Friday Focus: Sleeper Tight Ends

Graphic by Pat Pryor

Written by: John Stocco

Twitter: @realJohnStocco

It’s the dead season of the NBA and NHL offseason, Training Camp is just underway, so what is there to look to? You got it. Fantasy Football. Other than college football season previews, my main focus when it comes to football-related content has been fantasy football. Mock Draft City is what I like to call it. We’re digging deep and trying to find the next steal of the fantasy draft. Here is a look at three receivers that can light up your roster every week.

1. Mark Andrews: Baltimore Ravens

The former Oklahoma Sooner is preparing for a breakout season in Baltimore. His rookie season he averaged 16.2 yards per reception last season and scored 3 touchdowns. Now he looks to take that next jump. The Ravens offense was stagnant last season under Joe Flacco, and when Lamar Jackson took the starting job, not only did the offense look to have some life, but Mark Andrews was someone who showed drastic improvements with Lamar Jackson starting under center. The Ravens have done a good job of re-tooling their offense. They drafted Marquise Brown, Miles Boykin, and signed Mark Ingram in free agency. Even with the new additions, Mark Andrews is still looked at as the number one target in Baltimore and will be the safety blanket for Lamar Jackson.

2. Noah Fant: Denver Broncos

If you know anything about Joe Flacco, you know he loves throwing to his tight ends, and it won’t be any different in Denver. After experts thinking the Broncos were going to take their quarterback in the first round, the Broncos worked up and down the draft board and selected a tight end with their first pick in the draft. Noah Fant was one of the best prospects in the draft coming into the NFL and the Denver Broncos couldn’t have been a better landing spot for him. In his three year career at Iowa, Fant caught for 1,083 yards on 78 receptions, 13.9 yards per reception, and 19 touchdowns. Fant is going to get his target this rookie season. One, because Denver isn’t going to use Fant as a blocker, and Joe Flacco targets his tight ends 23% of the time. 23% is only behind Wentz at 32%, Alex Smith at 31%, Andrew Luck at 26%, and Marcus Mariota at 26%. With the receiver talent around him in Denver, Fant is going to fly under the radar.

3. Mike Gesicki: Miami Dolphins.

Gesicki has always been a tight end I’ve been high on since his days at Penn State. He’s a terrific athlete, and he has the size, length, and hands to win the jump ball against any defender. I expected a lot out of his rookie season, and he really didn’t amount to anything. This year could be different. Brian Flores is the new Miami Dolphins head coach and he’s coming from New England. Coming with him from New England is former Patriots tight end coach, Chad O’Shea. The Patriots are famous for their tight ends. Rob Gronkowski. Ever heard of him? One of the best tight ends in the history of football. I’m not saying Mike Gesicki is the next Rob Gronkowski because there will never be another, but Gesicki has a similar build, and similar receiving traits. O’Shea can really elevate Gesicki’s game by having him run the same routes Gronkowski ran, and Mike Gesicki can see a spike in production if Chad O’Shea can work with Josh Rosen and call specific plays and put an emphasis on getting the tight end involved. Gesicki has all the tools to be one of the best tight ends in the game today. It’s the reason why the Dolphins took him in the second round. New quarterbacks, new coaching staff, and a new season. Gesicki is ready to show off his skill set in 2019, and you can snag him in rounds 14, 15, and 16 in your league.

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