offensive coordinator) from the Patriots who famously developed and used Rob Gronkowski to great success. The Dolphins will likely start Ryan Fitzpatrick for at least the first few games of the season which could get him Gesecki off to a hot start.

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The biggest factor that could lead to Gesecki’s success in 2018 outside of his athleticism is the opportunity at his feet. The Dolphins don’t employ any other pass catchers who are proven, reliable, or uber-talented. Gesecki could easily become the most explosive option in an offense that needs a jolt of adrenaline.

Get prepared for the 2019 Fantasy Football season by checking out the rest of our Fantasy Football content.

About Kevin Huo

Kevin is a fantasy football writer for Fantasy Six Pack. He considers every angle - whether statistical or theoretical - when weighing his options and isn't afraid to be a contrarian. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMHuo

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