Fantasy Football Rankings 2019-2020: TE (Half PPR)

By:  Justin Holden

Lit Sports Online brings you fantasy football rankings for the 2019-2020 NFL season.  Today’s article covers tight end rankings in a half PPR scoring format.  Not only do we provide a ranked list of tight ends, but you will also see regular season stat projections for each player.  Then, a brief summary will be written on a few players that we see as significantly more valuable or less valuable versus their average draft position (ADP).  Without further ado, here are the rankings:

Rank Player Name Team Name Projected Stat Line
1 Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs 97 catches, 1250 yds, 9 TDs
2 O.J. Howard Tampa Bay Buccaneers 71 catches, 1070 yds, 9 TDs
3 George Kittle San Francisco 49ers 82 catches, 1100 yds, 5 TDs
4 Zach Ertz Philadelphia Eagles 85 catches, 1140 yds, 3 TDs
5 Vance McDonald Pittsburgh Steelers 72 catches, 960 yds, 4 TDs
6 Jared Cook New Orleans Saints 63 catches, 830 yds, 6 TDs
7 Hunter Henry Los Angeles Chargers 65 catches, 800 yds, 6 TDs
8 Evan Engram New York Giants 69 catches, 850 yds, 4 TDs
9 Chris Herndon New York Jets 62 catches, 810 yds, 5 TDs
10 Jordan Reed Washington Redskins 60 catches, 780 yds, 5 TDs
11 David Njoku Cleveland Browns 56 catches, 720 yds, 5 TDs
12 Jack Doyle Indianapolis Colts 54 catches, 660 yds, 5 TDs
13 Trey Burton Chicago Bears 53 catches, 630 yds, 4 TDs
14 Austin Hooper Atlanta Falcons 56 catches, 610 yds, 4 TDs
15 Kyle Rudolph Minnesota Vikings 54 catches, 590 yds, 4 TDs
16 Eric Ebron Indianapolis Colts 48 catches, 550 yds, 5 TDs
17 Delanie Walker Tennessee Titans 51 catches, 580 yds, 4 TDs
18 Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers 57 catches, 550 yds, 3 TDs
19 Jimmy Graham Green Bay Packers 50 catches, 510 yds, 4 TDs
20 Dallas Goedert Philadelphia Eagles 39 catches, 400 yds, 6 TDs
21 Mark Andrews Baltimore Ravens 44 catches, 490 yds, 4 TDs
22 Mike Gesicki Miami Dolphins 42 catches, 470 yds, 4 TDs
23 Noah Fant Denver Broncos 45 catches, 500 yds, 3 TDs
24 Tyler Eifert Cincinnati Bengals 40 catches, 400 yds, 4 TDs
25 Jason Witten Dallas Cowboys 49 catches, 440 yds, 2 TDs
26 T.J. Hockenson Detroit Lions 41 catches, 420 yds, 3 TDs
27 Gerald Everett Los Angeles Rams 37 catches, 390 yds, 3 TDs
28 Matt LaCosse New England Patriots 34 catches, 350 yds, 3 TDs
29 Ricky Seals-Jones Arizona Cardinals 30 catches, 320 yds, 2 TDs
30 Jesse James Detroit Lions 33 catches, 300 yds, 2 TDs
31 Jonnu Smith Tennessee Titans 26 catches, 290 yds, 2 TDs
32 Jordan Thomas Houston Texans 30 catches, 270 yds, 2 TDs
33 Luke Willson Oakland Raiders 29 catches, 270 yds, 2 TDs
34 Dawson Knox Buffalo Bills 30 catches, 250 yds, 2 TDs
35 Geoff Swaim Jacksonville Jaguars 29 catches, 260 yds, 1TD
36 Nick Vannett Seattle Seahawks 21 catches, 220 yds, 2 TDs
37 Hayden Hurst Baltimore Ravens 30 catches, 230 yds, 1 TD
38 Charles Clay Arizona Cardinals 20 catches, 200 yds, 1 TD
39 Jake Butt Denver Broncos 18 catches, 190 yds, 1 TD
40 Will Dissly Seattle Seahawks 19 catches, 180 yds, 1 TD

Dissenting Opinions:

O.J. Howard – ADP 4, our ranking is 2.

I have O.J. Howard penciled in as a safe, elite option at the tight end position.  Not only was O.J. Howard one of the most efficient tight ends last year and one of the leaders in air yards at the position, but he’s a young, complete tight end that is just starting to enter his prime.  We must also consider that Tampa Bay will have a poor defense and poor run game once again, which could lead to the Tampa Bay offense leading the league in pass attempts.  O.J. Howard will have to compete for targets with the likes of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but at the end of the day, you can see from my projections that I’m predicting Howard to be a touchdown machine and make the most of every opportunity that comes his way.

Vance McDonald – ADP 10, our ranking is 5.

