5 Way Too Early TE Sleepers
What’s up Truth Serum family?! Hope y’all are staying warm out there!
Let’s get right to it as we continue on with our “Way too early” series. Ben Kayser has already dropped the knowledge on the Quarterback position so let’s take a gander at a few Tight Ends.
- Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks
Dissly is a puzzling case. In his first two seasons he flashed some serious receiving skills putting up huge numbers with 31 catches for 418 yards and 6 touchdowns in his first 10 games over his two injury plagued seasons. It was a completely different story in 2020. He was able to stay healthy for the most part, playing in 15 contests. However, he was used sparingly in the passing game, accumulating only 24 receptions on 29 targets for 251 yards and two scores. He led the Seattle TE room in yardage despite running routes on just 66.9% of offensive snaps which was fewer than that of his counterparts Greg Olsen and Jacob Hollister. With Olsen calling it a career and Hollister set to hit Free Agency in a few weeks, Dissly could have plenty of opportunities to re-emerge as a legitimate receiving threat. We know that Russ trusts him and has good chemistry (only 5 incompletions thrown his way), the question is will he be more involved or not? If he is, he could be an epic steal! As of now he’s well worth a late round dart throw!
- Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
Kmet was seldom utilized in the passing game as a rookie mainly due to veteran Jimmy Graham coming on strong. Finishing with just 23 receptions for 243 yards and two scores will scare off a lot of the casuals and he’ll be ripe for the pickin late in drafts. The second round draft pick got involved down the stretch hauling in six or more passes in all but one of his final five games. He’s primed for a sophomore breakout with or without Jimmy Grampa.
- Irv Smith Jr, Minnesota Vikings
Smith Jr. has been fairly quiet over his first two seasons in the pros but I think that’s about to change. He finished as the TE 22 last season playing in 13 games and averaging just 7.6 points-per-game. A couple things of note is that he has the “boom” ability, he notched double digit fantasy points in 5 games but had so many outings with only a couple or zero points to bring down his average. He ended up with 30 catches for 365 yards and 5 touchdowns but it’s worth noting that the majority of that production came in a handful of games. If veteran Kyle Rudolph leaves town/retires or takes a backseat to Smith, he could finally get a consistent workload and easily be a TE1. This Crimson Tide alum could be a wicked steal for fantasy owners in 2021!
- Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons
Some folks won’t consider Hurst a sleeper after finishing as the Tight End 10 but I certainly do. After all, a sleeper doesn’t mean they’ll be drafted late. It means they’ll be drafted later than they should be, aka being slept on. Hurst had a hills and valleys type year with four outings with fewer than 3 PPR points and eight games with double-digit points. I expect those valleys to disappear in his second season as a Falcon. He was finding his niche late in the season finishing on a strong note with three straight games with a touchdown. He finished with a solid 56-571-6 stat-line on 88 targets ending up tied for 10th among TEs in targets and receptions. He only started 9 games in 2020 despite playing in all 16, so if his workload increases even slightly he is almost sure to be top 10 again. Hurst will provide great value for fantasy owners because he’s in a post hype situation and was getting dropped in a lot of leagues mid season. The nine TEs that finished above him and a handful of bigger name guys that were behind him due to injury or just a bad season will go well ahead of this stud sleeper in drafts. Snag him late and get yourself a solid TE1 at a TE2 price.
- O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Howard seems to be the forgotten man in Tampa after playing just the first four games of the 2020 season due to an Achilles injury. A lot of fantasy owners won’t have Howard on their radar because of last season’s injury and his failure to consistently produce in the past, not to mention the “too many mouths to feed” problem in Tampa. What most of them will forget is how involved the former 1st round pick was in his four games in 2020. He hauled in 11 of 19 targets on his 132 snaps for 146 yards and two touchdowns. The chemistry between him and Brady was evident as he was the lead Tight End over Gronk and Cameron Brate. That could very well change with Gronk getting going but two things are for sure, the talented Howard will be highly motivated in his contract year and Brady loves throwing to his TEs. Howard is sure to be a late round pick and could easily be a top 10 Tight End if he can pick up where he left off.
There’s loads of potential at this position and if you’re like me and draft Tight Ends late you’ll be thrilled with the high end talent that’s being overlooked in most rankings. TEs are a hotspot for steals as Logan Thomas and Robert Tonyan displayed last season as they tied as the TE3 and were rarely drafted. Good luck and happy hunting!
Stay tuned for the WR and RB editions and as always, stay true.
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