Take a Pass on Tommy Tremble in 2021
It may not seem like it to the casual observer, but yes, there were other tight ends in the 2021 draft class other than Kyle Pitts. Former Notre Dame tight end Tommy Tremble became the latest part of the Carolina Panther's new-look offense as the 83rd overall pick in the third round of this year’s NFL Draft.
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Rookie tight ends rarely make a splash or even a ripple when it comes to fantasy production, so expectations should be tempered for Tremble in 2021 despite talent and landing spot.
Let’s explore the potential output for the 20-year old’s rookie campaign.
Tremble’s production in just two years at Notre Dame is fairly sparse, as he only caught 35 balls for 401 yards and four touchdowns. In 2019 he was fourth on the offense in receptions behind Chase Claypool, Cole Kmet and WR Chris Finke, with a mere 16 catches. The next year with Claypool and Kmet in the NFL, Tremble nabbed three more passes, yet slipped down to sixth on the Irish offense in receptions.
Where Tremble excels is in his blocking which is a highly advantageous asset for a TE in today’s NFL, but not so sexy for fantasy production. He boasts the speed and athleticism to succeed as a pass-catcher at the pro level, perhaps as more of an underneath threat with decent yards-after-catch potential.
Panthers TE Room is Meh, but Does it Even Matter?
Last year Carolina pretty much ignored the TE room in their weekly game plan. Going back 15 seasons, last year’s 8.0% target share to the TE position was tied for the 10th lowest out of the 480 offenses represented in that span.
Volume for the position was so meager that there were 34 TEs who saw more targets than all four of the Panthers TEs combined (42) in 2020. Both Darren Waller and Travis Kelce were thrown to over 100 more times than all of Carolina TEs over the course of the season.
Does the addition of Tremble and former Cardinal TE Dan Arnold change things for this offense? It would seem that OC Joe Brady has a plan for Tremble, and he profiles similar to a Kyle Juszczyk-type, a player who could be used as kind of a hybrid TE/H-back. They can line the rookie up anywhere and get more creative with their blocking scheme on run plays.
The question remains as to whether they decide to utilize the position as an actual pass-catching one this season, and with Christian McCaffrey back, the coaching staff may choose to use Tremble as his lead blocker more often than not.
What Does it all Mean for Fantasy?
Rookie tight ends are not a segment of the NFL to target for fantasy football purposes, yes, even Kyle Pitts. This sentiment gets thrown around from year to year, so I decided to actually look at the numbers to get a better idea as to why we should avoid the newbies.
Looking at the history of output for first-year tight ends since 2015, we see grim results.
|Rookie Year||Player||Yards||TDs||.5 PPR/G Positional Rank|
|2019||Irv Smith Jr.||311||2||TE41|
Only one rookie, Evan Engram, has produced starting tight end numbers in his initial season since 2015. There were only two first-year guys who even cracked the Top 20 in half-PPR fantasy points per game, as both O.J. Howard and Hunter Henry came in as TE18 in their respective rookie campaigns.
- Tommy Tremble landed in a great spot in Carolina, as their TE room was crowded but devoid of breakout talent.
- The rookie is versatile and a solid blocker, but won’t be fantasy relevant in his first season in the league, as fresh TEs very rarely score impactful fantasy points.
- Tremble currently doesn’t have a trackable ADP on Underdog since he is not being drafted by fantasy players at this point. Leave him on the waiver wire in redraft leagues, but he could be a last-round target in best ball formats if you’re looking for a contrarian super-cheap stack with Sam Darnold.
- If you’re wondering where to select Tommy Tremble in dynasty leagues, check out George Kritikos’ Dynasty Top 200 Rankings, where he’s listed as TE21.