Fantasy Football Don't Draft List: 4 tight ends to fade in 2021

·3 min read

Risk management is fundamental to any fantasy football strategy. Let’s be honest: No one wants to endure heartbreak when a pick with high expectations doesn’t work out. To help fantasy gamers avoid disappointment this draft season, we’re unveiling our analysts' players to avoid, position-by-position. Today, tight ends.

Hard to project Noah Fant for 2021

Liz Loza: Noah Fant is one of the hardest players to rank. The athleticism is obvious (95th percentile SPARQ), but so are the inconsistencies (four drops in back-to-back seasons). The Iowa product did play hurt last year, sustaining an ankle sprain in Week 4. And It’s worth noting that two of his three TDs came ahead of the Week 4 ankle sprain.

But if the Broncos defense is as good as it's supposed to be, and Fangio stays as conservative (sup Teddy) as he’s always been, Fant is just one of many options in a less-than-voluminous offense. I’m not willing to use a sixth or seventh-round pick on a red-zone weapon who only drew 12 red-zone targets last year. The handful of ceiling games aren’t worth it. 

Slow the hype on Robert Tonyan

Dalton Del Don: Robert Tonyan killed it for fantasy managers last season as a waiver-wire pickup who scored 11 touchdowns (tied with Travis Kelce) at the game’s thinnest position. He did so while seeing just 59 targets though, so realize Tonyan’s floor is low once Green Bay’s TD regression hits. Put differently, Tonyan pulling down a touchdown on 18.6% of his catches is historically unsustainable, nor is it a sign that increased targets are to come. The Packers also go from having an extremely easy pass defense schedule in 2020 to one that projects to be among the toughest this season. I’ll let others draft Big Bob this year.

Andy Behrens: We're paying a draft premium for the top-6 tight ends, and it's completely understandable. This position is a minefield in the mid-to-late rounds, loaded with question marks and failed former sleepers. The obvious answer to this particular question is, of course, Tonyan. He just scored 11 touchdowns on 59 targets, which was both spectacular and unrepeatable. Unless you expect a huge spike in workload and/or a 50-TD season from Aaron Rodgers, you have to look elsewhere at tight end.

Mike Gesicki's breakout might have to take a back seat

Matt Harmon: I usually fall for the overly athletic tight ends who have yet to hit their peak on their first contract. But I'm out on Mike Gesicki this year. Gesicki lined up in the slot on 67.4 percent of his snaps last year. He is unlikely to hold that role with top-10 draft pick Jaylen Waddle set to take over there. That'll leave Gesicki to take over the less fantasy-friendly inline role. Even beyond that, we can expect that target tree to be a bit wider for the 2021 Dolphins with Waddle and Will Fuller added to the mix. Gesicki might well be their fourth option in the passing game, a unit captained by a still-questionable quarterback. There is no reason he should be a consensus-ranked TE1.

Too many things working against Dallas Goedert

Scott Pianowski: The market is starting to slowly pull back from Dallas Goedert, but it hasn't adjusted enough. Zach Ertz is still soaking up targets here. The Eagles added talent at receiver, significant competition for the ball. We still can't be sure Jalen Hurts will be reliable as a downfield passer.

It's been frustrating waiting so long for that glorious Goedert breakout season, but what good is a sports car if all the traffic signals are red?

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