Irv Smith, Vikings:  Minnesota jettisoned long-time starting TE Kyle Rudolph in the offseason, suddenly making Irv Smith a fascinating prospect.  Smith reportedly showed up to camp in great shape and ready to make the 3rd-year leap.  Rudolph leaves 700-800 yards and 5-7 TD’s on the table, so there’s a lot of upside here in the Vikings powerful offense.  Currently grabbed in the late rounds as a TE13, he could very easily outplay his draft position.   

Jared Cook, Chargers:  Tight ends were a 21.4 percent target share in the Chargers' powerful offense last year, so new Charger Cook is being extremely overlooked.  Hunter Henry had 93 targets in 2020, and he left for brighter (and greener $) pastures, leaving that attractive slot open for Cook.  Despite playing on five previous teams, Cook has always been a quiet producer, with a very impressive 22 TD’s in the last 3 years, all after the age of 30.  He may very well have one more productive season left in him; considering the offense he’s now a part of, his current ADP of TE19 is ridiculously low.  

Jonnu Smith, Patriots:  New England threw millions at the oft-injured Hunter Henry, who has already managed to injure himself in camp.  In the meantime, they also brought pass-catching specialist TE Smith formerly of the Titans for even more millions.  Despite the higher pay, it’s Henry that gets all the fantasy attention as the “sexier” name, despite the fact he can’t seem to even go to the bathroom without injuring himself.  The Patriots will run a short passing game, and rookie Mac Jones will likely take over at some point in the season.  That makes late-flier Smith (TE15), an attractive option in PPR leagues as a short-yardage safety valve for the young QB.    



T.J. Hockenson, Lions:  The hype on Hockenson has been humming at a fever pitch all summer, and he’s being drafted as a top-6 TE.  However, he’s part of a club with no other playmakers on offense and a QB that was so putrid the Rams desperately unloaded him.  With no one else to draw defenders away, defenses will likely swarm Hockenson like white on rice every passing play.  With Detroit desperate to establish the run, he’ll likely also be used as a blocker far more than his fantasy owners would like.  Let someone else overdraft him.  

Dallas Goedert, Eagles:  Goedert was a bell of the ball the entire offseason, because everyone assumed Zach Ertz and his fat contract would be moved for salary cap purposes.  When that didn’t happen, the air went out of the Goedert balloon; he’ll now have to share catches with the popular Ertz.  With inexperienced Jalen Hurts probably looking at his TE’s quite a bit this season, Geodert could still have a decent year.  However, because of the presence of Ertz, he’s currently being overdrafted as a TE9.  

Kyle Pitts, Falcons:  I love the talent Pitts brings to the table and think he COULD be great, but rookies (especially  TE’s) just bring in way too many unknowns.  With Julio Jones leaving for the Titans, that introduces even more defensive pressure on Pitts, who is facing the most hype for a rookie TE in history.  To make his current ADP of TE4 worth the pick, he’d have to shatter most rookie TE records.  Only one rookie TE has finished as a TE1 over the past five seasons (Evan Engram in 2017).  It’s a gamble you should consider letting someone else take while much safer options are available.    


by Aaron Bland