Top TE Sleepers for 2019 Fantasy Draft

Top TE Sleepers for 2019 Fantasy Draft

The tight end position is generally one of the deeper positions in fantasy football. If you can’t get Travis Kelce in the late 2nd round, or George Kittle in the late 3rd, then you are better off holding off and being one of the last guys in your league to pick a tight end.

If you do wait on a tight end, then you are likely going to be looking for value in the 9th-12th round or even later. This sleeper article focuses on players available in rounds 14 and later, meaning you can make one or two of our sleeper tight end picks that last picks of your draft. This allows you to load up on RB’s and WR’s early and often.

top nfl te sleepers 2019

Before we jump into our sleeper tight end picks for 2019, we want to give a quick shoutout/explanation for the guys that just narrowly missed the list:

Chris Herndon – Herndon was PFF’s 7th rated tight end in the league as a rookie last year, and was TE6 over the last 10 weeks of the season! The issue for us is Adam Gase. His tight ends were underutilized disappointments in his tenure in Miami, and if you draft Herndon you likely have to pass on Austin Hooper who is in a much better TE system.

T.J. Hockenson – Hockenson is one of the most talented tight ends in the NFL. Already. The problem is the word is out, and his ADP is skyrocketing. He’s jumped up nearly 4 full rounds in the last two weeks. He will be heavily involved in this offense, but they still want to run it even more this season, and have Golladay, Jones, Amendola, Johnson and Riddick on the roster all of whom are going to catch a lot of passes from Stafford.
Greg Olsen/Tyler Eifert – Neither of these guys are really ‘sleepers’, we all know the deal. Both are top 10 mainstays when healthy, but are coming off injury riddled campaigns. Olsen in particular is way underdrafted right now. He was still TE11 last season in FPPG, and will benefit from Funchess leaving. FYI Eifert was TE10 in FPPG last season.

Top 5 TE Sleepers Guide for 2019 NFL Fantasy Football Season

HR RankTight EndADPSoSAdditional Notes
33Austin Hooper11421This year is important for us all. I don’t want to die saying What if Austin Hooper got 110 targets? I think he does see a bump in targets this year, but look for his production to make a massive bump. Koetter got a ton out of Howard and Brate in Tampa, and used TE heavily in red zone. Read More…
15Mark AndrewsNA26He and Hayden Hurst are monsters, and OC Roman is creative enough to get the most out of both of them. They need to give Andrews more work this year, caught 74% of targets for over 16 YPC. Should see the field a ton, and will get favorable coverage with 8+ in box and Hollywood on outside. Read More…
23Mike GesickiNA20Gase didn’t get a thing out of his tight ends while in Miami, and Chad O’Shea brings New England’s system into Miami which should be an improvement. He’s added weight, has a year under his belt, and will get better QB play than what Brock Osweiler provided last year. Read More…
51Jordan ThomasNA1This is the big one… this is the guy we are extremely high on heading into 2019. No team in the NFL needs help from their TE’s than the Texans. Houston’s offense is at it’s best when Watson is getting production out of his tight ends, and has a check down option when Fuller and Hopkins are covered. Thomas is a converted WR and has plenty of upside. Read More…
38Noah FantNA14Similar to Gesicki, Fant will benefit from a recent OC change. Scangarello comes from San Fran and has been involved in the evolution of George Kittle. Now he gets his own athletic Iowa tight end to create mismatches with opposing secondaries. Fant is no Kittle… he’s no Hockenson, but given the role he may have in this offense, he may be a valuable fantasy asset in 2019. Read More…

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our favorite te sleepers for 2019 fantasy football

#33 TE: Austin Hooper

His 80% catch rate and TE7 finish were sexy, but it was a changed at OC that caught our eye.

Austin Hooper

TE Sleeper | Atlanta Falcons
Hooper’s TE7 finish last season was extremely impressive given he was only targeted 88 times, and only 13 times in the red zone. As we mention in his player outlook video (above), what has us excited for Hooper in 2019 is the rehiring of Dirk Koetter.

Dirk Koetter was the OC here from 2012-2014 a stretch that saw Tony Gonzalez average 88/900/9 for the Falcons. Koetter also featured the tight end heavily during his stint in Atlanta. The Bucs finished with two top 25 TE’s last season, and Howard was on pace for TE5 when he got hurt.

We don’t project Hooper to be targeted a ton more next season (we have him right at 100 targets), but we think his red zone usage will tick up considerably. Koetter used the tight end a ton in the red zone during his time in Tampa, with tight ends averaging 12 touchdowns per season during his tenure.

Given the weapons Atlanta has on the outside, Hooper will have favorable matchups on nearly every snap… That’s a dangerous thing when you have a playcaller like Koetter and QB like Ryan, who happens to be coming off of one of is better seasons and will have an improved offensive line.

Hooper is currently the 12th tight end off the board, meaning he’s available well into the 10th round. Our current draft strategy revolves around finding our TE1 at this stage in the draft. With this in mind our current Hello Rookie draft plan calls Austin Hooper the absolute best pick in the 9th round of drafts.

We think you are getting a guy that will finish TE5 or TE6, and can add depth behind him with either one of the following sleepers at the absolute end of your draft, or another solid guy like Trey Burton in the 13th or 14th.

