4 Tight Ends to Target Late in Drafts

Jul 09, 2019
4 Tight Ends to Target Late in Drafts

I was once an efficiency truther. I'd look for the players producing the most with not much opportunity and say yes, I need that guy on my team. Look at him: he doesn't even need target volume. End of story.

It turns out there's more to that story. Efficiency doesn't really matter over the long run. Sure, we'll see someone like Eric Ebron put up gaudy fantasy numbers by catching a touchdown on every fifth reception. But in the end, it's volume, baby. It's targets. We want those targets.

It's been shown just how important target volume is for the tight end position in fantasy. While not nearly as predictive on a week by week basis, volume stats—including targets—are the way to go for season-long purposes. This begs the question: which tight end targets are the cheapest in redraft leagues? Which tight ends with late round average draft positions will see solid volume in 2019?

Below are four tight ends whose target volume doesn't seem to be incorporated into their ADPs, since the haters, as they say, will hate. The projected targets are mine.

For the record: the tight end position is dumb and should be abolished in fantasy football.

Delanie Walker, Titans

ADP: 12.10

Projected targets: 89

Walker, who has eclipsed the 100-target mark in four of his five full seasons with Tennessee, is going four or five rounds after fellow tight ends who are in line for far fewer targets in 2019. Obviously, Walker's recovery from his catastrophic 2018 injury has weighed down his redraft price point; taking him in the 12th round means you don't have to invest a whole lot to see if the big man can once again command a solid target share in 2019.

My projected 89 targets are on the conservative side. It incorporates the potential emergence of Corey Davis and other receiving threats for the Titans. That projected target total is also assuming the Titans maintain their run-heavy, slow-paced offensive ways. Walker's stunningly low career touchdown rate (4.5%) doesn't bother me. I'll take his consistent targets as the 14th tight end off the board. Walker is only two years removed from taking a 22.9% target share, leading the Titans in targets with 111.

Jordan Reed, Redskins

ADP: 14.01

Projected targets: 92

Utterly dismissed as a non-option after missing 31 games in six pro seasons, Reed finds himself as a fantasy football afterthought available after many kickers and defenses. The disrespect knows no bounds.

But this is the same tight end who saw a 23% target share in the 12 games he played last season. Try to find another tight end gobbling up more than 20 percent of his team's targets in the double-digit rounds (you won't). Reed saw five or more targets in 10 of the 12 games he played last season. I'm not worried about Reed scoring a meager two touchdowns on 56 catches (for a 3.5%t touchdown rate). In fact, Reed—with a career touchdown rate of 11.6%—could be set for a bounce back on a Washington team that will likely be forced to the air quite a bit in 2019.

Reed is an ideal pick for anyone fading the tight end spot to shore up their receivers and running backs, or those looking for late-round upside in tight end premium leagues. Only seven tight ends saw more opportunity than Reed during the 2016 season, when he missed four games and left a couple of games early after suffering various injuries.

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