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Deep Draft Sleepers: Tight End


Fantasy football can be unpredictable. In a position like tight end, there are several elite options to draft before the value of the players starts to fall off. Therefore, though it is integral to draft a great TE, some managers may look to stock up at other positions.

While that may be an effective strategy, having a capable TE for your team is just as beneficial. Luckily, even if you don’t draft the best tight end, the waiver wire is likely stocked with some sleepers who you could stream during a week depending on the matchup.

Remember, each team may not have an elite TE1, but they do have a TE1. So, while the TE1 or TE2 of a team may be less valued than guys like Kittle, Ertz, and Kelce, they could still have decent weeks. Here’s a list of some deep sleeper TEs who could provide more value when digging past the surface.

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Ian Thomas, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers and Greg Olsen split this offseason, leaving 24-year-old Ian Thomas to take over the TE1 duties. While he has only two seasons of NFL experience under his belt (and they were modest campaigns), Thomas has a chance to cement a bigger role for himself in this Teddy Bridgewater offense.

In 2019, the TE played 16 games, but only managed 16 receptions, 30 targets, 136 yards, 8.5 yards per catch, and one touchdown. His rookie year in 2018 was much better, as he compiled 36 receptions, 49 targets, 333 yards, 9.3 yards per catch, and two touchdowns in 16 games. The Indiana product finished 28th among fantasy tight ends in 2018 and 55th in 2019. Thomas is dealing with a toe injury that he suffered on August 31st, but coach Matt Rhule is not too worried. Assuming he can play healthy during the season, the new top TE on Carolina provides deep sleeper value as he has essentially no competition for his role and can see a decent number of targets headed his way.

 

Gerald Everett, Los Angeles Rams

Even with Rams’ TE Tyler Higbee having a breakout season in 2019 and him getting all the fantasy headlines coming into this season, backup Gerald Everett quietly put up a respectable campaign with the Rams too. He accumulated 37 receptions, 60 targets, 408 yards, 11 yards per catch, and two touchdowns in 13 games last season. The 2017 pick had career-highs in receptions, targets, and yards. He also finished 28th among fantasy tight ends.

Heading into the offseason and fantasy drafts for 2020, Higbee is considered the Rams tight end to draft, but Everett could remain in the mix for a good number of targets. This is considering he has a rapport with Jared Goff, and the WRs room is a bit scattered. This is because Cooper Kupp tends to be nursing setbacks more frequently than anticipated and that only leaves Robert Woods and rookie Van Jefferson after him considering Brandin Cooks is gone.

 

Darren Fells, Houston Texans

With DeAndre Hopkins now gone, the Houston Texans can potentially split their targets more evenly. They do have some talented receivers, but tight end Darren Fells returns as the TE1 and is coming off a decent 2019 season. The 34-year-old was a great target for Deshaun Watson last year as he notched 34 receptions, 48 targets, 341 yards, 10 yards per catch, and seven touchdowns. He quietly finished 13th among fantasy tight ends in 2019, but not many managers may even consider Fells to be their backup TE this season, hence fueling his status as a deep sleeper.

 

Jace Sternberger, Green Bay Packers

Yes, Jace Sternberger has played six total games in the NFL with the Packers for a grand total of one target to his name, but hear me out. Aaron Rodgers needs to throw the ball to someone other than Davante Adams each play, or else that will get old. The other Green Bay receivers like Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard have not exploded in terms of their role on the team.

Jimmy Graham is also no longer in Green Bay, so Sternberger is listed as the top TE on this depth chart. His “competition” is Robert Tonyan, rookie Josiah Deguara, and veteran Marcedes Lewis, all of which are not considered real threats to take away Sternberger’s role.

Simply put, the Packers still don’t have enough quality receiving options, so even a “rookie” like Sternberger could be given a chance and emerge as a sleeper if he turns his opportunities into big plays. After all, in his one year at Texas A&M in 2018, the 24-year-old notched 48 receptions, 832 yards, 17.3 yards per catch, and 10 touchdowns in 13 games. That must count for something, right? He also received Consensus All-American and First-Team All-SEC in 2018. All I’m saying is he brings potential.

 

Dawson Knox, Buffalo Bills

The Bills are expected to better this season, and hopefully so will TE Dawson Knox. The 23-year-old was just drafted last year and had a modest rookie campaign with 28 receptions, 50 targets, 388 yards, 13.9 yards per catch, and two touchdowns in 15 games. He finished 29th among fantasy tight ends.

QB Josh Allen is slowly becoming better and with new WR Stefon Diggs, the Bills could be airing out the ball more. This means Knox could get in on the action, as he did have good involvement last season. As the unquestioned TE1 on this team, the young TE could bring sleeper value on this rising team.

 

Tyler Eifert, Jacksonville Jaguars

When he’s healthy, Tyler Eifert can be a force on the field. The 2013 first-round pick is now in Jacksonville after spending seven years in Cincinnati. Eifert is coming to a team that isn’t expected to do anything, especially after their recent roster purge, but QB Gardner Minshew II is out to prove he is the Jags’ QB of the future. This means that the offense will try very hard to win games, meaning Eifert has a chance to redeem himself as a quality fantasy TE because he is the TE1 on this team with no real competition.

The 30- year-old still did muster 43 receptions, 63 targets, 436 yards, 10.1 yards per catch, and three touchdowns in 16 games last season, the first time in his career he has ever played a full season. He finished 21st among fantasy tight ends. Could Eifert finally be trending upwards again? We will find out soon.



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Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 15th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 15th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Daily MLB Injury Roundup for October 14th, 2020

RotoBaller has assembled a list of daily MLB injury updates to help you prepare both your seasonal and daily fantasy baseball (DFS) lineups, every day of the MLB season. Below is our updated list of injured MLB players for October 14th, 2020. Only players on teams that are scheduled to play today will appear below... Read More


Bubba and Bat Flip 53: 2 Early Mocks APD Trends & More - Benched with Bubba (Episode 315)

Bubba (@bdentrek) is joined by Bat Flip Crazy (@BatFlipCrazy) to take a deeper look at the 2 Early Mocks ADP. They dig into trends, some interesting risers/fallers, and much more. They also go over some listener questions at the end to keep the Fantasy Baseball information coming even in the offseason. Be sure to subscribe... Read More