There is a significant difference between the value I see in Vance McDonald versus the value that the general mock drafting public sees in him.  While Vance McDonald has been pegged as a popular sleeper pick this season, I go further than that by straight up predicting him to finish as a top five tight end.  I don’t see McDonald scoring many touchdowns because of how run heavy this Pittsburgh Steelers offense will likely be in the red zone.  However, I do expect McDonald to smash with a healthy serving of catches and yards between the 20’s.  We must consider that Jesse James and Antonio Brown have both left town.  That’s a lot of vacated targets.  And I certainly don’t see them all going to Donte Moncrief or James Washington.

Chris Herndon – ADP 16, our ranking is 9.

It’s time to fade the public once again because they are straight up snoozin’ on Chris Herndon.  Herndon was a usable fantasy asset last year as a rookie, despite the fact he had limited targets to work with.  With Sam Darnold and the New York Jets offense on the rise, and Herndon now established as the unquestioned #1 tight end on the Jets’ depth chart, there’s no reason he shouldn’t exceed expectations this season.  Herndon is likely to be Sam Darnold’s favorite target in the passing game.  At this point, I believe that Herndon is significantly undervalued in both dynasty and seasonal leagues.

Jordan Reed – ADP 20, our ranking is 10.

Whether it be Duane Haskins or Case Keenum starting for the Washington Redskins this season, someone will have to be catching their passes.  News flash:  Jordan Reed is not dead yet.  There seems to be a narrative floating around that Jordan Reed is washed.  But the fact of the matter is, Reed is only 29 years old.  Tight ends can be productive far beyond age 29, especially if they have the athleticism that Reed does.  Reed has shown what he can do when healthy and in the starting lineup.  Is there risk in drafting Jordan Reed?  Absolutely.  His injury history remains a valid concern.  But if you’re in the final rounds of your draft and haven’t taken a tight end yet, it makes sense to take a flier on Reed.  He should produce admirably as long as he stays healthy, and that makes him a high upside selection when compared to other tight ends that are available in the final rounds of your fantasy draft.

Jack Doyle – ADP 22, our ranking is 12 / Eric Ebron – ADP 7, our ranking is 16

People must be thinking that Jack Doyle died after last season.  Granted, he only played 6 games due to injury, and finished last season with a poor stat line.  In Doyle’s absence, Eric Ebron smashed expectations en route to a 13 touchdown season.  In my view, both tight ends will be utilized this season in the Colts’ offense.  And given that Andrew Luck could have a career year, this makes Jack Doyle an incredible value where he is currently being selected in fantasy drafts.  Meanwhile, Ebron’s touchdown total from last year looks unrepeatable.  I expect Ebron to receive less targets this year and for his efficiency to drop.  Obviously, Ebron is still worth rostering in most leagues, but he should be going much later in drafts than he is.

Zach Ertz – ADP 2, our ranking is 4.

While I still expect Zach Ertz to have a top five finish this season, that is more of a testament to how low the bar is for tight end production compared to other positions.  I’m projecting Ertz to only score three touchdowns this season, as teammate Dallas Goedert is emerging as a clear red zone threat that is a lock to vulture touchdowns.  The Eagles will likely use their running backs in the red zone a lot as well.  Ertz remains a beast between the 20’s, but a projected reduction in catches and touchdowns compared to last season has him lower in our rankings for this season.

T.J. Hockenson – ADP 13, our ranking is 26.

Shiny new toy syndrome is on full display here with T.J. Hockenson’s ridiculous ADP.  I get that Hockenson is a complete tight end prospect and that the Lions’ offense will likely perform better this season.  But come on.  The dude is still a rookie.  Rookie tight ends almost never produce enough to be relied on as a fantasy starter, especially at the beginning of the season.  Drafting Hockenson as your starting tight end in a seasonal league is a mistake.  Let’s not forget that Jesse James is now in Detroit and will get his targets as well.  If you’re going to gamble on a rookie tight end this season, you’re better off taking a flier on Noah Fant, because he is a move tight end and Joe Flacco is notorious for targeting his tight ends.

Benjamin Watson – ADP 29, we have him unranked.

Benjamin Watson is on the New England Patriots now and will try to fill the shoes of retired Rob Gronkowski.  However, Watson will serve a four game suspension due to performance enhancing drug use.  With Austin Seferian-Jenkins cut from the team, Matt LaCosse is now the projected starter.  As of right now, LaCosse could be selected in the final round of your fantasy draft.  If you believe that Tom Brady won’t be able to avoid targeting his tight end heavily, then the recommendation is to draft LaCosse and pickup Watson off of waivers in the event that he eventually leapfrogs LaCosse on the depth chart.  The more likely scenario, however, is that Tom Brady heavily targets his slot receivers in all areas of the field.  Rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry will likely emerge as a preferred target for Brady when passing into the end zone.