#38 TE: Noah Fant

The highly talented first round pick finds himself in an ideal situation with little competition and Scangarello at OC.

Noah Fant

TE Sleeper | Denver Broncos
Let us preface this by saying rookie tight ends seldom work out in fantasy, and Hockenson is the rookie tight end with the highest upside from this class. We have three tight ends in this article that were rookies last season, but couldn’t carve out large enough roles to be fantasy relevant.

That being said, Fant finds himself in a unique position, because the entire Denver roster is learning Rich Scangarello’s offensive system right now. He isn’t coming in way behind Heuermann and Butt, because they are also currently trying to get used to Flacco and a new offense.

Speaking of that new system, it happens to be one that another former tight end, George Kittle, flourished in last year. We think the Broncos targeted Fant because they see him as a guy they can use similar to the way San Francisco used Kittle. Both are athletic tight ends with the speed to be a matchup nightmare for opposing safeties and make big plays down the seams.

Fant’s current ADP, while rising, is still just hardly registering for 12 man leagues. He is currently the 17th tight end off the board, which makes him the last pick of the 14th round. Essentially he can be the guy you pick up before drafting your defense and kicker.

best nfl tight end sleepers 2019 summary

#15 TE: Mark Andrews

Was second to only OJ Howard in YD/Target and YD/Rec in 2018 and finished TE16 despite only three starts.

Mark Andrews

TE Sleeper | Baltimore Ravens
Mark Andrews made a ton of big plays for the Ravens last season, despite their unwillingness to play him. Andrews had a 68% catch rate, averaging over 16 YPC, but received just a 34.8% snap count. With Maxx Williams now in Arizona, which frees up his 31.5% snap count.

Andrews was by far the Ravens most productive tight end and overall pass catcher, but some of the problems that haunted him last season appear to remain. Boyle is the team’s best pass blocking TE, Hurst was a first round draft choice in 2018, and Lamar Jackson is arguably the worst thrower among starting QB in the NFL.

All that being said, Andrews flashed the same big play ability we saw at Oklahoma with two 68+ yard touchdown catches, both coming from Jackson. On the year he was PFF’s 12th rated pass catching tight end. He is also a guy that can line up in the slot or outside in 3 receiver sets, create mismatches, and give the Ravens a third option in the passing game behind Snead and Brown.

He needs more snaps to make this work, but he is certainly someone we need to keep an eye on. His new OC, Greg Roman, may not spark the interest of most fantasy owners, but he will be much more creative than Mornhinweg was with how he uses this talented group of tight ends.

#23 TE: Mike Gesicki

Could a change in coaching be just what the talented second year player needed?

Mike Gesicki

TE Sleeper | Miami Dolphins
Clearly Gesicki is not a draftable fantasy player after the disappointment that was his rookie season. However, we are talking about an offense that does not have clear weapons in the passing game, and certainly doesn’t have clear red zone targets.

While Gesicki didn’t give us any reason to believe he can become a viable fantasy tight end, he will have a much better chance this year. Adam Gase, who struggled to utilize the tight end position throughout his stint with the Dolphins is gone. Replacing him is offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea, who brings with him the New England and Josh McDaniels offensive system that saw Gronk dominate the position for the past decade.

Gesicki certainly has the talent to be a top tight end in the NFL. We will see if that talent can translate to production in 2019. He was PFF’s 89th rated tight end, but finished the season without a drop, a 71% catch rate, solid 9+ YPR, and exactly half of his yards came after catch. He won’t have competition for snaps at tight end, as the Dolphins are committed to him. They spoent a second round pick on him in 2018 and after he absolutely shredded the combine.

There are obviously a ton of question marks that surround this Miami offense, with a new coaching staff, two new quarterbacks, and an offensive line that leaves a lot to be desired. However, they will be playing from behind a ton and he should get better QB play out of Rosen or Fitzpatrick. We aren’t saying draft Gesicki, but he certainly should be on your radar.

#51 TE: Jordan Thomas

We believe the Texans offense is ready for a big time tight end, Thomas may not be one yet, but he’s all they got.

Jordan Thomas

TE Sleeper | Houston Texans
The Texans drafted Jordan Thomas, a converted wide receiver and ex basketball player, in the 6th round last season and the pick paid immediate dividends. On the season Thomas caught 20 of 23 targets for 215 yards and 4 touchdowns, and Deshaun Watson had a QB rating of 145.2 when targeting Thomas. This made Thomas PFF’s number 21 tight end overall on the season last year.

Thomas leaves a lot to be desired as a run blocker, but is an intriguing pass catching prospect. At 6’5″ 270lbs with 4.7 speed, he has great measurables and can be a nightmare for defenses to match up with. Beyond that, he is a handful after the catch. Nearly half of his yards came after the catch, and a large chunk of those came after contact. Bill O’Brien should be able to get creative with how he uses Thomas’s skillset in year two.

With Hopkins, Fuller, and Coutee on the outside, Thomas should have favorable matchups every week and if he can become the Texans number 2 red zone option behind Hopkins he could carve out fantasy value this season. It is also worth noting that OC Tim Kelly will reportedly have a larger role this season. He spent the previous 2 seasons as the Texans tight end coach.

Obviously Jordan Thomas is an extremely deep sleeper, but he’s likely not on any of your league owner’s radars right now so if he has a big week one, make sure you are first in line to grab him off waivers.

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