Fantasy Footballers Podcast Recap: The TRUTH About Tight Ends in 2019
Many times during 2019, I referred to the Tight End position in fantasy football as a wasteland and I stand by those words. If you didn’t own Travis Kelce or George Kittle, chances are you were disappointed in about 50% of your games. On the February 4 episode, The Fantasy Footballers broke down the top-10 guys at this position so you didn’t have to. They did you a huge favor.
The TRUTH series is one of the best offseason tools you can utilize. Instead of just judging a player simply by his end of season stats, the Ballers dig into a players’ consistency to show you how often you can trust a guy to be in your starting lineup.
They use weekly scores to develop a Consistency Score. Consistency means less risk. You want consistent players.
Great Games are more than 15 points
Good Games are between 9-15 points
Bust Games are fewer than 6 points
*Missed games don’t count against consistency score
**Scores based on .5 PPR scoring
1. Travis Kelce (205.8 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #1
16 games — 97/1229/5 on 136 targets — 4-yard rushing TD — 1 fumble lost
Great 25% | Good 68% | Bust 6%
Defenses: +1.3 against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +3.9 points on the Road
Travis Kelce is the best fantasy TE, plain and simple. Even with TD regression, he took the crown for the 3rd time in four years. It is entirely possible that he regains red-zone targets in 2020 and there is no reason to think he won’t be #1 again next season.
2. George Kittle (180 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #2
Great 43% | Good 71% | Bust 14%
Defenses: -3.29 against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +5.59 points at Home
Kittle is the closest thing fantasy owners have to a reborn Rob Gronkowski. Any time, anywhere Kittle touches the ball, he is a threat to score a TD. He recently announced that he has been playing injured since 2018 but that just means he is going to be unstoppable if he ever gets to 100%. With he and Kelce’s draft capital likely close, Kelce (and the Cheifs offense) is the better draft pick but Kittle is a great consolation prize if you want to draft your TE high in 2020.
3. Darren Waller (176 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #8
Great 19% | Good 50% | Bust 25%
Defenses: -.05 against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +3.76 points on the Road
I AM THE WALRUS! First and foremost, a shout out to Rob Wilson, who called the Waller breakout back in August. Waller was arguably the most consistent TE in fantasy during 2019. A one-point change to what was considered a Bust game and Waller would have never busted this season. There were four games where Waller scored below six points but he never once finished below five fantasy points. Unless he starts to score more TDs, he is very much a PPR-TE that needs volume to perform. The question is “Will he get it again in 2020?”
4. Mark Andrews (175.2 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #6
Great 33% | Good 60% | Bust 33%
Defenses: -9.78 against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +1.83 points at Home
On the opposite end of the TD spectrum from Waller, you find Mark Andrews. Andrews fought injuries all year and still came away with double-digit TDs. The most striking statistic is how much better he did vs bottom-16 defenses against the TE. He scored almost 10 more fantasy points per game against the worst defenses. After the regression of Eric Ebron from 2018 to 2019, it will be scary drafting Andrews in 2020. Andrews was also targeted on 23% of Baltimore’s passing attempts, so there is still hope that he is a volume play even if his TDs regress.
5. Zach Ertz (171.6 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #9
Great 20% | Good 53% | Bust 33%
Defenses: +0.63 against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +6.75 points at Home
Ertz is going to be one of the biggest questions heading into 2020. Ertz was not living up to his draft capital in 2019 until all of the Eagles’ WRs were hurt. With the rise of Dallas Goedert and a likely revamped WR corps, it would be tough to draft Ertz as a top-5 guy again in 2020.
6. Austin Hooper (154.2 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #3
Great 31% | Good 69% | Bust 23%
Defenses: -1.42 against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +1.04 points on the Road
Hooper was the man over the season’s first eight weeks. Injuries derailed his 2019 but hopes are high for a solid season in 2020. Hooper had a true catch rate of 97.4%, meaning he reeled in almost every catchable ball thrown his way. Assuming he resigns with the Falcons, he is almost certainly going to be a steal in 2020 fantasy drafts.
7. Jared Cook (146 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #5
Great 21% | Good 64% | Bust 29%
Defenses: +6.26 against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +1.00 points at Home
Cook was consistently Good in 2019. He didn’t have many monster games but he was dependable more than he wasn’t. He was so bad during the season’s first month, it skews his numbers. If the first four games were just growing pains, and Brees is back in New Orleans, Cook should be a solid play in 2020.
8. Tyler Higbee (125.9 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #10
Great 27% | Good 40% | Bust 47%
Defenses: -4.76 against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +2.99 points on the Road
It was a tale of two seasons for Tyler Higbee. Higbee was not the starter until Week 10 when Gerald Everett got hurt. From Weeks 11-17, Higbee was the 3rd most consistent TE in fantasy football. Higbee is likely to be drafted late in 2020 fantasy drafts and is the definition of a lottery ticket. You could win big or you may be looking for a new TE after four weeks.
9. Hunter Henry (122.7 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #7
Great 8% | Good 58% | Bust 17%
Defenses: +0.04 against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +1.79 points at Home
Henry was not mentioned on the show. He is a 2020 free agent so his landing spot will be important. With the change at QB, plus competing with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler for targets, is his ceiling capped as a Los Angeles Charger?
10. Dallas Goedert (115.7 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #13
Great 7% | Good 33% | Bust 40%
Defenses: -1.29 against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +2.87 points on the Road
Goedert was averaging 7 targets per game after Week 6 but how will a revamped WR corps affect his volume? Goedert has the build and skill set to be a red-zone weapon, so he should continue to score TDs but as long as he is behind Ertz, his potential is capped.
18. Evan Engram (87.4 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #12
Great 25% | Good 38% | Bust 13%
Defenses: +1.61 against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +12.07 points on the Road
Another player derailed by injuries in 2019. Where he gets drafted in 2020 will determine whether or not he should be on your fantasy team. He is starting to look like an injury-risk and will likely be drafted as a top-10 TE. Is that a risk you are willing to take?
33. Will Dissly (62.4 Fantasy Points) – Consistency Rank: #4
Great 50% | Good 67% | Bust 33%
Defenses: +9.34 against Top-16
Home/Road Split: +2.34 points on the Road
Speaking of injuries…Big Montana burned bright in 2019 but it was a very short burn. Three great games in six are awesome but with the injuries and emergence of DK Metcalf means he is nothing more than a late-round lottery ticket in 2020.