Rob Gronkowski returns to the NFL to rejoin Tom Brady, this time in Tampa Bay

Buccaneers.com

The tight end position has become an afterthought for most fantasy managers.

The perception of the group is that there is Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and a bunch of question marks. I do agree that there are a few players in questionable situations, but I like to view the tight end position as an opportunity to supplement the rest of my roster. You are going to have to start a tight end on a weekly basis, and some managers opt to stream the position on a week to week basis, but you may decide to take a different approach after reading this.

Kelce and Kittle are both likely to be selected before the end of the third round in your home draft, but the real question is how long do you have to wait to see the next tight end picked. Most teams will be rushing to scoop up running backs and receivers in the first five rounds, not worrying about quarterbacks and tight ends until the later mid rounds. This strategy is fine and has worked for many championship fantasy teams. There is plenty of value at the tail end of drafts at the position including Mike Gesicki, Eric Ebron, and T.J. Hockenson. But this article will look at what players you can draft in the mid rounds to secure a top end talent at the position before other managers steal them out from under you.

Here's our staff rankings for tight ends heading into the 2020 season.


Rob Gronkowski Tampa Bay Bucanneers

Findbet Overall ADP 77

Position ADP 8

Gronk has made his return to the NFL and he will be reuniting with his longtime teammate, Tom Brady, which bodes well for the duo as they may be the greatest quarterback and tight end combo in history. Gronkowski's sabbatical away from football was short, and his time away surely has helped his body recover in a way it wasn't able to during his initial playing career in New England. There is undoubtedly a rust issue that will surround Gronk and affect his ADP, but I am willing to take Gronk as my starting tight end in redraft leagues. Expect him to fall into place with Brady quickly and get a ton of targets, especially in the red zone. There are no shortage of weapons to be found in Tampa, but Gronkowski demands immediate attention in any offense, and as long as he can stay healthy he should challenge Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for targets and cause headaches for defenses on a weekly basis.

Austin Hooper Cleveland Browns

Findbet Overall ADP 87

Position ADP 9

Hooper landed a big free agent contract with Cleveland in the offseason and is coming off a career best, pro bowl 2019 season. Considering new head coach Kevin Stefanski's use of tight ends I find Hooper to be severely undervalued going into drafts. Considering Hooper is a solid blocker he will be utilized heavily in play action sets, and he has improved as a red zone pass catcher during his first four seasons. Baker Mayfield is in a make or break season, and young quarterbacks can always benefit from having a reliable pass catching tight end after their initial reads breakdown. The team was nearly forced to meet trade demands from David Njoku, but they have seemingly resolved their issues and Njoku is on board with Cleveland in 2020. This shouldn't be seen as a negative for Hooper, rather look at it as assurance that Stefanski is dedicated to involving his tight ends and wants a strong group in place. When Hooper signed his $42 million contract ($23 million guaranteed) it made him the highest paid tight end in the league at the time. This should tell you that Hooper will be used early and often in the Browns' new offense and could yield WR 2 production in rounds 7-10.

Blake Jarwin Dallas Cowboys

Findbet Overall ADP 129

Position ADP 15

Jarwin isn't on this list because of his potential ceiling in the Dallas offense. I wouldn't recommend going into your draft with Jarwin as your only plan at the tight end position, but he is a candidate to far exceed expectations. The Cowboys offense was nothing short of explosive last season and they added CeeDee Lamb in the draft. With studs at every position, the Cowboys will likely find Jarwin in open space a lot in 2020, and if he is able to capitalize on those opportunities he could end up being a top 5 fantasy tight end. Jason Witten leaves behind 83 targets which will likely be split up between Jarwin and Lamb. Jarwin was very efficient with his targets last year catching 31 of 41 passes for 365 yards and 3 touchdowns. Although it's very difficult to project the target share in Dallas, if Jarwin can double his production from last season with double the targets he would easily finish within the top 10 at his position. In most drafts Jarwin isn't going until the last couple rounds, if at all, so keep an eye on him as one of the biggest sleepers in the draft.

Paul George grabbing a rebound in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

Barry Gossage/Getty Images

In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.

After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.

The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.

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Ben Simmons disappointed in the playoffs this season

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.

Offense being the key word here.

Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.

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The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


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