 

 

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Clemson QB Deshaun Watson Will Be Biggest Bust of 2017 NFL Draft

By: Justin Holden justin

 

 

 

As the 2017 NFL Draft approaches, I want to be on record with my “biggest bust” for this year. With no doubt in my mind, the most obvious bust candidate of the 2017 NFL Draft class idrafts Deshaun Watson, quarterback from Clemson. I’m going to explain why soon enough. But first, let’s set the stage with a backstory.

Deshaun Watson finished the 2016 NCAA football season with a 67% completion percentage, 4,593 passing yards, 41 passing touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. He also rushed for 629 yards and 9 touchdowns. Watson passed the eye test for many analysts that reviewed his film, most of whom touted his ability to produce well against top defenses like Alabama. In fact, Watson posted a college QBR that ranks 90th percentile when compared historically to all other college quarterbacks. I have seen mock drafts having Deshaun Watson go anywhere from #12 overall to #30 overall in the first round of the draft. Watson seems to be the consensus second best quarterback of this year’s draft class, behind North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky.

Walterfootball.com is the website that has Deshaun Watson going #30 overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers in their mock draft. The reasoning behind this is that the Steelers would be able to groom a young quarterback behind an aging Ben Roethlisberger, reminiscent of what the Green Bay Packers did with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. However, Walterfootball.com<http://Walterfootball.com&gt; also notes that no team they have spoken with placed a first round grade on DeShaun Watson, making it conceivable that he actually ends up being a second or third round selection on draft day given the apparent disconnect between analysts, the media, and NFL franchises.

Now, since the draft has not even happened yet as of the writing of this article, I do not ultimately know where Deshaun Watson gets drafted. I have no crystal ball at my disposal. But, I will confidently tell you that Deshaun Watson is automatically the biggest bust of the 2017 draft if selected anywhere from early first round to mid second round. If he gets drafted later than that, he is still a bust, but perhaps not the biggest. Because as we all know, the earlier a bad player is drafted, the bigger a mistake it is.

watsonSo having said all this, I am now ready to tell you why Deshaun Watson is the player I am projecting to be biggest bust of the 2017 NFL Draft. Despite his solid college production and mobile ability, Watson simply lacks the requisite arm strength to play at the NFL level. The speed of the game at the NFL level is significantly quicker than the college level. This fact holds true even when we limit the comparison to top college conferences only, such as the SEC. So when you throw the ball downfield, NFL linebackers and defensive backs react much quicker to make plays on the ball.

While you do not need to be a strong armed quarterback to have success in the NFL (Dak Prescott, Drew Brees, Tyrod Tayor, etc.), you still need to put enough velocity on your throws to complete passes downfield before the defense can react. All the weak armed quarterbacks I just mentioned in parentheses throw the ball at a velocity of 50mph or higher. Deshaun Watson throws the ball at a velocity of 45mph, as obtained from his pro day workout metrics. This is a putrid 1st percentile when compared to all other NFL quarterback prospects on record.

Some of you may call me silly for pointing to one single metric as an indication that Watson iswatson2 a bust, but I assure you the throw velocity metric in this case represents a major red flag. It is one thing to be a quarterback with a relatively weak arm. It is another to have one of the weakest arms ever on record. By having a throw velocity that is 1st percentile, that means at least 99% of NFL quarterbacks throw the ball faster than Watson does. Now, as someone that doesn’t hold the “eye test” in the highest regard to evaluate prospects, I can tell you that when watching film on Watson, it is clear he appears to throw the ball slow even on bullet passes. Seeing Watson throw the ball on film clearly matches up with the throw velocity metric he posted on his pro day. While throwing the ball 45mph is good enough to make plays against NCAA defenders, it simply is not good enough to make plays against NFL defenders unless it is a quick pass route, such as a slant or flat.

All this to say, what often separates high-end starting caliber quarterbacks from replacement level quarterbacks at the NFL level is the ability to throw the ball deep downfield with accuracy. Deshaun Watson lacks the arm strength to throw deep passes. Heck, I’d even go as far to say he lacks the arm strength to throw intermediate passes! Some of you will mock me for this article and my analysis, but I will have the last laugh. Because Deshaun Watson won’t be able to consistently complete comeback routes, streak routes, post routes, corner routes, or any other intermediate to long routes at the NFL level. He will be picked off constantly if he tries to go deep. Mark my words. So, in conclusion, Watson is- in my mind- a mobile gadget player, not worthy of being drafted. Yet, he is likely to be drafted early and viewed as a franchise quarterback. Go ahead, try to explain his upcoming poor rookie season by blaming the team that drafted him, or the coaches, or the excuse that all rookies struggle. I’ll just be sitting here, ready to throw this article back in your face when Watson is out of the league before reaching age 30. Never being able to clear himself of the big word “BUST” permanently labeled next to his name.